How traditional agriculture contributes to the global narrative for sustainability
A case from a community in Northeast India
Keywords:Traditional Knowledge Systems, Meghalaya, Shifting Agriculture, Shifting Cultivation, Agriculture, Indigenous Peoples, Northeast India
😐🤭😢 Among food practices that foster climate resilience, traditional agricultural practices of Indigenous communities have been recognized and noted in recent times. These forms of agriculture include shifting cultivation and its adaptations across communities in the tropics. However, the policy narrative around shifting cultivation is rooted in its misunderstanding, as it was once seen as primitive and backward. New research and a reinterpretation of existing research present challenges to long-held policies that have discouraged and deterred the practice of shifting cultivation. With the onset of this new narrative is a call to action that seeks a rethinking by policymakers and governance actors around the nature and merits of traditional agriculture. Through the case of Meghalaya, a small hilly state in the Northeastern region of India largely inhabited by Indigenous Peoples, this commentary aims to provide the dominant narrative at the local context, evidence of the adaptations in shifting cultivation that contribute to sustainability, and the need to rethink policy relating to shifting cultivation at the local level.
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