Bioversity international



This publication, titled “Indigenous Peoples’ food systems: Insights on sustainability and resilience from the front line of climate change”, was jointly prepared by FAO and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT.

The overall guidance and direction of the publication was carried out by Yon Fernández-de-Larrinoa (Indigenous Peoples Unit, FAO) and Anne Brunel (Indigenous Peoples Unit, FAO), supported by a Scientific Editorial Committee composed3 of: Barbara Burlingame (Massey University), Edmond Dounias (the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development-IRD), Serena Ferrari (Pastoralist Knowledge Hub-PKH, FAO), Danny Hunter (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT), Ana Islas Ramos (Food and Nutrition Division, FAO), Gennifer Meldrum (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT), Stefano Padulosi (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT), Phrang Roy (The Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodivesrity and Food Sovereignty-TIP), Florence Tartanac (Food and Nutrition Division, FAO), Gregorio Velasco Gil (PKH, FAO) and Maria Xipsiti (Food and Nutrition Division, FAO), which provided scientific and technical edits to the case studies.

Edmond Dounias (IRD) prepared the Executive Summary and Yon Fernández-de-Larrinoa (FAO) wrote the Policy Recommendations section, with technical inputs from Anne Brunel (FAO), Luisa Castañeda (FAO), Gennifer Meldrum (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT) and Ida Strømsø (FAO). The circular calendars for each chapter were prepared by Yanto Wahyantono (IRD). The species index was prepared by Ida Strømsø (FAO). The final layout of the publication was guided by Mariana Estrada (FAO) and realized by Carlos de la Fuente González and Carlos Matilla (Isla Gráfica) with the editorial support of the FAO Publishing Group (OCCP). The final stages of the editing and publication process benefited from the inputs and contributions by Luisa Castañeda (FAO), Mariana Estrada (FAO), Sara Sheibani (FAO), Ida Strømsø (FAO) and Mikaila Way (FAO). Final comments, clearances and technical contributions were received from Beth Bechdol (FAO), Máximo Torero Cullén (FAO), Marcela Villarreal (FAO), Anna Lartey (FAO), Benjamin Davis (FAO), Jamie Morrison (FAO), Maria Xipsiti (FAO), Ramani Wijesinha Bettoni (FAO), Tomas Buendia (FAO), Nicole Franz (FAO), Benjamin Siegelman (FAO), Guido Agostinucci (FAO) and Mariana Estrada (FAO).

FAO and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT acknowledge and express their gratitude to the Indigenous Peoples’ authorities and communities who shared information and facilitated the execution of the fieldwork in their territories. The methodology for the fieldwork and analysis was developed by Gennifer Meldrum (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT), Jessica Raneri (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT), Rose Robitaille (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT) and Gaia Lochetti (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT), guided by a technical advisory committee composed of Anne Brunel (FAO), Edmond Dounias (IRD), Yon Fernández-de-Larrinoa (FAO), Stefano Padulosi (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT) and Valeria Poggi (FAO), and with comments and advice from Guido Agostinucci (FAO), Festus Akinnifesi (FAO), Esther Akwii (FAO), Annelie Bernhart (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT), Benjamin Davis (FAO), Elisa Di Stefano (FAO), Liseth Escobar Aucu (FAO), Nicole Franz (FAO), Juan García Cebolla (FAO), Marta Gruca (FAO), Danny Hunter (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT), Nina Lauridsen (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT), Carlos Lira (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT), Natasha Maru (FAO), Dunja Mijatovic (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT), Jamie Morrison (FAO), Divine Njie (FAO), Fabio Parisi (FAO), Rosalaura Romeo (FAO), Phrang Roy (TIP), Benjamin Siegelman (FAO), Shukri Ahmed (FAO), Maya Takagi (FAO), Florence Tartanac (FAO), Emilie Vandecaldelaere (FAO) and Gregorio Velasco Gil (FAO).

Out of the 12 Indigenous Peoples’ communities involved in the fieldwork, after the review, analysis and validation by the Scientific Editorial Committee, 8 were included in this publication, portraying the food systems of 11 different Indigenous Peoples. Our sincere thanks and acknowledgment to the remaining four Indigenous Peoples and their communities, whose members put time apart from their daily chores to support the research and fieldwork towards this initiative.

Lastly, our gratitude and thanks to the teams and individuals who, in each site community, worked on gathering all the relevant information for the different chapters in the book.

Chapter 1: Hunting, gathering and food sharing in Africa’s rainforests.
The forest-based food system of the Baka Indigenous People in South-eastern Cameroon was prepared by Masaaki Hirai (Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University), Towa Olivier William Kamgaing (Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University) and Gennifer Meldrum (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT). Abouli Jean, Mbokamba Germi, Adjomo Jean, Konga Mathurin, Kakouar Janvier, Mbossi Jean, Mbossi Felix, Mepongo Daniel, Mbossi Felix Fils, Assolo Jean, Djema André, Lengo Jean Paul, Egoulou Matin, Pkasselé, Bonawe Germi, Souka Daniel, Essouma Brigitte, Ama Guilaine, Adjo Vigini, Bototo Odette, Ebeni Marie, Kabili Pauline, Kopayo Lidy, Massala Jeanine, Sangale, Apkagui Pauline, Amedji Janne, Sema Odette, Ama Jacqueline, Galla Rosette, Mandeya Jacqueline, Djamie Juliene, Wena Delfine and Dagoma Marie, Chaude Jonas, Manganba Fedjina, Douma Denis, Dangouma Odette, Kundu Delfine, Andjouba Ilem, Madema Mari, Avanda Remi and Mbosssi Michel participated in the profiling of the food system. Bongo Bongo Alain, Assolo Mesaba Rodin and Atia Yvette were the facilitators. Nkoul Messaba Marius, Azam Jean Paul, Moamie Nathan, Lemidjeng Kenis and Tamdo Florence were responsible for taking notes. Zouom Sylvain, Medjinandjo Bertrand, Onana Syprian and Kani Célestin were the translators. Alidou Lytti and Timothée Kamgaing, the staff of Gribe research station, Akiyo Shioya (Kyoto University) and Gaia Lochetti (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT) provided valuable support to this case study.

Chapter 2: Voices from Arctic nomads: an ancestral system facing global warming.
Reindeer herding food system of the Inari Sámi people in Nellim, Finland was prepared by Inka Saara Arttijeff (Sámi Parliament in Finland), Elle Maarit Arttijeff (Sámi Parliament in Finland) and Tero Mustonen (Snowchange Cooperative).

Chapter 3: Treasures from shifting cultivation in the Himalayan’s evergreen forest.
Jhum, fishing and gathering food system of the Khasi people in Meghalaya, India was prepared by Bhogtoram Mawroh (North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society-NESFAS), Ruth Sohtun (NESFAS), Pius Ranee (NESFAS), Melari Nongrum (NESFAS), Phrang Roy (TIP) and Gennifer Meldrum (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT). Asteshon Diengdoh, Carius Ranee, Angelbert Dohling, Edmund Khonglam, Carmelus Ranee, Horno Dohling, Richard Ranee, Jilius Riahtam, Roisius Khongsit, Pynsuklang Khongsit, Jasinta Ranee, Agnes Khonglam, Lista Khonglam, Martina Rani, Suklin Dohling, Bibiana Ranee, Makrina Ranee, Ioana Khongsit, Patrisha Riahtam and Sweetsila Ranee participated in the profiling of the food system. The Martin Luther Christian University Research Ethics Committee reviewed and approved the methodology.

Chapter 4: From the ocean to the mountains: storytelling in the Pacific Islands.
Fishing and agroforestry food system of the MelanesiansSI people in Solomon Islands was prepared by Chris Vogliano (Massey University), Jessica E. Raneri (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT) and Shane Tutua (SPE Consulting), with the support of Carol Offer (Solomon Islands National University) and Joe Hagabore (Solomon Islands National University). The Massey University Human Ethics Review Board and the Solomon Islands Ministry of Education and Human Resources and Development (MEHRD) approved the methodologies and research. The participating institutions, communities, networks and individuals provided important inputs to this case study. The following participants provided valuable support to this case study: The Women – Elders: Liza Tambe, Audrey Havea, Nelly Tony, Hetigula Lulu, Rose. R, Mizipa. G, Judith. G, Renny. O, Ruth, Margaret Piko; Adults: Sabe Kenwick, Vicka Devis, Eving Pita, Kokena Mockson, Jenny Erick, Carolyn Tope, Tare Isaac, Elizabeth James, Dorida Elson, Jane Taki, Melisa K., Loren Z., Mirraim B., Libe P., Ilian V., Elis J., Lynmah G., Ester H., Elisa D., Anna, Freda, Zizalia, Aristio, Wati, Jenny M., Vaelyn, Tema, Jerolyn, Betty. Children: Eugene Qua, Kemasi I., Rosly H., Amalan P., Maristio V., Silivina V., Mayoth J.; Men – Elders: Benjamin Kavi, John Sigoto, James D., Samuel Rove, Elijah Nole, Mockson J., Manoka H.; Adults: Eric Sapa, Kalepo Newzom, Frank Langa, Joseph Terry, Scaou B., Hosea R., Moses Bulekolo, James Dimmy, Hosea Reo, Skann Baki, Jimmy R., Devesi M., Tom T., Nickson P. Children: Douglas L., Batolo R., Robino V., Clifford G., Douglas B., Frances O., Dilo E., John T.

Chapter 5: Surviving in the desert: the resilience of nomadic herders.
Pastoralist food system of the Kel Tamasheq people in Aratène, Mali was prepared by Aboubacrine Ag Mohamed Mitta (Réseau des Peuples Pasteurs du Sahel-RPPS), Ouayara Kone (RPPS), Ahmed Ag Hamama (RPPS) and François-Xavier Cherdo (Independent). Moctar Ag Mohamed Aly (village chief), Mohamed El moctar Ag Abdoulahi (notable), Mohamed Aly Ag Abdoulahi (retired teacher), Maya Walet Mohamed Aly (Women’s Association), Fadimata Walet Hamama (Women’s Association), Mohamed Attaher Ag Mohamed (notable), Mohamedoun Ag Mohamed Elmoctar (notable), Mohamed Aly Ag Mohamed (village adviser), llama Walet Alhousseyni (Women’s Association), Aïchata Walet Mohamadoune (Women’s Association), Aicha Walet Mohamed, (Women’s Association), Mohamed Ag Abdoulahi (village adviser), Maya Walet Mohamed (Women’s Association), Taya Walet Mohamed Elmoctar (Women’s Association) and Erhant Ag Mohamed (village adviser) provided valuable contributions to the organization of this case study. The community participants, youth and children provided a key role in the thematic discussions. They included: Men – Moctar Ag Mohamed Ali, Aboubacrine Ag Mohamed Mitta, Zinoreyni Ag Mohamed Ali, Balti Ag Mohamed Ali, Mohamed Ag Adeg, Menkou Ag Ballo, Mihdi Ag Amidi, Hamel Ag Abdolaye, Hamel Ag Mossa, Mohamedoun Ag Hamama, Hamet Ag Ehya, Mamatal Ag Abdolahi, Igbey Ag Zouaya, Irahim Ag Mohamed Ali, Mohamed Elmoctar Ag Hamada, Ebey Ag Aya; Women – Tabosate Wallet Mohamed, Tikertan Wallet Abdolahi, Fati Walet Abdoulsalam, Niktete Walet Abdolhi, Almidinet Walet Moctar, Maya Walet Mohemmed Ali, Tifinit Walet Mosa, Fadimoutou Walet Alhassane, Aramet Walet Mohamed Ibrahim, Aminoutou Walet Khandi, Kani Walet Alkaussi, Zimilaye Walet Ibrahim, Safia Walet Ibrahim, Tassa Walet Mohamed Ahmad, Kadidjatou Walet Mohamed; Boys – Inine Ag Tchin, Mohamed Ag Mohamed Ousmane, Morab Ag Anim, Mohamed Ah Mohamed Amed, Anafa Ag Acheik, Mohamed Ahmad Ag Ahmad, Mohamed Ahmad Hamé, Amidi Ag Mohamed Ibrahim, Ousmane Ag Mohamed; Girls – Mariam Wallet Mohamed Ahmad, Janati Walet Mohamed Ahmed, Talla Walet Habahi, Tébébete Walet Ibrahim, Aicha Walet Ibrahim, Mariama Walet Ismael, Zeina Walet Ibrahim, Aoudou Ag Mohamed Ousmane, Fadi Walet Mohamed, Oumaissa Walet Mohamed. Mariam Wallet Aboubacrine provided support in the review of the terms in Tamasheq.

Chapter 6: Ancestral nomadism and farming in the mountains.
Agro-pastoralism and gathering food system of the Bhotia and Anwal peoples in Uttarakhand, India was prepared by Pradeep Mehta (Central Himalayan Institute for Nature and Applied Research-CHINAR) and Ghanshyam Kalki Pande (CHINAR). The Namik community provided valuable support to the development of this case study. Ghanshyam Kalki Pande and Ram Singh were responsible for facilitating, collecting data and taking notes.

Chapter 7: Following the flooding cycles in the Amazon rainforest.
Fishing, chagra and forest food system of the Tikuna, Cocama and Yagua peoples in Puerto Nariño, Colombia was prepared by Liseth Johanna Escobar Aucu (Fundación Omacha) and Fernando Trujillo González (Fundación Omacha). The communities of Puerto Esperanza, 20 de Julio, Santa Clara de Tarapoto, Nuevo Paraíso, San Francisco, Comunidad Ticoya and the urban area of the municipality of Puerto Nariño participated in the characterisation of the food system. The artisanal fisherfolk and watchmen of the Lakes of Tarapoto, women, children and elder knowledge holders shared valuable knowledge in the discussions. Lilia Java and Sara Peña supported the fieldwork. Jean-Pierre Goulard provided support in the review of the terms in Tikuna.

Chapter 8: The maize people in the Mesoamerican dry corridor.
Milpa food system of the Maya Ch’orti’ people in Chiquimula, Guatemala was prepared by Carlos Lira (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT), Rose Robitaille (Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT), and Juan Carlos Argueta (Mancomunidad Copan Ch’orti’) and Carlos Cerna (Mancomunidad Copan Ch’orti’). Ninety-five men, 178 women and 30 children participated in the thematic discussions. Roberta García (Pitahaya, Camotán, COCODES leader), Alfredo Amador (Chaguiton, Camotán, COCODES leader), Cecilio Shashente Roque (La Ceiba Tunuco Arriba, Jocotán, COCODES leader), Juan Díaz Gonzales (Chatuncito, Jocotán, Leader of the “Tunuco Arriba” group), Aurelio Reyes Vásquez (Agua Blanca, Olopa, Mayor) and Reyna Luz Sánchez (Rodeo, Camotán, Group Leader) provided valuable support to this case study. Juan Antonio Gutierrez Hernandez was responsible for linking with the communities, organising the thematic discussions, and notetaking. Adolfo Vasquez, Alan Galván and Mario Randolfo Lorenzo from Mancomunidad Copan Ch’orti’ were responsible for coordinating. Stefano Padulosi, Gennifer Meldrum and Nadezda Amaya of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT provided logistical and editorial support.


The FAO Indigenous Peoples Unit and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT would like to warmly thank the following for their generous funding and for supporting parts of the research and field activities that have made this publication possible: FAO Strategic Programme 3 on Reducing Rural Poverty; Mountain Partnership Secretariat; Pastoralist Knowledge Hub; Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland; Sámi Parliament in Finland; CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH); Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD); FAO Small-Scale Fisheries Umbrella programme; and Project Comeca (financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency and Japan Science and Technology Agency).

  • 3 Organised by last names in alphabetical order.