Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Crops, Livestock Production Among the Lobas of Nepal
In this paper, I will discuss how agricultural system and food sovereignty are associated with close interaction among human beings, livestock and crops in the socio-cultural and ecological system of the Loba people of Lo-manthang, Nepal. Whether the access and ability to choose their food has threatened? Do they continue sustain agro-biodiversity relations based on their indigenous knowledge for food sovereignty? For this purpose I will describe what the Loba people have experienced in relation to changing local climate and dynamic adaptation as tradition in agriculture. I will analyze these context specific relations, but cumulative, dynamic and derived from the web of interaction with the ecological system of the area. This paper includes value of food. Food has multiple values in Loba community. Food is produced to fulfill nutritional requirement of the people. Food constitute not only grain from crops also includes production of livestock such as meat, milk, butter that contains large proportion of dietary requirement of the Lobas. Food and drink production process, processing, preparation and consumption is social. The amount of grain production, land holding and owing livestock means the social and economic position in the community. It also implies the food security of the households. The food produced in Lo-manthang was traded to Tibet in the past. They followed salt and grain circuit. They carry grain to Tibet and they exchanged with salt and salt was again exchanged with grain in Lower Mustang and brought grain to Tibet using pack animals such as sheep, goat, horse and donkey. In this condition good amount of grain production was possible due to availability of water, large number of livestock that produce enough fertilizer as well as work in the field during plantation and harvest time and polyandry marriage system. At that time people were food sovereign. But these days the reverse circle has happened in food supply. The Loba buy various kind food including drinks (rice, wheat flour, sugar, salt, noodles) from Tibet and the government of China donate food to them. This situation was unthinkable about 40 years ago. People would not be able to think about salt coming from south and grain coming from North, Tibet. In this paper I will focus on varieties of crops and livestock produced. Furthermore, I present basic features of agriculture, water availability, irrigation management, productivity of crops, labor management, migration, landownership, land abandonment, sakaluka, ritual for beginning of cultivation among the Lobas of Lo-manthang.