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Indigenous Knowledge for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development

D Michael Warren, Kristin Cashman

Report/paper, 9 pages

Indigenous knowledge can play a key role in the design of sustainable agricultural systems, increasing the likelihood that rural populations will accept, develop, and maintain innovations and interventions. It can be defined as the sum of experience and knowledge of a given ethnic group that forms the basis for decision-making in the face of familiar and unfamiliar problems and challenges. Farmers of agrarian, as well as industrialised, societies have sophisticated ways of looking at the world. They have names for many different kinds of plants, ways to diagnose and treat human and animal diseases, and methods to crop fertile and infertile soils. This knowledge has accrued over many centuries, and is a critical and substantial aspect of the culture and technology of any society. Yet it has often been overlooked by Western scientific research and development.

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