Commercialization and marketing of traditional crop varieties (referred to as landraces) and their products is one of the major strategies to address conservation and sustainable use of crop genetic resources. The major policies related to commercialization of the genetic resources are designing mechanisms to:

support and promote industries in using the genetic resources;

promote seed development industries (including biotechnology);

create gene markets, and encourage resource and credit flow; and

encourage farmers and small entrepreneurs to diversify products from traditional varieties of crops.

This case study provides relevant information that will contribute towards developing a policy framework for the commercialization of traditional crop varieties and their products in Nepal.

The concept of farm business income as a tool for economic analysis is used to measure the willingness of Nepalese farmers to continue growing traditional landraces in the long term, and thereby competing with improved varieties in terms of yield and income. The results have shown that while utilizing their own genetic resources, which have limited alternative uses, rice producers have 112managed to get some benefit and enhance the productivity of the landraces. Moreover, retaining traditional varieties by the traditional farmers may also be explained by such economic rationales that give better resonance and resilience to the family, immunity to higher market fluctuations and protection against natural disasters.

This case study also presents the prospects of commercialization and potential for promoting the marketability of underutilized landraces as well as their products. The results have shown that local people are the main consumers of the local products, though many foreigners have also been consuming these products. The study suggests possibilities of promoting value added enterprises for some of the selected traditional crop varieties. With the enhancement of the profitability of such enterprises, farmers will be willing to participate in maintaining the diversity of traditional rice varieties that need public intervention.