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Food Security Issues in Asia-Africa

“Strengthening the role of indigenous knowledge toward food security in developing countries”

Introduction
Food security issues have been global issues nowadays. Food security has many definitions World Health Organization (WHO) describes it as a situation when all people, at all time have physical and economical access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Food security often comes along with poverty issues. This food security issues is quite complicated since they involve some stages from supply, maintenance, distribution, and policies. One approach will not be sufficient to solve all the problems. Another problem is that this food security issue is often specific in one location. The challenge to provide food in the process of production often depends on the agro-climate or the unique natural resource in every locations which is not typically the same for instance. Another challenge is local culture of the communities really influences food to be consumed by the people whether it is about the type, amount, taste, color, and other related things. Seeing the facts above, the possible optimal approach which can be done is a specific approach that can optimize and preserve the unique local knowledge to a given culture or society (indigenous knowledge) which can provide food and can give a continuous positive impact to the improvement of community economy and the decrease of poverty as well. Indigenous knowledge is predicted to play an important role in the next future especially in the transformation process of developing countries to be the developed ones which are based on the local knowledge. World Bank states that the basic component of knowledge system of every country is its indigenous knowledge which covers skills, experience, insight of people which are applied to maintain or improve their living. ‘Indigenous knowledge is a critical factor for sustainable development. Empowerment of local communities is a prerequisite for the integration of indigenous knowledge in the development process. The integration of appropriate indigenous knowledge systems into development programs has already contributed to efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainable development impact (World Bank, 2000). Today, many indigenous knowledge systems are at risk to become extinct because of rapidly changing natural environments and fast pacing economic, political, and cultural changes on a global scale. Many indigenous knowledge are considered inappropriate for new challenges or because of their slow adaptability. Many of them also disappeared along with the intrusion of foreign technologies or development new concepts that seem to be more promising for short-term gains without being capable of sustaining them. It will be wiser if we can give more attention to this indigenous knowledge because no matter what, it is very important for the local community in which the bearers of such knowledge live and produce. We need to recognize it, value it and appreciate it. A lot of indigenous knowledge have been found in Asia and Africa. Countries in Asia and Africa are well known to have unique, typical, and specific natural resource and agro-climatology. This condition encourages the richness of unique customs and cultures including indigenous knowledge of Asian and African countries. Today, these countries seem to have similar problems related to preservation of their indigenous knowledge and the utilization of indigenous knowledge to solve food insufficiency problem. Sharing and collaboration between countries in Asia and Africa which have similar problem is needed to be done. Many countries in Asia and Africa have things in common in terms history and national development. This can be proved with historical experience series that inspired the struggle of Asian and African people to fight for their freedom, to be independent countries. In Wageningen, there are quite many students who come from Asia and Africa. Wageningen is one of the most prestigious universities in the world with it competency in the field of agriculture. This is one of the main reasons why many students from all over the world come to Wageningen including from Asia and Africa. This population will possibly be the agents of change in their own countries in the future and become influencing characters in the world. For that reason, the discussion among students coming from Asia and Africa is very important especially the discussion about food security issues and the solutions which is related to the indigenous knowledge.

Purpose
This one day seminar is actually has a purpose to facilitate the cross-discipline discussion among the Asian and African students who are studying in Wageningen, the Netherlands. This discussion is expected to improve and encourage the awareness of the students (future leaders of Asia and Africa) to come with new concepts of preservation and utilization of indigenous knowledge in Asian and African countries especially in the developing countries.

Participants
The participants of this seminar are the Asian and African students who are studying in Wageningen and other nearest area, guest speakers related to the selected issues.

The Schedule of seminar
This seminar will be held in October 19th, 2009 in Wageningen University and Research Center’s Campus.

Scope of Seminar
This seminar is expected to cover several approaches regarding to indigenous knowledge issue such as the success or un-success story, positioning general food security issues and also the history of Asia Africa relationship as well. However, this seminar will be focused on indigenous knowledge in three main sub issues: production technology, social aspect and culture and policy.

Registration and Contact Person
Registration for oral presentation are now widely open. Please contact us: oneday.seminar.ppiw@gmail.com for further information.

Organized by:
Indonesian Student Association - Wageningen