Released and Promising Crop Varieties for Mountain Agriculture in Nepal (1959-2016)

Authors: Bal Krishna Joshi, Madan Raj Bhatta, Krishna Hari Ghimire, Mahendra Khanal, Suk Bahadur Gurung, Rajeev Dhakal and Bhuwon Sthapit
Year: 2017
Description: Crop varietal development is a major investment of public sector plant breeding. The success of these varieties and their adoption by farmers depends on having a varietal catalogue with information on the new varieties, including the varieties’ unique trait combinations, adaptive capacity to environmental constraints, and taste and other cultural uses. Adoption also depends on variety catalogues providing sources of seed supply that are readily available to farmers, extension workers, seed dealers and retailers (agrovets) and seed companies.

With funding from the United Nations Environmental Programme, Global Environmental Facility (UNEP-GEF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), Department of Agriculture (DoA) and Seed Quality Control Centre (SQCC) of the Ministry of Agriculture Development, LI-BIRD, and Bioversity International have prepared the catalogue of notified varieties (1959-2016) and promising landraces of eight crops important for high mountain agriculture (amaranth, barley, bean, buckwheat, finger millet, foxtail millet, proso millet, and cold tolerant rice).

The catalogue also includes varieties of three additional major crops of maize, potato and wheat that are important to mountain regions of Nepal. The authors have reviewed published literature, investigated old variety release proposals, searched genebank records and contacted crop specific breeders and researchers to pull together available information in one place. The purpose of the variety catalogue is to provide information on crop varieties to farmers and all stakeholders to maximize the benefits of public research investments, and to serve as an important repository for varietal information of mountain crops of Nepal.

The authors hope that this dataset of crop varieties, their traits and supply sources will encourage community seed banks to document passport data of farmers’ varieties in their communities. It is envisioned that the information will be spread widely digitally or physically with farmers, networks of community seed banks, extension, seed companies and research systems. Our hope is that variety catalogues such as this one will be widely used by all stakeholders and farmers of Nepal who are concerned with agricultural production, food security, sustainable development and agrobiodiversity conservation.