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Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

GIAHSThe GIAHS is an acronym for Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems was started by FAO in 2002 for spreading public awareness and to safeguard world agricultural heritage sites.

FAO is an intergovernmental organization, headquartered at Rome with 191 member nations. Aims at helping world population get ensured food security, eliminate hunger, poverty.

The official site provides more-

“The GIAHS Initiative promotes public understanding, awareness, national and international recognition of Agricultural Heritage systems. Looking to safeguard the social, cultural, economic and environmental goods and services these provide to family farmers, smallholders, indigenous peoples and local communities, the initiative fosters an integrated approach combining sustainable agriculture and rural development.”


Objectives of GIAHS-

Understand and appreciate the nature friendly agricultural practices of local and tribal populations around the world. Documentation of indigenous knowledge sources. Conserve and promote such knowledge on a worldwide scale to promote food security and to ensure sustainable development. To share the benefits with local populace by bringing about eco-tourism and eco labelling. Eradicate poverty and combat climate change. To reverse the impacts of loss of Biodiversity, loss of livelihood and economic returns for marginalized and poor- major impacts.


Criterion for selection of a GIAHS site-

The site should either have national or global significance. The selected site should ensure food and livelihood security for the local community. Must have knowledge system and sufficient biodiversity. Should have a remarkable landscape and other attributes such as water management systems. Should have some sort of historical relevance.


As per the official website, the GIAHS Sites proposed in India are the following:

Koraput, Odisha-

The M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation has proposed conserving the agrobiodiversity heritage of the Koraput Region, India and Establishment of a genetic heritage park.

Saffron Heritage of Kashmir, India-

Pampore is situated on the banks of river Vatista.

Kuttanad Below Sea Level Farming System, India-


Kuttanad is a delta region of about 900 sq. km situated in the west coast of Kerala State, India.

Tribal Agricultural Heritage Systems, India Traditional Ladakh Agriculture-


In Ladkah, because of the harsh climate, agriculture I difficult but the communities have developed terrace farming.

Raika Pastoralists of the Thur Desert, Rajasthan Sikkim Himalaya-Agriculture Catamaran Fishing, Tamil Nadu-


Fishermen have practised sustainable fishing for a very long time which is now threatened because of commercial boats.

Korangadu Silvo-Pastoral Management System, Tamil Nadu Soppina Bettas Systems, Western Ghats

Do you know about a potential GIAHS site? Submit it here

Image credit: GIAHS official website

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