XVI Biennial IASC-Conference in Utrecht, the Netherlands

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Norie Tamura, Senior Project Researcher and Mai Kobayashi, Project Researcher took part in XVI Biennial International Association for the Study of the Commons-Conference held in Utrecht, the Netherlands from July 10th to 14th, 2017, at which they presented on the following topics.

Norie Tamura and Mikitaro Shobayashi “Analyzing differences in how small-scale farming and local commons are viewed between central and local governments: A case study in Japan”

Mai Kobayashi “Bhutan’s fertility transition: organic agriculture and the adaptation of peasant farmers in the Himalayan Kingdom”

Abstract: Efforts towards agricultural modernization in Bhutan officially started in the 1960s after the opening of its borders to the outside world. Since then, national and international governments and organizations have provided extensive material and technical assistance in an effort to increase and diversify agricultural production. Heavily subsidized support has been offered to farmers throughout the country by way of the national government. Farm machinery, irrigation systems, synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, cultivation methods and new varieties of vegetables and fruits, have been supplied, leading to a fundamental shift in how Bhutan’s agricultural landscape is organized. While a transition towards market-oriented entrepreneurial systems of agriculture is being encouraged on one side, the Bhutanese government has also chosen to take advantage of the still largely subsistence based forms of small scale farming by implementing a national policy to promote organic agriculture. This paper looks at how the various government led efforts towards sustainable agricultural development is influencing the perceptions and choices farmers make on the ground. In particular, emphasis will be placed on how institutions surrounding leaf litter collection in nearby community forests co-exist with the newly found emphasis on market economies alongside rural depopulation. Research is based on the analysis of a household survey and personal interviews conducted in western Bhutan, between January and March, and again in October of 2014.

Mai giving a presentation (Photo: Norie Tamura)