A Guide to the Identification and Importance of Custodian Farmers

a guide to the identification and importance of custodian farmers

A new working paper has been published that provides a two-page guidance for identifying Custodian Farmers, and understanding their importance for agrobiodiversity conservation. Produced by Alexander Byrners (Bioversity-Nepal/Princeton University) and Bhuwon Sthapit (Bioversity-Nepal), it builds on extensive field experience and participatory identification of individuals that maintain, adapt, and disseminate agricultural biodiversity on farm and community levels, and are recognized by other community members for this active role.

Research with Custodian Farmers and their role for in-situ conservation of agrobiodiversity is a relatively new way of involving farmers, their knowledge and socio-cultural links that underpin agrobiodiversity. Over the last three years, the team of participatory researchers that developed the framework of Custodian Farmers, has revised the method several times based on extensive field work and national Custodian Farmer meetings that took place in Nepal and India in 2013. Leadership for advancing the method in national research projects and conservation strategies came from the Nepal based NGO LI-BIRD, a community based partner of PAR, also in our recent project “Agrobiodiversity, Land and People”.

Some of the questions discussed in this working paper are “what do we really mean by custodian farmers?”, “what are the characteristics of such custodian farmers?” and “what role do they play in on-farm and in situ conservation projects and beyond?” (Click on the picture to download the guide).