More than a political slogan: The value of kastom in extension for sustainable agricultural in Vanuatu

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Abstract

Traditional Vanuatu kastom (the Bislama term for culture) has dictated sustainable agricultural practices for over three thousand years. However recent shifts toward cash cropping, growing urbanisation, population growth and climate change have raised concerns over national food security and the sustainability of the agriculture sector. Kastom is often used simply as a political slogan for national unification, however it may provide a way forward in enhancing agricultural extension, and in turn the sustainability of the agricultural sector. The aim of this paper is to explore the potential for extension programs to be more inclusive of kastom in order to more effectively promote sustainable agriculture. By demonstrating its value for sustainable agriculture, kastom may become more than just a political slogan. Semi-structured interviews and participant observations were methods used to collect data from smallholder indigenous farmers. Evaluation of the data suggests that, for may farmers, kastom continues to be n integral part of their daily agricultural practices and that many of these practices promote sustainable agriculture. The paper concludes that extension programs which complement kastom systems may have enhanced outcomes, however further research is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-100
Number of pages10
JournalRural Extension and Innovation Systems Journal (Online)
Volume14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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