Indigenous knowledge and development (revised version)

TitleIndigenous knowledge and development (revised version)
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1991
AuthorsWarren, DM
Date PublishedFeb. 20, 1991
Conference LocationWashington, DC
Keywordsagroforestry; aquatic resources; ethnoveterinary medicine; fisheries; forest gardens; mixed cropping; pest management; rice; traditional medicine; trees

There are now hundreds of studies which have recorded indigenous knowledge in many countries. A review of these documents reveals useful insights in how indigenous knowledge and scientific research can benefit from one another. Despite improvements in crop and livestock production technologies, many farmers do not adopt these innovations. Research indicates that the farmers' decisions to reject an innovation are often rational when viewed through the indigenous system. Many farming systems are based on intimate knowledge of soils, vegetation, climate, and pests. They also reflect strategies that allow the farmer to avoid perceived input, output and marketing risks or uncertainties. Understanding these perceived risks and ways of avoiding them can be an important first step towards fruitful partnerships between development professionals and farmers. Several examples of types of indigenous knowledge useful for development are outlined in this paper.


Background paper for seminar series on "Sociology and Natural Resource Management", Agriculture Department, The World Bank, December 3, 1990

Conference Name

Seminar series on Sociology and Natural Resource Management, Agriculture Department, The World Bank

Number of pages

36 pp.