2001 年 1 巻 p. 68-80
The joint reseach project between JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Tanzania focused on an integrated agro-ecological study of the indigenous agriculture of the Matengo people in southwestern Tanzania, especially their Matengo pit (ngolo) system, a cross-ridge system with numerous pits on steep mountainous slopes. The study revealed the multiple functions of the ngolo system: erosion control, maintenance of soil fertility, weed control, provision of underground drainage system and so forth. The agro-ecological significance of the ngolo system could best be understood as the result of mutual interactions among ecology, society and culture in the Matengo history.
Through this joint study, Tanzanian and Japanese researchers acutely recognized the need for rural development based on the indigenous farming technology, knowlege, and wisdom. Thus efforts were mounted for the establishment in 1999 of the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development in SUA as a JICA project. This article discusses the role of international cooperative activities in African Area Studies through examining my experiences in the above projects.