Indigenous cultures hold the key to helping combat growing hunger and improving food security
Do indigenous peoples hold the key to tackling global hunger?
Competition for land, water and energy are increasing, exacerbated by climate change and a growing population. But why does the Food and Agriculture Organisation now believe indigenous people could provide a solution? Peter Giovannini investigates
Eugenio was using some pieces of wood and a net to build a makeshift dam in a shallow area of the Maniqui River in the Bolivian Amazon region. A university professor, four research students and I were standing at the edge of the river, up to our ankles in brownish water. With our hands we formed a small barrier of sand and mud at the side of the river to close off the artificial pond that Eugenio had started on the other side, now within the river.
When the water in the artificial pond was almost still, Eugenio walked over to the canoe and took a bundle of sticks fastened together with strips of bark. He placed the bundle inside the shallow pond, took a stick in both hands and started pounding the bundle with it. While the rhythmic noise of the stick hitting the bundle kept time, a foamy substance flowed out from the bundle and mixed into the water.
Eugenio is a member of the Tsimané, one of the many indigenous groups inhabiting the Amazon basin, and he was showing us a technique for catching fish using a plant poison. This is not the only way the Tsimané hunt fish. They also use hook and line, nets and bows and arrows, but using a plant as fish poison was certainly the most...
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