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Traditional crop diversity for sustainable development of Central Himalayan agroecosystems

Traditional crop diversity for sustainable development of Central Himalayan agroecosystems SUMMARY A rich diversity of traditional crops occurs generally in the Himalaya and more particularly in Central Himalaya. Over forty species of food grains are grown in traditional agroecosystems of Central Himalaya, which have been managed by the local farming communities since time immemorial. These traditional crop varieties have evolved over centuries and are well adapted to the particular area. A number of edaphic, topographic and climatic factors associated with different selection pressures over centuries of cultivation resulted in immense variations in the crop species. The grain and by-product yield of the majority of the traditional crops cultivated across an altitudinal gradient were worked out and compared with common food crops (paddy, wheat, mustard) at two points in time (1970-74, 1990–94) and it was found that almost all the traditional crops had slightly higher yields during 1970–74 than between 1990–94. However, common food crops grown during the Kharif season had higher yields during 1990–94 whereas, Rabi season crops exhibited higher yield during 1970–74. The yield of rainfed paddy remained static over the years across the altitudinal gradient. Among the traditional crops cultivated during the Kharif and Rabi seasons in mixed and pure forms at different altitudes were Macrotyloma uniforum (at higher altitude), Parilla frutescens and Vigna mungo (at middle altitude) and Panicum miliaceum (at lower altitude) which were found to be eco-energetically efficient. Avena sativa (oat) and mixed cropping of Fagopyrum esculentum and potato had higher energy efficiency ratios whereas the latter also exhibited a higher monetary output/input ratio. Crops like paddy and wheat with mustard, grown in irrigated land were found to be more eco-energetically efficient than the same crops grown in the rainfed land. In general, traditional crops possess higher nutritive value than the common food crops. The contribution of traditional crops to the local diet (kg/capita/year) and their energy and protein equivalents were higher during both time periods. It was observed that while exporting these traditional crops, the locals of the region are highly exploited by middlemen. Despite having huge potential, traditional crop diversity of this region has been reduced to a great extent during the last two decades. Besides, the area under cultivation with these crops has been declining rapidly. However, many of these crops possess immense potential to meet the growing food demand and ensure food security of an increasing population. Therefore, a comprehensive programme of conservation through various means and improvement of agronomic yield in their natural habitats is urgently needed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology Taylor & Francis

Traditional crop diversity for sustainable development of Central Himalayan agroecosystems

Traditional crop diversity for sustainable development of Central Himalayan agroecosystems


Abstract

SUMMARY A rich diversity of traditional crops occurs generally in the Himalaya and more particularly in Central Himalaya. Over forty species of food grains are grown in traditional agroecosystems of Central Himalaya, which have been managed by the local farming communities since time immemorial. These traditional crop varieties have evolved over centuries and are well adapted to the particular area. A number of edaphic, topographic and climatic factors associated with different selection pressures over centuries of cultivation resulted in immense variations in the crop species. The grain and by-product yield of the majority of the traditional crops cultivated across an altitudinal gradient were worked out and compared with common food crops (paddy, wheat, mustard) at two points in time (1970-74, 1990–94) and it was found that almost all the traditional crops had slightly higher yields during 1970–74 than between 1990–94. However, common food crops grown during the Kharif season had higher yields during 1990–94 whereas, Rabi season crops exhibited higher yield during 1970–74. The yield of rainfed paddy remained static over the years across the altitudinal gradient. Among the traditional crops cultivated during the Kharif and Rabi seasons in mixed and pure forms at different altitudes were Macrotyloma uniforum (at higher altitude), Parilla frutescens and Vigna mungo (at middle altitude) and Panicum miliaceum (at lower altitude) which were found to be eco-energetically efficient. Avena sativa (oat) and mixed cropping of Fagopyrum esculentum and potato had higher energy efficiency ratios whereas the latter also exhibited a higher monetary output/input ratio. Crops like paddy and wheat with mustard, grown in irrigated land were found to be more eco-energetically efficient than the same crops grown in the rainfed land. In general, traditional crops possess higher nutritive value than the common food crops. The contribution of traditional crops to the local diet (kg/capita/year) and their energy and protein equivalents were higher during both time periods. It was observed that while exporting these traditional crops, the locals of the region are highly exploited by middlemen. Despite having huge potential, traditional crop diversity of this region has been reduced to a great extent during the last two decades. Besides, the area under cultivation with these crops has been declining rapidly. However, many of these crops possess immense potential to meet the growing food demand and ensure food security of an increasing population. Therefore, a comprehensive programme of conservation through various means and improvement of agronomic yield in their natural habitats is urgently needed.

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References (29)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1745-2627
eISSN
1350-4509
DOI
10.1080/13504509609469926
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

SUMMARY A rich diversity of traditional crops occurs generally in the Himalaya and more particularly in Central Himalaya. Over forty species of food grains are grown in traditional agroecosystems of Central Himalaya, which have been managed by the local farming communities since time immemorial. These traditional crop varieties have evolved over centuries and are well adapted to the particular area. A number of edaphic, topographic and climatic factors associated with different selection pressures over centuries of cultivation resulted in immense variations in the crop species. The grain and by-product yield of the majority of the traditional crops cultivated across an altitudinal gradient were worked out and compared with common food crops (paddy, wheat, mustard) at two points in time (1970-74, 1990–94) and it was found that almost all the traditional crops had slightly higher yields during 1970–74 than between 1990–94. However, common food crops grown during the Kharif season had higher yields during 1990–94 whereas, Rabi season crops exhibited higher yield during 1970–74. The yield of rainfed paddy remained static over the years across the altitudinal gradient. Among the traditional crops cultivated during the Kharif and Rabi seasons in mixed and pure forms at different altitudes were Macrotyloma uniforum (at higher altitude), Parilla frutescens and Vigna mungo (at middle altitude) and Panicum miliaceum (at lower altitude) which were found to be eco-energetically efficient. Avena sativa (oat) and mixed cropping of Fagopyrum esculentum and potato had higher energy efficiency ratios whereas the latter also exhibited a higher monetary output/input ratio. Crops like paddy and wheat with mustard, grown in irrigated land were found to be more eco-energetically efficient than the same crops grown in the rainfed land. In general, traditional crops possess higher nutritive value than the common food crops. The contribution of traditional crops to the local diet (kg/capita/year) and their energy and protein equivalents were higher during both time periods. It was observed that while exporting these traditional crops, the locals of the region are highly exploited by middlemen. Despite having huge potential, traditional crop diversity of this region has been reduced to a great extent during the last two decades. Besides, the area under cultivation with these crops has been declining rapidly. However, many of these crops possess immense potential to meet the growing food demand and ensure food security of an increasing population. Therefore, a comprehensive programme of conservation through various means and improvement of agronomic yield in their natural habitats is urgently needed.

Journal

International Journal of Sustainable Development & World EcologyTaylor & Francis

Published: Sep 1, 1996

Keywords: Central Himalaya; agroecosystem; traditional crop diversity; nutritive value; value addition; food security; conservation measures

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