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Home gardens management of key species in Nepal: a way to maximize the use of useful diversity for the well-being of poor farmers

  • R. Gautam (a1), B. Sthapit (a2), A. Subedi (a1), D. Poudel (a1), P. Shrestha (a1) and P. Eyzaguirre (a3)...

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to identify key home garden species in order to address basic research questions aimed at understanding farmers' home gardens management practices. The study was conducted in two contrasting Hill and Tarai sites in Nepal with households (HHs) ranging from 355 to 634. Unlike larger production systems, home gardens harbour many species in small areas often with a few crop varieties and species that are not well represented in larger fields. Given the number of species and their small population sizes, species and genetic diversity are best studied by identifying representative key species characterizing the complex productive niches within farms. Although species diversity within community is large (172–342), 24 key species were identified for the study. There is no fixed size of a home garden. The log of home garden size and species richness was positively correlated (r = 0.42, P < 0.001). Species richness was significantly higher in vegetable followed by fodder, fruits and spices. This paper also explores the diversity in home gardens to identify the composition and characteristics of the key species and how they are managed, used and conserved. Most of the farmers save the seeds of these home garden species for their own use, but many also exchange and buy and sell seed in local weekly market. Farmers' practices for selecting seed vary according to the reproductive biology of the key home garden species. Home gardens provide the HH with fresh and diverse supply of nutritious food, which improves their self-sufficiency, while conserving diversity on-farm. Despite this, they are neglected in research and development by policy makers and researchers.

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*Corresponding author. E-mail: b.sthapit@cgiar.org

References

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Home gardens management of key species in Nepal: a way to maximize the use of useful diversity for the well-being of poor farmers

  • R. Gautam (a1), B. Sthapit (a2), A. Subedi (a1), D. Poudel (a1), P. Shrestha (a1) and P. Eyzaguirre (a3)...

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