, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 491-512
Date: 28 Mar 2012

Socio-Ecological and Religious Perspective of Agrobiodiversity Conservation: Issues, Concern and Priority for Sustainable Agriculture, Central Himalaya

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Abstract

A large section of the population (70%) of Uttarakhand largely depends upon agricultural based activities for their livelihood. Rural community of the mountains has developed several indigenous and traditional methods of farming to conserve the crop diversity and rejoice agrodiversity with religious and cultural vehemence. Traditional food items are prepared during occasion, festivals, weddings, and other religious rituals from diversified agrodiversity are a mean to maintain agrodiversity in the agriculture system. Agrodiversity is an insurance against disease and extreme climatic fluctuations, as a coping mechanism in times of scarcity, as a means to enhance overall productivity of farms, as a source of critical nutrition and medicine in the Himalayan region. The different traditional system of agriculture and indigenous method of maintaining soil fertility, socio-cultural and religious rituals has saved many crops that are under threatened category. But all these system and practices are ignored nauseatingly in hill agriculture policy, where more emphasis was given for plain areas. Less emphasis is being put on local systems that rely on existing natural, human, and social assets such as biodiversity, traditional knowledge, and social capital underpinning collective action to ensure food security. Of late, development planners have realized the importance of appropriate technologies and therefore have stressed the need for on-site training, and capacity building of user groups in rural areas of the region. Rural technology demonstration and training center have been supposed as a means disseminating technologies enabling improvement in the yield potential of farms, income generation from off-farm activities, and conservation and efficient use of natural resources. There is a strong need to bring desirable changes in the agricultural policy, research, and development in reference to mountainous regions. The present paper describe present scenario of agriculture, traditional, and socio-cultural practices of retaining soil fertility and agrodiversity, policy dimensions, and strategies for management of the Himalayan agroecosystems.