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Title: Indigenous Knowledge and Innovations for Managing Resources, Institutions and Technologies Sustainably: A Case of Agriculture, Medicinal Plants and Biotechnology
Authors: Gupta, Anil K.
Keywords: Indigenous knowledge;Agriculture;Medicinal plants;Biotechnology
Issue Date: 25-Jul-2009
Series/Report no.: WP;2007-07-09
Abstract: Communities living close to nature invariably evolve a language to understand and interpret the variations and discontinuities in nature. A flower of new colour, an unusually tall plant, an unseasonal germination or an extraordinary fruiting have attracted human attention in every part of the world. Some of these odd plants got selected either for curiosity or for a purposive characteristic and became a local crop variety. Some got analysed for their therapeutic property and became a medicinal plant. Some were combined with other plants, insects, fungi or other materials such as animal urine, milk, minerals or other compounds to develop various kinds of biotechnological products useful as drugs, dyes or derivatives. It is not surprising therefore that civilizational societies whether in Latin America or Asia or Africa have had a tremendously rich knowledge base drawing upon local resources. In this paper, I first discuss the framework in which indigenous knowledge systems for agriculture, medicinal plants and biotechnology can be analysed. In second part, I suggest ways in which policy makers can try to blend the formal and the informal institutional contexts of technological knowledge. Lastly, I suggest some areas for further research, action and policy interventions through cooperative Indo-Brazilian and S African dialogue.
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