Conventional crop breeding faces several limitations that hinder its ability to meet the needs of farmers and the wider food system, including costs of varietal development, and a focus on certain crops and varieties with broad market potential, while potentially under-emphasizing varieties most preferred by farmers or consumers (Westengen et al., 2023). Evolutionary plant breeding (EPB) has emerged as an alternative approach that integrates the knowledge and priorities of farmers and other stakeholders to identify niche-specific broad genetic-base varieties (Joshi et al., 2023). EPB is a decentralized and participatory method, with farmers and researchers collaborating to facilitate the development of crop varieties that are better adapted to local environmental conditions and meet the preferences of end-users (Döring et al., 2011; Joshi et al., 2020).
This paper presents the finding of a 2021 survey of 67 farm households, with a focus on perceived benefits and challenges of cultivating mixtures in rural Nepal. We further explored the possibility of mainstreaming cultivar mixture into national research and extension systems.