Monthly Archives: April 2016
Rethinking Food system to address Hunger, Health and Social equality
As a prelude and preparation to my scientist visitorship to INRA (Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) Centre d’Economie et de Sociologie appliquées à l’Agriculture et aux Espaces Ruraux. laboratory. Dijon Cedex France for my research on “A comparative study of organic farming in Assam,India with the French model of Organic farming emphasizing enhanced capacities of informal, indigenous local knowledge through formal strategies of ICT and sustainable business management” I would like to share a few anecdotes from the Far Eastern world where indigenous communities managed to preserve some of the unique traditions of sustainable agriculture. This may, however, be short-lived, as they struggle to grapple with the onslaught of conventional agriculture. In Assam, we need to note that conventional industrial agriculture only penetrated through the colonial capitalism of the tea industry. Food crops were fortunately not tampered with, and communities were allowed to carry on with their traditional practices. However, it is not to say that the scourges of industrial agriculture and production of tea did not impact the local ecosystem, biodiversity, and livelihood patterns due to the indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers for mass production. Thus, in spite of large-scale degradation of soil quality, water, and human health, what can be still salvaged is probably the invaluable indigenous knowledge of sustainable agricultural practices among the indigenous communities in areas of flood control and management, bio fertilizers, pest control, multi-cropping, seed preservation, food storage, livelihood support, and local food security. It is remarkable that most of the tribal communities inhabiting this region have been self-sustaining in terms of their social structure and economy. Starvation deaths are unheard of, and common property resources are regulated through customary laws that ensure equity, inter-generational stability, and to some extent gender equality.