Crops such as buckwheat, finger millet, corn and kaguno are on the verge of extinction in the hilly districts of Sudurpaschim Province with the new generation increasingly turning away from agriculture.

In whatever areas agriculture has been an occupation, hybrid seeds of other crops have taken over, thus pushing indigenous crops to extinction, said Directorate of the Sudurpaschim Agriculture Development, Dipayal, Doti.

These crops have been widely grown in Dadeldhura, Baitadi, Darchula, Bajhang, Doti, Achham and Bajura districts. The new generations are very unaware of health benefits of local crops. As a result, they are less attracted to them, said historian Bhojraj Bhattarai.

Just a decade ago, over 75 per cent farmers in the hilly districts of the province used to grow indigenous crops. However, now the figure has been reduced to only 10 per cent, said Padam Bohara, a farmer.

Most of the farmers in Baitadi district have switched to foreign crops, thus putting local crops at the risk of compelete disappearance, said the Agriculture Knowledge Centre Office in Baitadi.

The district is best known for producing buckwheat and finger millets.

As a result, it is difficult to find even seeds of the crops, said Indira Tamrakar, a farmer of Amargadi Municipality.

These crops are healthier than other crops, said health workers.

Health conscious people of urban areas in particular have been lately attracted to these nutritious crops.

Chief of the health section Ganesh Bista stressed the need to promote the production of these indigenous crops.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 12 2021, of The Himalayan Times.