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UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Learning from the past: Nubian traditional knowledge and agricultural resilience, crop choices and endangered cultural heritage

Disclaimer: The data for this page has been produced from IATI data published by UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Please contact them (Show Email Address) if you have any questions about their data.

Programme Data Last Updated: 23/03/2022

IATI Identifier: GB-GOV-13-FUND--GCRF-AH_R004536_1

Description

This project proposes new outputs for research generated by the 'Sustainability and subsistence systems in a changing Sudan' project (2013 - 2016). This project explored how comparisons of present-day and ancient crop choices can inform on risk management within agricultural strategies of small-scale settlements along the middle Nile valley. Interviews with Nubian farmers revealed dramatic, previously undocumented, shifts in crops grown in the hyper-arid region of northern Sudan since the mid-20th century. Traditional agricultural knowledge is rapidly disappearing with some information remembered only by elderly farmers. Several cereals and pulses that were the most important food crops grown by villagers until recent decades, but are now little used, are comparatively tolerant to aridity and heat. Their presence in the regional archaeobotanical record also reveals their long-term use, further suggesting their environmental suitability. The 'Learning from the past: Nubian traditional knowledge and agricultural resilience, crop choices and endangered cultural heritage' project aims to: - Advocate the importance of using traditional agricultural knowledge to help create strategies for agricultural resilience within international development and broader agricultural research programmes. - To highlight the potential role of increasingly little used cereals and pulses as subsistence crops in marginal environments. - To promote the way ethnobotanical and archaeobotanical approaches can contribute to the agricultural research and NGO sector in Sudan, the UK and internationally. - To preserve traditional Nubian agriculture knowledge that can be considered as endangered cultural heritage and simultaneously as practical knowledge relevant to future agricultural resilience. These aims will be achieved through the creation of a booklet 'Changing Nubian agriculture and crops; the example of Ernetta Island' and the organisation of workshops to be held in the UK and Sudan with NGOs and agricultural researchers. The booklet will provide a new format for disseminating the project results to both existing and new audiences. The booklet will provide a novel and direct way to engage with and benefit local farming Nubian communities in the Abri/Ernetta region, 700km north of Khartoum, and aims to help preserve Nubian agricultural heritage and knowledge for future generations. Farmers also expressly requested the creation of such a booklet, and local participants will be consulted on the booklet content. Once printed, the booklet will be distributed in villages and aims to conserve these 'oral histories' and local ecological knowledge for future generations. The booklet will focus on details of traditional crops and cultivation, agricultural practices and foodstuffs and how these have been changing in recent decades. Associated material culture such as traditional kitchens and less tangible cultural heritage such the daily routines connected with older modes of agricultural practices will also be documented. A summary of the ancient history of crops grown in the region will be added to provide a long-term context to crops grown today and in the recent past. Preserving indigenous knowledge about local crops, cultivation and cuisine has implications for future food security through offering unique insights into local adaptive solutions. An interdisciplinary cross-sector workshop 'Traditional agricultural knowledge, 'forgotten' crops and agricultural resilience' held in London aims to further promote the way ethnobotanical and archaeobotanical approaches can contribute to the agricultural research and the NGO/NPO sector, using the booklet as a case study. Developing ways - and highlighting the importance - of conserving traditional agricultural knowledge is vital to managing present and future agricultural resilience to seasonal, annual and long-term climate variation and change.

Objectives

The objectives are: To advocate the importance of using traditional agricultural knowledge to help create or embed strategies for agricultural resilience within international development and agricultural research programmes. To highlight the potential advantages of increasingly little-used cereals and pulses as food crops in marginal environments. To promote the way ethnobotanical and archaeobotanical approaches can contribute to the agricultural research and NGO sector in Sudan, the UK and internationally. Ethnographic research in Nubia, as part of the 'Sustainability and subsistence systems in a changing Sudan' project, has shown that several key food crops from the early to mid-20th century became less important or abandoned in recent decades - whilst their presence in the archaeological record indicates their long-term regional importance and environmental suitability. To organise an interdisciplinary and cross-sector workshop in the UK entitled 'Traditional agricultural knowledge, 'forgotten' crops and agricultural resilience'. This workshop aims to facilitate debate across a wide range of disciplines and organisations which are interested in - but have very different approaches to - this topic. The Nubian case-study will emphasize the valuable knowledge that can be gathered by integrating interviews with farmers, botanical expertise and a historical perspective, thereby informing how older crops might be used for subsistence. To organise workshops in Sudan with agricultural researchers in Dongola and Khartoum to advocate the future potential of increasingly little-used food crops. To produce a new and direct way to engage with and benefit Nubian agricultural communities. This will be achieved through the production of a booklet (in Arabic and English) 'Changing Nubian agriculture and crops; the example of Ernetta Island', to help conserve traditional knowledge about agrobiodiversity. This will document 'oral histories' of how crops, cuisine, and associated material culture have been changing over the last 100 years. This will include detailed information, which is rapidly being forgotten, of increasingly little-used cereals and pulses that are comparatively arid and heat tolerant. Providing a written record of traditional cultivation, processing practices, and recipes seeks to help conserve the information of how to grow and prepare these crops. A temporal perspective will be added by the archaeological data for crops grown in the region. The intention is to highlight the antiquity of many 'traditional crops' to help promote their heritage and role. To use the booklet in workshops organised in the UK and Sudan for illustrating the value of local ecological knowledge, especially about changes in crop diversity and the advantages of traditional crops. Additionally, the booklet will be advocated as a methodological approach within agricultural development to help preserve local knowledge.

Status - Post-completion More information about Programme status
Programme Spend More information about Programme funding
Participating Organisation(s) More information about implementing organisation(s)

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