Cham - Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities . Although agriculture figures prominently in the everyday life of the Cham, animal domestication, hunting, and fishing are also a part of their cycle of subsistence. Crops grown include rice (by means of wet and dry cultivation), cotton, maize, tobacco, castor-oil plants, manioc, peanuts, ferns, and vegetables. An alternative to wet cultivation (used for the growing of rice) is that of ray cultivation (the Cham variety of slash-and-burn agriculture). Mangrove and other trees are also cultivated for profit. Buffalo, goats, dogs, poultry, and ducks are domesticated. Eggs are also collected. Animals and their by-products are used for a variety of purposes (i.e., for food, sacrifice, and agricultural assistance). Hunting (with nets, beaters, dogs, and traps) and fishing (with nets) is also engaged in.

Industrial Arts. Basic tools used by the Cham include pots, bowls, chopsticks, looms, spinning wheels, mortars (for rice pounding), baskets, jars, ashtrays (for torches), trays, calabashes, baskets, jars, ladles and spoons (made of coconut shells), cooking spoons, combs, rope, and a small quantity of iron implements. Low wooden beds are also manufactured for domestic use. Bedding (of cotton, wood, and matting) also is used. Little furniture is made, and luxury industries are scant.

Trade. Leuba reported the existence of a trade relationship between the Cham and the Moi. The Moi trade spices, cereals, and poultry to the Cham in exchange for iron bells, dried fish, and silk garments. The Moi also work as hired laborers for the Cham.

Division of Labor. Men and women share labor-related responsibilities. However, Cham women play an important role in the subsistence cycle and in the management of family affairs. They are responsible for household chores, the socialization of children, textile manufacture (e.g., the carding, spinning, and weaving of cotton), vegetable cultivation, burden bearing, grain preparation (i.e., threshing, husking, and milling), and water drawing.

Land Tenure. Both individual and village ownership of land seems to occur in certain Cham villages.

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