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Indigenous knowledge systems for sustainable agriculture in developing countries : towards an alternative approach to food shortage reduction in Kenya and Indonesia


This proposal seeks to study, analyze, document, and evaluate Indigenous Agricultural Knowledge systems (IAKS) in relation to food shortage reduction in Kenya and Indonesia in a comparative and multidisciplinary way. In the course of the 1980's, the general decline of per capita food production vis-a-vis an increase in population growth has widely become acknowledged as the "Food Security crisis" in developing countries, in particular in Africa and Asia. As both economic problems of costly high capital input, technical innovation and imported fertilizers and pest control chemicals, as well as environmental deterioration of natural and genetic resources have caused adverse trend in agricultural production, social and natural scientists, extension experts and policy makers have recently begun to search for approaches to "alternative agriculture".
Following the current set-back of the initially promising approach of the "Green Revolution", that new has almost exhausted its potential in Asia, while Africa has hardly been involved in this form of hybrid crop cultivation for mainly socio-cultural reasons, the present promotion of "sustainable agriculture" has opened new avenues to help to resolve the present dilemma.
One of the areas in this context, which so far has rather been neglected or by-passed in the development efforts encompasses indigenous systems of knowledge and technology that have survived over generations to adapt and sustain in specific environments of developing countries. These systems have formed the base for local-level decision-making in agriculture, health care, food production and preparation, education and natural resources management.
Recent experience in the proposed research areas in Kenya and Indonesia via a pilot study has indicated, that local farmers have learned, experimented adapted and improved their indigenous agricultural practices suited to their particular needs and the critical ecosystems of resp. the Arid and semi-Arid Lands of Kenya (ASAL) and the Mountainous Regions of Indonesia (Halimun). Embarking from.this experience, and that of similar other cases the research seeks to design and improve a practical model of integration of Iaks into future strategies of sustainable agriculture, and so contribute to improve production and preserve the environment in the Third World.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Rijksuniversiteit Leiden

2333 AA Leiden

Participants (3)

Centre de Recherche Agronomiques de la Crète et des Iles d'Egée

73100 Chania
National Museums of Kenya
Karen - Nairobi
Padjadjaran University
35,Jl. Dipati Ukur
40132 Bandung