Accepted paper:

Indigenous knowledge, traditional livelihood practices and market force: some reflections


Saroj Arora (LBS National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie)

Paper short abstract:

Indigenous Knowledge (IK) is a social capital for the poor and constitutes their main asset in their efforts to gain control of their own lives hence, its preservation is important particularly to ensure food security.

Paper long abstract:

Indigenous Knowledge (IK) is a key element of the social capital of the poor and constitutes their main asset in their efforts to gain control of their own lives. Utilizing IK helps to increase the sustainability of development efforts because the IK integration process provides for mutual learning and adaptation, which in turn contributes to the empowerment of local communities particularly in ensuring food security. Indigenous vis-a-vis rural and hill communities are considered as the custodian of indigenous knowledge. They identify themselves very closely with their natural habitat and use their traditional skills in the management of ecological resources as their very existence is based on these resources. Thus, drawing sustenance as well as sustain the ecology becomes an integral part of their culture. For centuries, the tribal, rural and hill communities have been effectively managing their natural resources and maintaining ecological balance using a wide range of traditional practices and self imposed rules evolved over a period. The paper focuses on the role of cultural practices through which communities consume, sustain and conserve natural resources for livelihood and maintain equilibrium. It also suggests the the need to keep into account the local ecology, environment and sustainability and evolve strategies which could be environmentally sustainable and based on local knowledge and practices. Local communities have their own indigenous ways to mange food grain storage and seeds. It also emphasizes that the crops which could be ecologically adaptable should be promoted.

panel PE03
Food and environmental security: the imperatives of indigenous knowledge systems