Biocultural Heritage

Promoting resilient farming systems and local economies

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Indian scientists recognise the need to conserve landraces and support local knowledge systems

Krystyna Swiderska
13 Sep 2013

On 24th July 2013, the first SIFOR stakeholder workshop in the Central Himalayas brought together over 100 participants - leading scientists, local farmers, state governments and NGOs.

The workshop on "Biocultural Heritage and Traditional Agriculture: Challenges and Opportunities" was organised by Lok Chetna Manch at the GB Pant Institute in Almora, Uttarakhand. Scientists from  the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), the Crop Improvement Programme of the Vivekananda Parvatiya Krishi Anusandhan Sansthan (VPKAS) and SIFOR highlighted the need to reverse the decline of the region's rich traditional crops to improve nutrition security and resilience to climate change; and the need to maintain a harmonious balance between science and local knowledge systems, new varieties and local landraces. The workshop also stressed the urgent need to establish seed exchange and multiplication networks to ensure availability of local seeds. Farmers shared their innovations to improve soil fertility, seeds and mixed cropping systems. The State Biodiversity Board presented an award to a successful village Crop Protection Committees established with support from SIFOR. For the first time, the local farmers that participated in the workshop heard scientists value their knowledge.