Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

  • GIAHS are unique land use systems and landscapes full of life and biodiversity, resilient ecosystems, and valuable cultural heritages managed by farmers, herders, fisherfolk, and tribals.
  • UN FAO leads the GIAHS programme, which helps identify ways to mitigate threats faced by these systems and their people. Since 2005, FAO has designated 72 systems in 23 countries as agricultural heritage sites.

GIAHS Designated Sites in India

Pampore Saffron Heritage, Jammu & Kashmir (2011)

  • Saffron cultivation is typical of Pampore Karewas of the Kashmir region. Saffron has traditionally been associated with the famous Kashmiri cuisine, its medicinal values, and the rich cultural heritage of Kashmir.
  • Rice is the primary staple crop. Maize, millets, and pulses are also grown. Wheat and barley are the chief spring crops. Many temperate fruits are grown, including almonds, apples, cherries, pears, peaches, and walnuts.
  • Threats: water scarcity, productivity loss and market volatility.

Koraput Traditional Agriculture, Odisha (2012)

  • The Koraput region in the Eastern Ghats is a highland plateau. Subsistence paddy cultivation occupies most of the cultivated highland slopes. Jeypore in the region has rich genetic resources of medicinal plants.
  • Koraput traditional systems are strongly linked to the tribal communities and their indigenous knowledge system. They have the tradition of maintaining sacred groves, which preserve plant genetic resources.
  • Tribal groups: 52 tribal groups, mainly Khond, Bhatada, Paroja, Bhumia, Bondas, etc.
  • Threats: deforestation and mining.

Kuttanad Below Sea Level Farming System, Kerala (2013)

  • Kuttanad Wetland Agriculture System is a mosaic of fragmented agricultural landscapes:
    • wetlands used for paddy cultivation and fishing,
    • garden lands used for coconut, tubers, and food crops plantation, and
    • water areas used for inland fishing.
  • Kuttanad Wetland Agriculture System is the only system in India that favours rice cultivation below sea level in the land created by draining delta swamps in brackish waters.
  • Threats: sea-level rise, severe pollution, tourism, etc.

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