Bean is one of the important pulse crops with good economic value and high export potential in Western Nepal especially in Jumla and Humla. Beans are usually used as dal, soup and for porridge. The cultivation practices of landraces mixture have been passed down since generations and farmer communities have been practicing this. Large diversity in bean exists in Jumla and Humla. The traditional practice of bean cultivation is quite unique and also contributes in providing solutions to combat biotic and abiotic stresses. The knowledge of bean mixture is documented here after focus group discussion in Jumla and Humla.
The common practice is mixing 3-4 different types of beans (mainly black, yellow, white and red) whereas maximum number mixing bean landraces are eight. Selection of components in bean mixture is predominantly based on colour. Black type is most preferred due to its better taste and red type is least preferred due to inferior taste. Mottled type which is locally called Male is also included in some of the mixtures. Seed size is very rarely considered in mixture however, some farmers considered seed shape eg thulo (larger shape), batulo (round), chepto (flat). The proportion of seeds of mixing landraces is not standardized but generally; black being good in taste is included in larger quantity and red in the least quantity. The most important character considered for selection in the mixture is time of maturity and farmers mix landraces that mature at same time. This synchronized maturity in the mixture ease farmers to harvest.
Farmer’s believe that mixture in bean is practiced primarily to combat pest and disease problem. In addition, farmers also perceived good harvest and better taste from mixture. Mixed beans usually fetch premium price and some perceive it to be easy for cultivation. Black type and mixed type possess higher demand in the market. Both sole and mixture cropping is prevalent and sole crop are usually cultivated in the upland (pakho land). Jumli beans have good demand, but no systematic market channel exists. Collectors collect and send the beans directly to Kathmandu. Cultivars mixture should also be extended to other crops as a part of conservation plant breeding.