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Chapter 6. Ancestral nomadism and farming in the mountains Agro-pastoralism and gathering food system of the Bhotia and Anwal peoples in Uttarakhand, India

  • Bhotia and Anwal of Namik village
    Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand, India
  • Pradeep Mehta
    Central Himalayan Institute for Nature and Applied Research-CHINAR
  • Ghanshyam Kalki Pande
    Central Himalayan Institute for Nature and Applied Research-CHINAR

At a glance

This study characterised the food system of Namik, a mountain village situated in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand in India. The village is inhabited by the Bhotia and Anwal. The food system in the village is agro-pastoral, and the majority of households are farming or rearing sheep. The schedule caste families practise blacksmith and traditional carpenter works. A minority is involved with trade and business. The community grows approximately 60 percent of the food within the village, whilst they obtain 30 percent from outside sources, 5 percent from the wild and 5 percent from barter. Approximately 95 percent of the cultivation and animal production comes from traditional varieties, with only 5 percent of the species introduced. The community practises organic farming techniques, such as adding sufficient manure, crop rotation and the cultivation of pulses. The villagers of Namik use most of the food produce for their own consumption. They sell only a small portion of their food to earn cash, as the majority of the extra produce is exchanged with adjoining villages or with traders who come to the village. They noted that the climatic conditions of the area and the limited access to land are the main barriers to food security and diet quality.

“Our traditional crops are not only part of our food but also an important part of our unique culture.”

Mr. Laxman Singh, community member of Namik village.
Source: United Nations Geospatial. 2021. Map of the World. Washington, D.C., UN. [Cited 7 June 2021.]