The ethnic diversity of Surname is largely an effect of the period of slavery and the immediate post-slavery period. A common feature of the regions in Africa, India and Indonesia where slaves and contract labourers came from is the variety of plants used for food and other purposes. Each of the ethinc groups brought specific knowledge and plants to Suriname. Much of this (agri-)cultural heritage was lost due to the short-sighted commercial interest of the colonial and post-colonial regimes. However, each of these communities maintain particular practices and cultivate a range of varieties.
As a result cultural values, agricultural knowledge and (agro-)biodiversity are larger than they seem. There are opportunities for MSc thesis students interested in:
- fieldwork among one or more selected communities in Suriname for an integrated social and agronomic farming systems analysis;
- a historical reconstruction of the social and agronomic features of the farming systems of social of one or more selected communities in Surinam.;
- a combination of 1. and 2.