Incorporating Farmers' Knowledge in International Rice Research
The longevity of many cultures can be attributed to their adherence to tradition, specifically subsistence practices. More likely than not, trying to push modern technology into these cultures will only result in disaster. Such is the case with the Green Revolution and the rice situation Stephen Lansing covered in The Balinese. It simply does not seem logical to disrupt traditional practices that have supported a culture for so long. There is a reason certain practices have been around for so long and that is because they work the best for certain people in certain locations. Sam Fujisaka supports this notion which is the basis for his article "Incorporating Farmers' Knowledge in International Rice Research." Fujiska's article describes his research done examining traditional farming techniques of the Claveria people of the Southern Philippines, so that their methods of rice farming may be used to improve research of agriculture.
This article sets a good example for researchers of more developed countries who study such indigenous cultures. Rather than trying to see which modern technology from the "outside world" will best help these cultures, Fujisaka attempts to learn from these cultures' traditional methods to help improve the farming industry. Fujisaka's study of rice farming in the Philippines is much like Lansing's study in Bali, in that both cultures rely heavily on rice farming and both cultures suffered much the same from the effects of the Green Revolution. Thus, finding what improvements need to be made and how, is an important task that could help many people.
Fujisaka began exploring these improvements by interviewing local Claveria farmers. He investigated in detail aspects of rice farming such as, what problems must be dealt with like weeds, pests, erosion and such, how they best deal with these problems, what the quality of the different types of soil is like, and how fallowing is handled (129). Fujisaka was able to identify contributing factors to farmers' problems such as non-contour plowing, lack of perennials to prevent erosion (127), and land scarcity (128). He also stressed the importance of trading farming tips between groups, like the Claveria did with the Cebu (130). The result was the implementation of the "A-Frame" technology, which was an important first step in...