Alorese - Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Over 80 percent of the residents of Alor Regency are agriculturalists, 6.38 percent are government workers, 3.84 percent are fishermen, and the remaining 2.5 percent are contractors, traders, or merchants. Farmers plant and harvest maize by hand in swidden fields. Alorese also grow some rice, beans, millet, and cassava. Domestic animals include pigs, goats, and chickens.

Industrial Arts. Industrial arts are relatively undeveloped on Alor. Wood carving, basketry, pottery, and ikat weaving (tying of warp threads in bundles for dyeing before putting them on a loom) are found on the island. These products do not appear to be particularly refined. There is also some metallurgy done on the eastern end of the island.

Trade. Bronze drums of Javanese origin ( mokos ), gongs, and pigs play key roles in the Alorese economy. Although today a cash economy also exists, these goods remain closely tied to Alorese concepts of wealth and prestige. Particularly in villages, relationships continue to involve the ritualized exchange of these objects. Even Alorese men residing in the main town of Kalabahi speak of a man's wealth as being tied to the number of mokos he possesses. There are numerous stores in Kalabahi. There are also peddlers and several markets on the island, where goods are either bartered or purchased with cash.

Division of Labor. Women and children work in the fields and prepare the family's food. Men tend to the livestock and control and manipulate finances.

Land Tenure. Fields are individually owned. They are given to children (especially females) between the ages of ten and thirteen, although their produce is consumed by the entire family until adulthood. Boys may inherit land from their fathers.

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