The workshop “Enhancing the contribution of custodian farmers to the National Plant Genetic Resources System in Nepal” brought together farmers from distant parts of Nepal who were recognized for their outstanding dedication and contribution to the conservation of agricultural biodiversity, known as custodian farmers. Joined by researchers, NGO representatives and government officials, the workshop facilitated knowledge sharing and discussion with regard to three objectives: 1) to define methods and tools to support the work of custodian farmers, 2) to explore policy options to enable agricultural biodiversity conservation and 3) to develop understanding of the characteristics and motivations of custodian farmers. These proceedings share the results of this experience, presenting papers contributed by participating researchers and NGO representatives, farmer profiles, and the results of breakout discussions.
The workshop advanced understanding of custodian farmers roles and needs in conservation of agricultural biodiversity, also considering how family and community members enable or hinder their work. Several viable approaches to leverage and strengthen the contribution of custodian farmers to plant genetic resource conservation in Nepal were identified, including network building, fostering connections and synergy with community seed banks and ex situ conservation, and incentive mechanisms. Workshop recommendations were derived from the group discussions and consist of a vision and action points to strengthen the conservation of agricultural biodiversity in Nepal as proposed by a spectrum of critical stakeholders in this pursuit.
The event took place in Pokhara, Nepal from 30 July to 1 August 2013, organized by Bioversity International, LI-BIRD and NABIC Nepal with the financial support of IFAD and CCAFS.