Methodology for designing alternative ecosystem for restoring indigenous knowledge of smallholder communities in India

Maya Narayan and Anshul Agrawal

Holon Perspectives LLP India


The Green Revolution led to the introduction of the modern high yielding varieties (HYVs) of seeds during the period 1960s-1970s. It also systematically replaced the approach of farmers collectively sharing and preserving indigenous best practices with transfer of knowledge regarding industrialised farming and increased productivity being routed through agricultural extension service agents. This “expert-driven” approach systemically created a dynamic that has led to the breakdown of social networks and community safety net structures that were earlier accessible to smallholders. This ongoing research study presents a methodology for designing an alternative ecosystem for restoring indigenous knowledge of smallholders in India, through a bottom-up model of community- based solutions that will provide them with more equitable as well as sustainable agricultural outcomes (Titzer, 2017). To demonstrate the merit of transitioning to such an alternative agricultural ecosystem for restoring indigenous knowledge we performed a multiple case study analysis on existing IEK systems. Systems thinking helped us gain a holistic understanding of the agricultural ecosystem in its current state, pinpoint the root causes of its dynamic behaviour and identify leveraging points in the system to make it more equitable for smallholders through the restoration of IEK.


Author. (2020). Article title. In Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD9) 2020 Symposium. India, October 9-17, 2020.

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Suggested Citation Format (APA)

Author(s) (20XX). Article title. Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSDX) Symposium.