From: University of Ottawa
Published July 20, 2017 08:05 AM

Looking back to move agriculture forward

Small farmers and indigenous communities have practised sustainable agriculture for centuries. Chidi Oguamanam is working to ensure that traditional knowledge is recognized and shared equitably.

The kind of clean technology Chidi Oguamanam advocates looks a lot different from what many of us might imagine. No high-tech solar panels. No futuristic gizmos. No scientists in a lab.

Instead, the University of Ottawa law professor talks about the kinds of innovations that have evolved over centuries by small agricultural producers in places like Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria, the country where he was born.

“Local farmers in Nigeria grow a bean called the cowpea, which for a long time suffered from infestation by weevils,” explains Oguamanam. “The farmers noticed there were certain seeds that were insect- or weevil-resistant, so they selected those and grew them, over and over again. Eventually, they developed a traditional brand of naturally insect-resistant cowpea. But others came and claimed credit.

 

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Photo via University of Ottawa.

 

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