Plateforme des Connaissances Pastorales

Pastoralism recognized as an important food system in the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems

03/03/2023 -

Five new food systems in China, Mexico, Morocco, Spain and Thailand have recently been recognized as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS).

Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) refers to an evolving system of human communities intricately entwined with their territory, cultural or agricultural landscape, or biophysical and wider social environment. This initiative, launched by FAO, recognizes important global agricultural systems.

During the meeting of the GIAHS Scientific Advisory Group (2-4 November 2022), they formally recognized five new food systems as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). The selection criteria are based on global significance, value added to the public good, food and livelihood security support, agro-biodiversity, knowledge systems, social values and culture, and outstanding landscapes. With the latest incorporations, FAO's worldwide agricultural heritage network consists of 72 systems from 23 nations around the globe.

Three of these five new systems are directly related to pastoralism. Morocco has been recognized for the links between pastoralists and farmers in the country's east. Thailand, the Thale Noi Wetland Buffalo Pastoral Agro-Eco-System is also part of the GIAHS. Spain now has five systems recognized, with its latest incorporation of the Agrosilvopastoralism system in the mountains of León.

Historic oasis system linking pastoralists and farmers

The GIAHS of eastern Morocco comprises the Figuig municipality and the neighbouring AbbouLakhal. Its system is recognized for the coexisting lifestyles of farming and pastoral communities. AbbouLakhal has large grazing lands where nomadic communities traditionally have practised pastoralism. They have always traded with Figuig farmers. These cities are built on/near water springs, which has helped these communities strike a balance by absorbing the variation of yields and forage to maintain their livelihoods.

The oasis gardens and water have been sustainably managed and distributed through the communities based on customary rights. This system has been considered one of the country's most impressive oases, where traditions have withstood colonization and guaranteed the survival of these communities in the middle of the desert since the times of trans-Saharan trade.