Basmati rice charts a new course for marketing traditional knowledge
Financial Express (India)

NEW DELHI, INDIA: The world may still be debating on how effectively to commercialise traditional knowledge for the benefit of all stakeholders, but Basmati rice in India has shown the way. Appropriate policy support and assured markets for a premium price have helped to preserve and conserve the traditional knowledge of basmati and commercialise it on a large-scale benefiting all stakeholders. Although the annual production of long-grain Basmati rice in India and Pakistan is around 2 million tonne, it commands a market size of over $1,167 million. More…

Bringing the TK of mountainous peoples together
FAO Newsroom

ROME, ITALY: Nearly one-third of the world’s food insecure live in mountain areas – over 245 million people, but development has barely touched many mountain communities. Increasingly, however, mountainous regions in Europe are providing resources and
expertise to highland communities in developing countries. Joint action between local groups in rich and poor countries through the sharing of skills and traditional practices, collectively known as decentralized cooperation, has benefits not only for the poor by providing access to resources as well as education, goods and services. It can also benefit wealthier partners by opening up new markets, through new product development such as speciality coffees, medicinal and aromatic plants, and as a means of protecting valuable natural repositories of freshwater and biodiversity. FAO is conducting a vigorous programme of Decentralized Cooperation with local administrations particularly in Italy where ten agreements have been signed at various levels, France (eight agreements) and Spain (two agreements) resulting in eighteen operational projects in the most needy areas of the world for a total budget value of US$13m. More…

Patented harpoon pins down whale age
Nature Magazine

LONDON, UK: A 100-year-old patented harpoon point, a dead bowhead whale and a unique collaboration between traditional hunters and scientists has helped to prove the theory that northern-latitude whales are among the world’s longest-lived mammals. The century-old harpoon fragment was found in May by an Eskimo whaling crew, which harvest the bowhead under a subsistence quota system monitored by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The Eskimo hunters have a 30-year history of scientific cooperation and sharing of traditional knowledge with researchers at North Slope Borough. More… [Subscription required]

Thai Government spends Bt2.5bn Promoting Traditional Medicines

BANGKOK, THAILAND: Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has initiated a five-year programme starting this year, to promote Thai traditional medicine and treatments for which it will spend nearly Bt2.5 billion. The programme will concentrate on providing better knowledge to practitioners during its first three years. The ministry is committed to raising the standards of Thai traditional medicines and treatments so that they will have standards equal to those of western-based medical practice by the end of the five-year program. Most importantly, the ministry will also raise manufacturing standards of Thai traditional and herbal medicines during the programme and aims at raising the consumption of traditional medicines to at least 25 per cent of total use, to reduce Thailand’s dependence on imported medications. More…

Namibia examines access and benefit sharing

WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA: A meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, is bringing together private sector and government in an effort to develop legislation and practices governing biotrade and bioprospecting. Namibia is currently drafting a bill on Access to Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge. Jooste said biotrade and bioprospecting have the potential to generate significant economic benefits to Namibia, yet given the absence of appropriate and watertight legislation, the country would lose in potential revenue sources if exploited without proper benefit sharing agreements. More…

Canadian Committee on Species at Risk gets Aboriginal Perspective
CBC News

OTTAWA, CANADA: The scientific committee that advises Ottawa on species at risk says it will include more traditional aboriginal knowledge in its work, addressing concerns from aboriginal people that their voices aren’t heard by scientists. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) includes scientists from all levels of government as well as representatives from conservation organizations. It was created 30 years ago to recommend what species should be listed as endangered, threatened or “of special concern” under the Species at Risk Act. Committee chair Jeff Hutchings told CBC News that within the last month, Environment Minister John Baird appointed 12 members to an Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge subcommittee, which was created in 2000 but only met informally since that time. More…

Malaysia to hire traditional medicine practitioners from China
Earth Times

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: Malaysia will soon hire qualified traditional medicine practitioners from China who will be placed in the traditional section of government hospitals, a top health official said Thursday. Deputy Health Minister Abdul Latiff Ahmad said the foreign doctors would have recognised degrees comprising a 30 to 40 per cent knowledge in modern medicine, aside from knowledge on traditional Chinese medicine. More…

Mapping With The Maasai
Innovations Report

LIECESTER, UK: Traditional Maasai songs, dance, sketch maps and mental maps are to be incorporated with digital video recordings, photography and satellite imagery in a pioneering new project at the University of Leicester. The aim is to develop a new cultural mapping to help the Maasai represent their deep understanding of their land through ‘virtual eyes’. The innovative research aims to draw on the environmental knowledge and pastoralist practices of the Maasai and combine it with the latest geographical information technology in order to inform community conservation and development initiatives and ecosystem management policies. More…