Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 721–736 | Cite as

Root crops diversity and agricultural resilience: a case study of traditional agrosystems in Vanuatu (Oceania)

  • Julie Sardos
  • Sara Muller
  • Marie-France Duval
  • Jean-Louis Noyer
  • Vincent Lebot
Article

Abstract

In Vanuatu (Oceania), small-scale farmers’ subsistence still largely relies on the sustainable use and maintenance of a wide-ranging biodiversity out of which root and tuber crops provide the bulk of daily subsistence. In neighboring countries, foreign influence since the first European contacts, further associated changes and the introduction of new crop species have induced a loss of cultivated diversity. This paper presents a baseline study of the diversity of root and tuber crops in ten communities throughout Vanuatu. In a context where the smallholders’ agrosystems are increasingly considered as key components for the global conservation of crop genetic resources, this study provides clues to better understand the effective roles of biodiversity in traditional agrosystems. It also provides insights on the rationale behind the constitution of agricultural portfolios and discusses how the cultivated diversity allows communities to cope with changes and pressures. The paper also shows that recently introduced crops neither seem to have compromised agricultural diversity nor drastically changed the agrosystems in Vanuatu. On the contrary, such crops are used by farmers to strengthen the resilience of their agrosystems. A discussion then presents the idea of continuity through change and novelty as a critical factor for resilience. The paper concludes by discussing the role of indigenous agriculture and culture in ensuring food security and in development strategies in a larger context.

Keywords

Agricultural resilience Agrobiodiversity Pacific Island Countries (PICs) Root and tuber crops Traditional agriculture Vanuatu 

Abbreviations

CA

Factorial correspondence analysis

CIRAD

Centre International pour la Recherche et le Développement

FFEM

Fond Français pour l’Environnement Mondial

MQAFF

Ministry of Agriculture, Quarantine, Fishery and Forestry

PICs

Pacific Island Countries

RT

Root and tuber

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie Sardos
    • 1
  • Sara Muller
    • 2
  • Marie-France Duval
    • 3
  • Jean-Louis Noyer
    • 4
  • Vincent Lebot
    • 5
  1. 1.Bioversity InternationalParc Scientifique Agropolis IIMontpellier Cedex 5France
  2. 2.Faculté de Géographie et AménagementUniversité de StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance
  3. 3.UMR AGAPCIRADMontpellier Cedex 5France
  4. 4.CIRADMontpellier Cedex 5France
  5. 5.UMR AGAPCIRAD, CARFVPort-VilaVanuatu

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