Use of Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Crop and Livestock Production and Implication to Social Ecology: A Case Study of Chimanimani District of Zimbabwe

  • Pindai Sithole CeDRE International Africa, Zimbabwe


This study explored the indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) in the Chimanimani District of Zimbabwe and how they are used in crop management and grain storage. Also examined were the effects of IKS use on community food security and integrity of the environment. A qualitative interpretative research design was employed through the use of detailed in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with traditional leaders and community elders. The choice for these groups of people was informed by the general belief that they are often regarded in the community as a reservoir of indigenous knowledge systems. Phenomenological underpinnings anchored the study because it was vital to bring to the fore the various related IKS phenomena and links to food security and environmental management in the community. A socio-ecological lens was used to establish links and interrelations of factors that contribute to food security and environmental management. Major findings include that ashes and leaves from some indigenous trees are used to enrich soil quality, preserve food, and treat livestock. In addition, ashes and leaves are applied as organic pesticides for a variety of crops grown in the district. The study established that these local knowledge systems and practices contribute to low farming costs, high crop yields and good environmental management. The indigenous trees used for this purpose are held in high regard and conserved through the practice and enforcement of socio-spiritual prohibitions like taboos. The study concluded that the body of local knowledge firmly rooted in the Chimanimani people’s culture and traditions is relevant to and consistent with the national and global agenda towards strengthening and sustaining community food security and environmental management. Furthermore, the local knowledge systems found in this study have policy implications for environmental management and climate change strategies as well as knowledge management from a socio-ecological perspective.

Keywords: indigenous knowledge management systems, environmental management, food security


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