The low yield of pearl millet largely due to the low adoption of improved varieties substantiates the application of client-oriented plant breeding for pearl millet. Hence to enhance adoption, new varieties must correspond to farmers’ preferences and respond to the constraints prevailing in the production environments, participatory rural appraisals were conducted in two agro-ecological zones (Sahel and North-Sudan) to determine farmers’ preferences in the choice of varieties and to identify constraints to pearl millet production. The study revealed that the major production constraints are hierarchically drought, Striga, head miner, bird and downy mildew. Compact panicle, large grain size and non-bristle panicle were the most preferred traits in pearl millet across agro-ecological zones. Very long panicle and early maturity crop cycle were more preferred in the Sahel zone whereas, in the North-Sudan zone medium panicle length and medium maturity cycle were more preferred by farmers. Traits largely rejected by farmers were small grain size, narrow, loose and bristled panicle. Very few investigations were done to understand the raison of the low adoption of improved technologies in pearl millet. This study identified the major criteria of new pearl millet variety adoption by farmers. It is expected that breeding program must integrate these criteria in new pearl millet variety profiling to enhance adoption.