On Which Crop Did the Early Bantu Greatly Rely

On Which Crop Did the Early Bantu Greatly Rely.

Section 1
Community and food system contour

1. GEOGRAPHIC CONTEXT

Gribe village is located in the Yokadouma district of Boumba-Ngoko department in the East region of Cameroon, 75 km southwest of the city of Yokadouma. Aside from the existing administrative boundaries, Gribe together with twenty neighbouring villages constitutes the Konabembe county that was formed before or during the German language colonial catamenia. The village is immediately surrounded by a mix of evergreen and semi-deciduous forest with a awning stratum culminating twoscore g to 50 thousand above basis (Tajeukem
et al.,
2014). The topography is characterized by scattered gently rolling hills isolated from each other by a dense hydrographic network.

The climate of the East region is classified as tropical monsoon by the Köppen climate classification. The mean daily temperature is stable at around 24 °C throughout the year and mean annual rainfall is approximately ane 600 mm. The rainfall regime is primarily governed by the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and is divided into four seasons in a year (Effigy 1.ii).

The East region of Republic of cameroon has the largest surface area (109 000 km2) of all districts in the country, but the population has always been ane of the smallest. Infrastructure, comprising transportation, electricity, telecommunications and h2o supply, is hardly advanced. Investments were made in infrastructures that back up extractive activities such every bit timber logging and mining.

2. LOCAL DEMOGRAPHICS AND SOCIAL Arrangement

Effectually 20 ethnic groups are found in the East region of Republic of cameroon, among which the majority speak Bantu languages. The Baka, who speak an Ubanguian linguistic communication, are found throughout the southern part within a mosaic of 17 languages, which predominantly belong to the Niger-Congo phylum of Bantu languages.

A bang-up bulk of villages in the southern office of Due east region, where Gribe village is located, are constituted by (i) a dominant Bantu or Ubanguian speaking group; (ii) individuals originating from a diversity of other ethnic or language groups from Southward-eastern Cameroon who have matrimonial ties with a native of the region; and (3) Baka. In Gribe, the Konabembe – speakers of the Mpumpong linguistic communication – institute the dominant grouping with a population of around 300 residing in around 55 households. Approximately 25 residents speak other Bantu languages, including Kako, Mpiemo and Koonzime (Mpumpong). Additionally, about 10 households are merchants, who accept recently migrated from Yokadouma city or from outside the region or country. The Baka in Gribe accept a population of approximately 400 residing in 95 households.

The Baka and Bantu speakers have mutually bonded through social relations and material and immaterial exchanges. The Baka almost all speak or understand the Mpumpong spoken past the Konabembe, and a big part of not-Baka people sympathize Baka, whereas each group speaks their mother tongue. In Gribe and the surrounding area, Baka collectively call dissimilar groups of Bantu speakers as

bantu

or

kàkà
, and so do Bantu speakers. Nosotros accordingly refer to the Konabembe and other Bantu speakers as “Bantu” or “neighbours” (Toda, 2014). Nevertheless, some precautions should be stated here to avoid confusion: Starting time, the term Bantu basically refers to linguistic classifications and does non make sense without contextualization. “Pygmies groups” are commonly segregated from “Bantu” groups despite the fact that the majority of them speak a Bantu linguistic communication. 2nd, packaging the different groups into a single “Bantu” – or “farmers”, “villagers” or “non-Pygmies” – category tends to overshadow the bang-up diverseness of livelihoods that be amongst Bantu-speaking groups. Third, this homogenization misleadingly caricatures the binary opposition between the Baka and their neighbours, and tends to squander the diversified facets of their interrelationships (Rupp, 2003).

The Baka grade residential groups equanimous of 5 to 20 households tied through patrilineal kinship. The members of each residential group have close mutual relationships through daily processes of sourcing, consuming and sharing food, likewise equally through rituals. At the same time, virtually groups include households from unlike residential origins belonging to different patrilineal entities. Notably, many cases are plant where a spouse’due south parents and their relatives move in and share their livelihoods. The wide range of membership in resident groups expands the range of attainable resources.

1 of the major factors that has increased membership is matrilocal residence. Whereas the Baka follow virilocal residence in principle, matrilocal residence is usually followed until the husband completes payment of the bride wealth to his wife’due south parents or relatives. Through this custom, the relationship between dissimilar resident groups becomes more than intimate. The unit of measurement of exogamy is the clan

ye
, which is the largest boundary of the patrilineal descent group. Whilst the genealogical relationship between association members is seldom remembered, spouses are strictly selected from dissimilar clans (Tsuru, 1998). There is strong tendency to search for spouses in clans that live farther abroad: half of the spouses of the Baka males originating in Gribe have spouses from outside the village and some men who take married local women may come from areas situated upwardly to 200 km abroad. The broad distribution of patrilineal descent groups across the area has likely resulted from these processes of bridal ties over long distances.

In that location are approximately 20 residential groups in Gribe, amongst which this written report focused on i – the Dimgba. They established

gba

(semi-residential settlements) around the central area of the village that is resided by the Bantu (Effigy 1.1 left). Residential grouping members motion seasonally to the wood altogether or in smaller bundles of households, where they establish

bala

(forest camps). As the population size of the Dimgba group is big, they tend to class separated camps in the wood and members visit each other to share food and hash out various matters. Gender roles are relatively clear: in full general, women are in accuse of gathering, line-fishing, harvesting crops, weeding, procuring h2o and firewood, and cooking. Men are involved in hunting, dear gathering, clearing fields, and negotiating with the Bantu for exchange. In regards to decision-making on social issues and livelihood activities, there is no leader with specific potency. When facing problems or having to make joint decisions, concerned parties accept to engage in dull and long-lasting negotiations.


Figure ane.1.
Landscape of Gribe (elaborated by the authors, 2019)

image

Source:
World Resources Constitute, 2011, modified past Masaaki Hirai and the Baka of Dimgba, 2018.

The Baka believe in many kinds of

me

(woods spirits), which shape their religious system that is not built on a systematic precept. They segregate

me

from the God of Christians to which they were evangelized by foreign missionaries. Like humans, the spirits are said to live in camps in the wood, and occasionally visit Baka settlements to dance and sing with the people. On these occasions, the spirits are embodied in anthropomorphic masks. During ritual events with dancing and

be

(singing), men describe the visiting spirits through dances that are sustained by a chorus of women. The Baka have a rich repertoire of

lìkànɔ

(tales) in which they set spirits into stage. Information technology is mainly through dreams that the spirits communicate with the Baka and impart humans with knowledge most the wood and its resource.

3. LOCAL FOOD Product

Electric current livelihood and land classification

The livelihood means currently practised by the Baka in Gribe are hunting, gathering, fishing, shifting agriculture, material and labour exchanges with the Bantu, and extractivism through the harvesting for sale of Non-Timber Wood Products (NTFPs). Among the Baka, agriculture has increased over recent decades. The Bantu of Gribe depend mainly on agriculture, whereas they also earnestly practise hunting and gathering for subsistence, and cacao cultivation and trading NTFPs for cash income (Hirai, 2014).

image

Baka customs.
© Kyoto University/Masaki Hirai.

There are many restrictions on woods use connected with the zoning policy implemented by the Government in the 1990s and wildlife management by the protected areas. The zoning policy divided the forest that had been used and then far past local people into non-permanent woods and permanent wood. The one-time constitutes the agroforest zone, expanding approximately 3 km on both sides of the route that passes through the village. The latter includes concession areas for timber logging (logging zone) and protected areas. Farming is just authorised in the agroforest zone. Gathering and hunting for subsistence, and fishing are possible in the agroforest zone and logging zone. In the protected areas, hunting is totally banned, whereas NTFP collection is tolerated under the condition that information technology is specified in the protected area direction plan (Tegomo Njounan, Defo and Usongo, 2013). Farther regulations are imposed for hunting in terms of target species, captive numbers and methods.

Hunting and trapping

All Baka in Gribe are involved in hunting (Yasuoka
et al.,
2015). Hunting activities are roughly categorised into three types:

maka
,

mumbato

and

sendo
. The term

maka

refers to large-scale expeditions to track large animals such as ruby-red river hog and elephant (Table one.1). These expeditions are carried out in groups of most 5 to 10 men who journey effectually the forest for more than a week. The

mumbato

type of hunting involves a group of two to three men for nigh one week. Oftentimes, these groups are based in wood camps from where they become to trap animals and collect NTFPs. The

sendo

blazon is day hunting, which is a shorter outing from a semi-residential settlement or a forest camp. In addition, the Baka utilise a special trap called

mɛ̀ndàmbà

to capture mice and rats and slingshots to shoot small birds around the farming camp. Whilst men are the primary actors capturing animals, women are also involved in hunting by checking traps set by men and guarding men’s absent camps.


TABLE i.1.
Listing of wildlife and major captured species used equally food

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More than 50 mammal species inhabit the forest around Gribe (Table ane.ane). Amongst these species, the almost captured are the blueish duiker, reddish duikers and castor-tailed porcupine. The Bantu besides consul the Baka to chase for their consumption. Some primate species are captured when the Bantu give the Baka a shotgun. Bushmeat to exchange with Bantu or merchants is usually smoked for storage. About one-half of the captured animals are traded and the other half are used for self-consumption.

Wild edibles

A variety of plants, mushrooms and other wild edibles are collected by the Baka for subsistence and household economy. Table 1.ii shows the major wild edibles nerveless by food grouping, with specification of their scientific and Baka names. 8 species of wild yams (Dioscorea
spp.) are notably important for subsistence. Out of the viii, ii species of yam renew their tubers annually and are spread in large patches inside the wood area. During the major dry out flavour, the Baka undertake long-term harvesting expeditions for these two species to ensure their food security. By dissimilarity, all the other yams species have perennial tubers and are more randomly distributed throughout the wood (Yasuoka, 2013). Most 30 species of wild fruits are collected and consumed as oil, oily condiments, seasonings and snacks. Amongst them, kernels of

kanà

(Panda oleosa), seeds of

màɓè

(Baillonella toxisperma), and kernels of several species of Irvingiaceae trees are most frequently used. In addition, kernels of

pɛ́kɛ

(Irvingia gabonensis) are of particular importance for local diets and cash income. This species is available only in the small-scale dry flavour, at which fourth dimension most Baka move to the forest and campsite for ii to 3 months to collect the kernels together with other woods resources. This seasonal camp is accordingly called

bàlà pɛ́kɛ

(Irvingia
army camp). Other major wild edibles collected primarily for income are fruits of
Aframomum
spp.,

ngìmbà

(Afrostyrax lepidophyllus), and

gɔbɔ

(Ricinodendron heudelotii, njangsang), which are usually sold as seasonings. Equally vegetables, the leaves of five species are nerveless, amongst which

kɔ̀kɔ

(Gnetum africanum) is the most oftentimes consumed and easy to get together. Mushrooms are highly valued and the Baka take a wealth of knowledge regarding their diversity, edibility and ecologies. They eat around 20 species with different seasons of occurrence. The largest forest mushrooms are the
Termitomyces
species that abound on mounds of
Macrotermes
termites. Monospecific forest patches of

bèmba

(Gilbertiodendron dewevrei) are known for their incredible multifariousness of symbiotic mushrooms.


TABLE 1.ii.
Listing of wild edibles and their seasonal availability
D: major dry season; r: minor rainy flavour; d: small dry flavor; R: major rainy flavor

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Invertebrates are also important components in Baka diets. The almost popular are caterpillars, which are highly seasonal. Each species receives the proper name of the host tree on which they feed exclusively.

Sùsu

(winged termite imagos), which emerge from the ground, mounds or aeriform nests around the terminate of the minor dry flavor, are highly favoured. As emergence fourth dimension approaches, children and adults detect termite mounds and nests almost every day. Imagos of

mbìle

species emerging from the ground are captured and immediately eaten by children. For

bàndi

termites, developed men will dig out soldiers from the mounds and melt them every bit a soup ingredient. Weevil larvae are extracted from the trunk of Raffia palms (Raphia
spp.) that they parasitize in swampy forests. Big
Achatina
snails are coveted by children and women and are like shooting fish in a barrel to catch. Sting bees (Apidae) and stingless bees (a dozen species of Melliponinae) produce a variety of honey made from different flowers throughout the year. Honey gathering is one of the most culturally important activities among the Baka and embeds a set of knowledge, expertise and physical skill: bee nests are oftentimes establish in hollow tall trees, sometimes very high higher up the basis. Finding bees from the ground requires the ability to perceive the slight appearance, sound and detail atmosphere of bees.

Lìɓɛnjì

(insect detritus) discharged by the bee workers and accumulated at the base of the tree are indirect clues for localizing a nest.
Apis
nests crave the gatherer to climb the tree, while cutting it downwards is necessary to access stingless bee nests.

Fishing

Amid a vast range of fishing methods reported from the Due east region, the Baka virtually frequently practise

ngúma

(dam fishing), hand-gathering,

njɛ́ɛ̀njɛ̀

(angling) and

mátìndì

(trapping). As the Baka of Gribe more oft fish in pocket-sized rivers, dam line-fishing is 1 of their favourites, during which they bank upward fallen copse and soil vertically with the flow of the river. Two weirs are made at intervals of most x metres. Subsequently h2o accumulates, it is raked out with big leaves of specific Marantaceae species. Equally the water decreases, fish – specially carp (Cyprinidae) and catfish (Siluridae) – shrimps, venereal and tadpoles can be caught by manus. Dam fishing is regarded equally women’s work, and they ordinarily exercise information technology collectively since it requires heavy work and collaboration. This practice is limited to the major and minor dry season when the water level decreases. Paw-gathering is also a woman’s job. Women introduce a paw into a hole in the soft soil of the riverbank and catch small catfish and

mbɔ̀sɛ̀

(Gnathonemus
sp., Mormyridae, elephant fish) subconscious there. Line-fishing is practised past men. Finally, night trapping is a manner to catch a relatively big catfish, which is done by an adult male. Fish defenseless are predominantly destined to domestic consumption.

Crops

All Baka in Gribe are involved in shifting cultivation with a medium-term fallowing period of more than 10 years, mixed cropping and low labour input. The clearing scale is small-scale, about 0.ane ha per household per twelvemonth. Main food crops are plantain, assistant, cassava, cocoyam, sweet white potato, maize, yam, taro, okra and chili pepper. Peanuts and cowpeas are grown more occasionally, when seeds are available. Cocoa, the sole greenbacks crop, is sometimes produced in small-scale plantations, accounting for only about 5 per centum of the full cultivated expanse. A limited amount of plantain is occasionally sold on request. Apart from the fields, plantain, banana, cocoyam and papaya are besides planted around the farming military camp. Food crops are integrally destined to domestic consumption, yet some plantain bunches produced in excess might punctually be sold. The Baka also cultivate tobacco, simply production rarely meets their own heavy consumption.

image

Cropping field with a high agrobiodiversity.
© Kyoto Academy/Masaki Hirai

Thirty-three crops were recorded in total (Table one.iii). Of these, plantain, banana, cassava, cocoyam and okra are cultivated by almost all the households. Peanut is very popular every bit an oily additive nevertheless few households can procure seeds. Simply a few fruit trees are planted around the settlement, whilst others, such equally papaya, occur spontaneously. Crops with multiple varieties are plantain (28), assistant (five), cassava (xviii), cocoyam (three), peanut (4) and maize (two).


TABLE 1.3.
Listing of cultivated foods: crops, planted copse and other cultivated foods

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With 28 and 18 varieties, respectively, plantain and cassava count notably more varieties than other crops. V varieties of plantain and three of cassava predominate. All of these varieties are recognized every bit local and ancient. All varieties are kept stable for several reasons. The commencement reason is Baka’south perspective that “there is no need to abandon the varieties left by parents.” They practice not intend to exclude existing varieties. The second reason is related to the cropping system. For establishing new plots, suckers of plantain and sticks of cassava are procured from existing plots. As a result, a similar variety composition is inherited in the new plots. The 3rd reason is that the Baka look for particular characteristics of each variety. The originality of each variety stimulates the Baka, which brings joy in their cultivation. The fourth reason is that consumption of plantain and cassava should be shared among the whole community and that cultivars should circulate beyond the boundaries of individual buying. Similarly to wild resource, sharing is also put forward as a principle for maintaining homogenous and collectively owned diversity in cultivars. Accordingly, taking crops from a field belonging to someone else is not assimilated to stealing, and only a few persons condemn it. The Baka assume that all of them as cultivate all the varieties, even though that is unlikely to exist true.

4. OTHER Country-BASED PRODUCTIVE ACTIVITIES

The Baka are renowned for using an extensive range of nearly 500 wild or ruderal plant species for material and spiritual purposes, and which in many means back up the food system. This section evokes just the most commonly used ones.

Some plants and soil provide basic materials for house and hut building. For the

móngulu

(dome-shaped hut) that the Baka build for woods camping,

lìngɔ̀mbɛ

(Hypselodelphys zenkeriana
(K.Schum.) Milne-Redh., vines of Marantaceae) are frequently used as a frame. The roof and walls are made from leaves of three species of Marantaceae. For houses built in the farming camp, hard copse growing in the environs are used equally pillars and leaves of Raffia palm serve for covering, whilst

lìngɔ̀mbɛ

and soil provide wall material. Furniture used by the Baka includes beds, chairs, mats and shelves for drying products and placing food vessels. Beds are mainly made of the petioles of Raffia palm. Specific tree bark is used for bed sheets. Chairs are made of difficult and thin shade-tolerant copse. Mats are knitted with the epidermis of the stem of

mbili

(Marantochloa congensis
(K.Schum.) J.Léonard & Mullend., Marantaceae) and of

ngòngò

(Megaphrynium macrostachyum
(Thou.Schum.) Milne-Redh., Marantaceae).

As cooking utensils, mortars and pestles are made from hard wood such as

bòyo

(Entandrophragma cylindricum
(Sprague) Sprague, Meliaceae, sapelli). The buttress roots of

ngɔlu

(Terminalia superba
Engl. & Diels, Combretaceae) are used to make mortars to grind basics and other solids. To grind, the spherical and hard fruit of

bùkú

(Strychnos aculeata
Soler., Loganiaceae) is used as a pestle. Leaves of several Marantaceae plants are oftentimes used as containers for carrying honey and as cooking sheets (Hattori, 2006). Rough leaves of

sòmbɛm

(Grewia
sp. L., Malvaceae) serve for washing food vessels. Carriers are made from the hard bark of vines of

kpongo

(Eremospatha haullevilleana
Isle of man & H.Wendl., Arecaceae),

kàò

(Laccosperma secundiflorum
(P.Beauv.) Kuntze, Arecaceae) and

kiyɔ

(Cleistopholis patens
(Benth.) Engl. & Diels, Annonaceae). In detail, several types of baskets and frame packs are woven to carry bushmeat and plants gathered by women. Vines such as

kusa

(Manniophyton fulvum
Müll. Arg., Euphorbiaceae),

kpongo

(Eremospatha haullevilleana
Mann & H.Wendl., Arecaceae), and

púlu

(Adenia tricostata
Wilde., Passifloraceae) are used as rope.

Various plants are sources of cosmetics and accessories.

Lɛ̀sà

(Bixa orellana
L., Bixaceae),

ligɔ̀mbɛ

(Ficus
sp. L., Moraceae),

mboloa

(Diospyros canaliculata
De Wild., Ebenaceae),

nalé

(unknown),

ɓɔ̀njìngà

(unknown) and

ngɛlɛ

(Pterocarpus soyauxii
Hooker, Fabaceae) are applied every bit ruddy or blackness make-up. Leaves of

musébé

(Pleiocarpa bicarpellata
Stapf., Apocynaceae) are put on the waist as an accompaniment. Cognition regarding daily use of medicinal plants is broadly shared amongst many people. Withal, remedies for specific diseases, peculiarly those related to witchcraft or originating from spiritual forces, are exclusively carried out by expert healers. Their expertise of these renowned

ngàngà

is voiced far beyond the village surroundings: they regularly receive visits from urban patients, or perhaps travel to the state caput city of Yaoundé to cure rich urban citizens or politicians.

v. Exchange AND TRADE

The Baka source some of their food through exchanges with their neighbours, or in local shops and a weekly market that was created in 2017. The shops are endemic by a few local Bantu households, and mostly by merchants coming from the nearest Yokadouma metropolis or farther abroad. Most of the food establish in local shops is processed, whilst stalls in the weekly market mainly provide food from the forest and fields. Nearly frequently purchased foods are rice, spaghetti, cassava flour, maize, sardines in cans, dry fish, frozen fish, salt, chemical seasonings, refined oil, peanuts, alcoholic drinks, juice, sugar and candy. Purchasing frequency is high only for seasonings and alcoholic drinks. Salt and stock cubes are a regular characteristic of the diet. Whiskey in a sachet, at a price of XAF 100 per sachet,
1

is purchased almost every solar day. Nevertheless, the quantity of food bought in shops remains much lower than what they produce in their swiddens or assemble in the forest. The Baka commutation their forest products and labour with the Bantu throughout the year for nutrient, daily commodities and cash (Table 1.4) (Kitanishi, 2006). The almost common case of barter betwixt the Baka and the Bantu is kernels of

pɛ́kɛ

(Irvingia gabonensis) in commutation for cassava flour. Payment from the Bantu for the kernels is equivalent to XAF 500
2

per 1.5 kg of dried kernel. In add-on to food and labour exchanges, the Baka craft furniture and carriers and exchange them upon request with food or other items. Nutrient sharing is common and is a natural norm amongst the Baka. If a certain household obtained food that cannot be eaten all at once, they do not shop information technology and instead share it with others for firsthand consumption.


TABLE 1.4.
Goods, identify, rate and period of exchange between Baka and Bantu

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6. LOCAL Calendar

The Baka in Gribe classify a year into four seasons based on diverse changes in the environment and the occurrence of phenological events determining the availability of key resource and the related tasks and partition of labour (Figure 1.2). Socio-economic circumstances occurring at the hamlet similar exchange opportunities or wage labour for the neighbours are also driving forces influencing the local agenda of activities.


Figure 1.ii.
Average annual rainfall (mm) and temperature (°C) in S-eastern Republic of cameroon, and seasonal activities by the Baka of Gribe village (elaborated by Yanto Wahyantono, IRD, 2020)

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The onset of the major dry season is recognized past reduction of rainfall, hardening of the soil, falling of leaves of semi-deciduous species equally well as the advent of

mòsɛlɛ̀

or

mòsɛlɛ̀lɛ̀

(a specific mushroom),

njùmbu

(bird), and butterflies. I of the about of import activities is country clearance for cropping. At the beginning of the season, people showtime cutting copse to make plots and drying them to burn. Food resources are scarcer at this time of year, and hard ground makes information technology more difficult to set upwards traps, thus lowering bushmeat catches. However, the availability of almanac wild yams such every bit

sapà

(Dioscorea praehensilis) and

ʔèsùmà

(Dioscorea semperflorens) is highest and dam line-fishing becomes easier to implement due to lower water levels in the rivers. During

mòlɔ̀ngɔ̀

(past long-term expedition), which were regularly conducted until the 1980s, the Baka depended greatly on almanac wild yams and fish. Nowadays, fishing camps practice not last longer than i month during this period. Afterwards, incomes increase from wage labour with the Bantu who hire Baka for land clearance.

The onset of the modest rainy season is marked by a gradual increase in rainfall and leaf flushing. In agronomics, this flavour corresponds to the fourth dimension of planting suckers of plantain, banana, cocoyam, sweet tater, domesticated yams and sticks of cassava. They likewise seed egusi melon, maize, okra and peanut. Taking reward of the low water levels in rivers, the Baka establish medium-term woods camps for fishing. Trapping and gathering
Aframomum
spp. with high cash value are also conducted at this time. During this season, which is marked by synchronic tree blooming, dearest is besides more abundant.

The small dry season is the period of mast flowering and fruiting of specific trees such equally African padauk

ngɛlɛ

(Pterocarpus soyauxii
Hooker, Fabaceae) and

bɔ̀sɔ

(Petersianthus macrocarpus
P.Beauv. Liben, Lecythidaceae). Opposite to the major dry season, food becomes abundant. Despite the demand to perform agronomical tasks, including weeding, re-dissemination, transplantation and harvesting groundnuts, most Baka adopt to move to the forest and dedicate this season to hunting, fishing and gathering of wild edibles. The kernels of

pɛ́kɛ

(Irvingia gabonensis) are the major targets of their gathering efforts.

A

lùngu

(strong wind), heavy rainfall, flooding and the occurrence of many tree seedlings, too as rotten fruits, being washed abroad from the forest floor by the pelting and river water are signs of the onset of the major rainy season. After October, women engage in weeding, transplanting plantain shoots and reseeding egusi melon. Time for harvesting cacao beans comes to those who take mature cacao plantations. Villagers rebuild their houses and consolidate lateritic walls that are softened by repeated pelting. Baka trappers become very active at present that wild animals is constantly moving in the forest understory.
Aframomum
spp. are withal plentiful and some collectors extend their stay in the woods camp to collect
Irvingia
kernels, at the expense of the maintenance of their swiddens. Those who have decided to stay in the village get-go exploring the agroforest zone to collect
Ricinodendron
fruits and barter them with the Bantu.

7. Customs HISTORY

Gribe was founded in the 1890s when the vi major clans of Konabembe moved to the area from unlike parts of the Eastward region of Cameroon. Virtually half of the Baka of Gribe aged 50 and in a higher place state that their ancestors already lived in the expanse of Gribe earlier its foundation, whilst ancestors of the other half moved to Gribe from Messok – located about 150 km west of Gribe – and Mikel – located 35 km east – during the 1930s and 1940s. Later, many Baka were living along the Kwokwo River (Effigy i.1 right).

In 1954, an elementary school and church were constructed in Gribe, probably under the incentive of the French colonial Government (Kitanishi, 2003). Following the independency of Cameroon in 1960, timber logging suddenly expanded. In 1978, the national road connected Yaoundé and Yokadouma, alluring a flow of wage labourers from the western part of the Boumba-Ngoko department, including some villages around Gribe, to the eastern part of the department for logging. In the early 1980s, merchants from Yokadouma city started to visit Gribe by human foot in search of cacao beans, ivory and seeds of

nèà

(Strophanthus gratus
(Wall. & Claw.) Baill., Apocynaceae), which produce strophantin, an alkaloid with cardiotonic properties that has been coveted by chemistry. In times of molecular synthesis by the chemical industry, the marketplace for
Strophantus
seeds has at present vanished, simply the Baka persist in harvesting them as a key ingredient of poison for

mbànɔ

(crossbow arrows). Regular merchants started retailing daily commodities, including salt, sugar and lather. Effectually 1985, the Baka of Dimgba and their ancestors engaged in minor farming. At the aforementioned time, the practice of long-term foraging began to drop.

From 1997 to 2001, 3 timber logging companies started full-scale activities around Gribe. The road from Yokadouma city to Gribe was opened in 1997 to support these activities. In 1998, a ferry was installed to cross the Boumba River half-manner betwixt Yokadouma and Gribe. In 2001, the road was further extended beyond Gribe and ultimately reconnected with the road of the neighbouring Haut-Nyong department. These communication improvements abruptly eased the admission to the commune, increasing the catamenia of all sorts of outsiders, such as logging visitor workers, itinerant merchants and speculators. At the aforementioned time, the Baka started establishing semi-residential settlements in the about vicinity of Gribe.

In the late 1990s, the Authorities put the zoning policy into outcome for all lands in the East region. In 2005, Boumba-Bek National Park was founded 16 km southwest from Gribe. A hunting zone, for licenced hunting, and a community-based direction hunting zone, for licenced hunting managed past the semi-public organizations chosen “Comités de Valorisation des Ressources Fauniques” (COVAREF), have additionally defined the range betwixt the agroforest zone and logging zone.

image

Merchant visiting Gribe village.
© Kyoto University/Masaki Hirai


  • 1

    Equivalent to USD 0.18. Applying the Un Operational Charge per unit of Exchange of 1 August 2018 (i USD = 560.455 XAF). This rate volition use throughout the entire chapter.

  • 2

    Equivalent to USD 0.9.

On Which Crop Did the Early Bantu Greatly Rely

Source: https://www.fao.org/3/cb5131en/online/src/html/sec1_1.html