Wild relatives of cultivated crops
About 21% (3.2 million hectares) of the total land area of Nepal is cultivated, the principal crops being rice (45%), maize (20%), wheat (18%), millet (5%) and potatoes (3%) (NBS 2002). These are followed by sugarcane, jute, cotton, tea, barley, legumes, other root vegetables, and fruit. Crops such as rice, rice bean, aubergine (egg plant), buckwheat, soybean, foxtail millet, citrus fruit and mango have high genetic diversity in Nepal relative to other food crops. Many crop species in Nepal owe their broad genetic base to the presence of about 120 wild relatives of the commonly cultivated food plants. However, these national natural resources are under threat by changing agricultural practices and the influence of international trade is reducing crop diversity.