Plant Genetic Resources

Research Article

Farmers' management of rice varietal diversity in the mid-hills of Nepal: implications for on-farm conservation and crop improvement

R. B. Ranaa1, C. J. Garfortha2 and B. R. Sthapita3 c1

a1 Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD), PO Box 324, Pokhara, Nepal

a2 University of Reading, PO Box 237, Reading RG6 6AR, UK

a3 Bioversity International, 3/10 Dharmashila Buddha Marg, Nadipur Patan, Pokhara, Nepal


Season-long monitoring of on-farm rice (Oryza sativa, L.) plots in Nepal explored farmers' decision-making process on the deployment of varieties to agroecosystems, application of production inputs to varieties, agronomic practices and relationship between economic return and area planted per variety. Farmers deploy varieties [landraces (LRs) and modern varieties (MVs)] to agroecosystems based on their understanding of characteristics of varieties and agroecosystems, and the interaction between them. In marginal growing conditions, LRs can compete with MVs. Within an agroecosystem, economic return and area planted to varieties have positive relationship, but this is not so between agroecosystems. LRs are very diverse on agronomic and economic traits; therefore, they cannot be rejected a priori as inferior materials without proper evaluation. LRs have to be evaluated for useful traits and utilized in breeding programmes to generate farmer-preferred materials for marginal environments and for their conservation on-farm.

(Received April 07 2008)

(Accepted July 20 2008)

(Online publication August 06 2008)


c1 Corresponding author. E-mail: