Foreword by Bharat Bhandari, Executive Director LI-BIRD
Agricultural biodiversity, a subset of biological diversity, is the foundation of food and nutritional security. Smallholder farmers in developing countries are considered custodians of local agrobiodiversity who conserve, utilize, and maintain crop genetic diversity along with associated traditional knowledge and use cases. Changing climate coupled with other socio-economic shifts have put serious threat to traditional farming system hampering livelihoods of smallholder farmers globally. Climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of climate-induced hazards and disasters compelling smallholder farmers to suffer from productivity and diversity loss thereby impacting on their livelihoods, food and, nutritional security negatively. At this time, it is important to help people understand the crucial role agricultural biodiversity can and should play in adaptation to climate change and sustainable improvement of food and nutrition security.
In Nepal, there are inadequate policies, plans, and programmes for accelerating the conservation and use of rich agricultural biodiversity through innovative research and development interventions. There are also capacity and knowledge gaps among researchers, policy makers extension people, agriculture development workers, food, and nutrition security activists, farmers rights activist, and academicians with regards to agricultural biodiversity and its interlinkages with food security and climate change adaptation. With this backdrop, the need of this training manual has been realized to enhance the awareness and knowledge of stakeholders and agencies on the importance of agrobiodiversity, climate change, national, and international polices on farmers rights.
Local initiatives for biodiversity, research and development (LI-BIRD) in coordination with Nepal agrobiodiversity society (NABS), center for crop development and agriculture biodiversity conservation (CCDABC) and national agriculture genetic resource centre (national gene bank) prepared this training manual with funding support from the Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI) and Sowing Diversity=Harvesting Security (SD=HS) programme.
I hope the potential user of this manual, especially the agriculture development practitioners, extension workers, academia, and researchers, will find this manual a useful reference for their work. I believe that this manual will be used by a variety of users and we expect receiving constructive feedback from them to further improve the manual.