Shifting cultivation, livelihood and food security: New and old challenges for indigenous peoples in Asia
This extended report (PDF) by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) showcases the changes in livelihood and food security among indigenous shifting cultivation communities in South and Southeast Asia. It focuses on the challenges for indigenous peoples in countries that experience rapid socio-economic transformations with case studies from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal and Thailand. The case studies identify external and internal factors that hinder and facilitate livelihood creation and food security. The case studies document good practices and identify intervention measures to support and promote good practices in adaptive changes among shifting cultivators. All case studies highlight the need to assist indigenous shifting cultivators by improving their agriculture-based livelihood systems for better food security. One of the priority areas relates to security of land tenure. Another important recommendation of the relates to the need to improve farming systems and natural resource bases for shifting cultivation-based food production and cash crop cultivation. Desired supports include linking indigenous producers with buyers (Cambodia), provision of market information (Laos) and storage facilities (Bangladesh), and market exploration of high value crops, such as organic vegetables (Thailand). The studies illustrate how shifting cultivation was and still remains a suitable and for some communities indispensable form of land use in upland areas in Asia, and that it can continue to be managed sustainable from the viewpoints of both natural resource management and household food security under conditions of sufficient and legally recognized access to land.