There is widespread concern that adoption of more uniform, improved crop varieties narrows crop varietal diversity on-farm due to possible replacement and loss. If the replacement and loss are really occurring, there will have to be mitigating measures. Be that as it may, there are diverse views on the question of replacement and loss. Notwithstanding their policy relevance, farmers’ concerns and perceptions on the questions of replacement and loss have not been given explicit attention in this discussion. Indeed, this has been an interesting and yet neglected area of enquiry in genetic resources policy research. Farmers’ perception is the key determinant of their actions and their actions, in turn, are the key determinants of their contribution in terms of on-farm conservation. In addition to mainstreaming and enriching the essence of the discussion, investigations on farmers’ perceptions can inform decision-makers.

Based on these premises, this paper explores farmers’ views on replacement and loss and their importance to their livelihoods. To that end, perception data were elicited from 395 farm households in northern Ethiopia. The descriptive statistics show that, even though there is variation, the majority of the sampled farmers agree that replacement and loss are happening and this trend is decreasing the chance to find traditional varieties on their fields. The logit regression results further show that the important variables to explain farmers’ perception, 66and what the loss means to their livelihoods, are farmers’ networks, involvement in agricultural extension, chance in utilizing improved seeds, variety attribute preferences, market constraints, livestock ownership and the frequency of food shortages that farmers face. Based on the empirical results, the chapter concludes that future on-farm conservation strategies have to target farmers who better understand the occurrence of replacement and loss and those who better appreciate the role of traditional varieties to their livelihoods. Enhancing local interactions with such farmers can broaden the spill-over effects in terms of awareness.