Ibibio - Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Like their Igbo neighbors, the Ibibio are primarily rain-forest cultivators of yams, taro, and cassava. They engage in subsistence agriculture. Other food crops include plantains, chilies, maize, beans, and pumpkins. Most of Ibibio wealth comes from the export of palm-oil products, distributive trading among themselves, and town wage labor.

Industrial Arts. The Ibibio, especially the Anang, are well known for their skill in wood carving and are considered masters of an adroit professional technique. Weaving is generally done by youths of both sexes, whereas women are responsible for mat making.

Trade. The Efik engage in trading fish and palm oil in considerable amounts.

Division of Labor. As with the Igbo, yams are traditionally considered to be the chief crop of men, and cocoyams the chief crop of women. Men do most of the clearing, planting, and harvesting of the yams. Women weed, plant, and tend other crops. They also collect the harvested yams into baskets and carry them to the market.

In collecting the produce from palm trees, men generally do the climbing, and the women collect and carry the fruit to the market. The extracting and processing of palm oil is usually done by women, who retain the palm kernels. Also, raffia palms may be tended by men, but are usually owned by women, and are used to make wine, mats, and poles.

Land Tenure. With a strong emphasis on the patrilineage, the male members form the dominant nucleus of the hamlet and have collective rights to its land. The lineage head allocates the land for farming among its members on a yearly basis (see also "Social Control").

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