Bajhang, Jan. 15 -- Until about eight years ago, Ramesh Bista used to harvest up to 10 quintals of barley annually. The harvest not only filled his granary, but he would earn up to Rs 25,000 selling surplus produce.

These days the annual barley harvest at Bista's farm hardly reaches 50 kg. "Barley chapatis were a staple in every kitchen in the area in the past, but these days the eating habits of the locals have changed drastically leaving no demand for the crop," says the farmer from Kailash village in Bajhang district.

Bista has moved to other crops. He grows barley only to feed his cattle.

Deepa Baduwal, another farmer at Tirkhadeni in the district, has also adopted new crops which are not indigenous to the region. "We used to culti...