Shifting Cultivation: Misconception of the Asian Governments
JIDC_24-2_71.pdf 284 KB
Maharjan, Shree Kumar
Shifting cultivation is an ancestral farming practice of indigenous peoples that is culturally inherited form of land use system in Asia. It is considered as a major land use issue by many governments and researchers due to their stigmatized misconceptions. Thus, this traditional form of farming system is in endangered state nowadays in the region. The fact continues currently, and for years, that most of the governments have been trying to ban it while indigenous peoples struggle to continue, sometimes by practicing it illegally. For most of them, their livelihood relies on it; despite it has been long contested, prohibited and sometimes criminalized by the governments in South and Southeast Asia. This paper highlights these misconceptions of the governments in the region towards shifting cultivation. This article is based on a review of the published papers on shifting cultivation and the papers presented in the regional multi-stakeholder’s consultation on shifting cultivation in Chiang Mai, Thailand, as the field based evidences, particularly the findings of the researchers. The paper has been divided into two sections: first section presents the misconceptions – political, cultural, environmental, agricultural and land rights, customary laws and other rights related – whereas second section deals with the ground realities on shifting cultivation in the selected countries in South and South East Asia, which validates the issues, concerns and misconceptions of shifting cultivation in the regional consultation in presence of 51 participants representing governments, United Nations, civil society organizations, donors, academicians, and researchers. All the representatives discussed and debated on shifting cultivation based on the ground realities to generate the common understanding and minimize the misconceptions of the governments. This paper also highlights the major conclusions of the regional consultation and common positions on shifting cultivation in line with the ‘Shillong Declaration’ adopted by ICIMOD and IFAD in 2004.
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