1. Using indigenous knowledge in agricultural development.
World Bank Discussion Papers 127, Washington, D.C., USA,
The success of a development project often depends on local participation. Familiarity with indigenous knowledge can help change agents understand and communicate with local people, enhancing the possibilities for participatory and sustainable approaches to development. This enables project staff and local people to work as partners in planning and implementing development activities.
This paper reviews three types of project scenarios: projects where local knowledge provided an improved approach to managing natural resources than proposed project technologies, projects that inadvertently ignored indigenous structures, and those projects whose success at meeting their objectives can be linked to the incorporation of indigenous knowledge components.
The World Bank, as well as numerous other development agencies, has been actively seeking ways of ensuring participatory decision-making, strengthening development capacity at the individual and institutional levels, and assuring long-term sustainability of the development process.
Ethnic groups in dozens of ecological zones have generated a vast body of indigenous natural-resource management and agricultural knowlege.
Collectively they represent a dynamic information base that has supported an immense population by adapting to constantly changing circumstances. These indigenous knowledge systems have been largely ignored in many developing countries.
Indigenous knowledge is a knowledge that is unique to a given culture or society. It is the basis for local-level decision-making in agriculture, health care, food preparation, education, natural-resource management, and a host of other activities in rural communities. Such knowledge is passed down from generation to generation, in many societies by word of mouth.
Indigenous technologies used effectively by one society can be used to solve problems faced by another society in a similar agroecosystem located in another part of the world.
Research indicates that the farmers' decisions to reject an innovation are often rational when viewed through the indigenous system.
Indigenous knowledge should result in an improved development, such as the higher incomes resulting from increased crop production due to better soil and water conservation resulting, f.e. from the use of Vetiveria grass.
Several types of indigenous knowledge and decision-making that are useful for development are outlined in this paper:
- Mixed cropping and forest gardens
There are several key areas where development agencies can take a leading role in promoting use of indigenous knowledge for development.
These include support to systematically record and preserve indigenous knowledge for development efforts at national resource centers, provide training opportunities to incorporate indigenous knowledge components into educational institutions, conduct participatory research on indigenous knowledge systems, and establish systems for global networking and electronic exchange of indigenous knowledge. The following suggestions are discussed in more detail in this paper.
- Biodiversity and indigenous knowledge
Particulary global networking as carried out f.e. by ILEIA is an important method to incorporate indigenous knowledge systems and enhance the technology transfer.
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Farming systems research and development
Review, on-farm research, case studies, surveys, USA, sustainable agriculture, low-input systems, strategies, holistic approach, sustainable practices, sample selection procedures
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