Food security impacts of indigenous agroecology: Circular economy of Apatani rice-fish co-culture in eastern Himalayas
Sreejith Aravindakshan, Lipi Rina, Hage Aku
Arunachal University of Studies (AUS), Dept. of Agriculture and Natural Resource Economics, India
In the agroecological discourse, the promotion of indigenous production practices and resource recycling is often presented as a means to increase the ecological resilience of the food systems. The participation of indigenous peoples is also key to achieving the ambitions of the UN SDGs— of zero hunger and poverty alleviation. The Apatani tribe in the Apatani plateau situated in the central western part of the Eastern Himalayas in India has been successfully managing their agro-ecosystems for almost 500 years. Their farming is an integrated system of paddy-fish co-culture (PFC) based on the 3Rs principle of the circular economy—re-cycling, reusing and reducing. Considering the uniqueness of these systems, in April 2014, Apatani Cultural Landscape was added to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Although indigenous agroecological systems have been lauded as having high environmental efficiencies, they are still considered as low productive systems incapable of supporting household food and nutrition security. The value of quantifying the food security impacts of agroecological farming is well recognised, but notable gaps remain in the literature. Contributions focus on resource-use efficiency, crop yields, and income, with important research regarding circular economy and institutions, remaining under-represented. Using primary data collected from adopters and non-adopters of PFC from 120 households in the study area, we measured food security at the household level using the indicators: food consumption score (FCS), and length of rice grain self-provision period. An ordinary least square regression model was subsequently employed to explain the drivers of food security, which revealed the significant positive influence of the adoption of circular economy, agroecological farming, and indigenous local institutions on household food security.
Keywords: Apatani, Eastern Himalayas, indigenous agroecology, resilience
Contact Address: Sreejith Aravindakshan, Arunachal University of Studies (AUS), Dept. of Agriculture and Natural Resource Economics, Knowledge City nh52, 792103 Namsai, India, e-mail: sreejiagrimangmail.com