Bioversity international

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

  • Tikuna, Cocama and Yagua of the Ticoya indigenous reserve
    In the municipality of Puerto Nariño, Amazonas department, Colombia
  • Liseth Johanna Escobar Aucu
    Fundación Omacha
  • Fernando Trujillo González
    Fundación Omacha

At a glance

This study characterises the food system of six communities in the Tikuna-Cocama-Yagua indigenous reserve in the municipality of Puerto Nariño, Amazonas Department, Colombia. The Tikuna, Cocama and Yagua peoples’ food system is based on farming, fishing, hunting and gathering. Using ancestral knowledge, they cultivate a great diversity of species without chemical fertilizers, both in chagras – the diversified productive system – and gathered from the forest, which are amongst the foods generally consumed by families. However, half the average income comes from the sale of surpluses from agriculture and fishing, allowing families to purchase products they do not produce themselves. Additionally, some people are engaged in different activities such as tourism, crafts and construction work. Their diet is based on a variety of foods including fruits, fish, meat, vegetables, grains and, to a lesser extent, some dairy products. Nevertheless, they identified changes in the diet as a result of a rapid and unplanned integration of the Indigenous Peoples’ food system into the market economy. Although the production of food in chagras has remained the primary activity for the provision of food along with fishing and hunting, these activities have undergone significant changes with respect to the techniques and products introduced, such as seeds, and nylon and hunting nets.

“Producing our food is inherited from our parents, it is respect for nature and its future children.”

Community member and participant to the thematic discussions in Puerto Nariño.
United Nations Geospatial. 2021. Map of the World. Washington, D.C., UN. [Cited 7 June 2021.]
  • Note from the editors: Tikuna terms in the chapter are mentioned using the following transcription used for the Colombian riverside of the area of repartition of the Tikuna. High, medium and low tons are symbolized by ´ and `, respectively, and medium is expressed by absence of symbol. Laryngeal vowels (extra low tone) are marked as a̰. Oral and nasal vowels are marked as: a, e, i, o, u, ü, ã, ẽ, ĩ, õ, ũ, ü̃. Occlusive velar /k/ is marked as k; africada palatal /t∫/ is marked as ch; nasal palatal /ɲ/ is marked as ñ. Glotal occlusions are not marked. Other consonants have the same transcription as in Spanish so that /p/, /b/, /f/, /t/, /d/, /ɟ/ or /ʤ/, /g/, /m/, /n/, /ɾ/, /l/ are noted, respectively, p, b, f, t, d, y, g, m, n, r, l (Goulard and Montes Rodríguez, 2016).