Ternatan/Tidorese - Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Ternatan and Tidorese, when not in a town, live mainly on subsistence agriculture supplemented with some fishing. Only a few people are professional fishermen. Formerly the principal food was sago, which grows on Ternate and Tidore only in negligible quantities and had to be supplied mainly from Halmahera, Morotai, Bacan, and Sula. There was and there is yet some dry-rice cultivation on Ternate and Tidore, but not so much that rice could at any time serve as the principal food of the population. Sago has now been replaced as the principal food by cassava and maize, which are cultivated on Ternate and Tidore. The cassava is prepared and eaten in the same manner as sago (i.e., as popéda: by pouring boiling water on the flour one gets a kind of paste that is eaten by preference with a fish sauce). Bananas, taro ( Colocasia antiquorum ), and batatas ( lpomaea batatas ) are also an important part of the daily diet. If possible the meal is completed with a bit of dried and salted, smoke-dried, or fresh fish. Vegetables are seldom eaten and meat even less. Besides their work in the gardens and their fishery, the villagers also keep a few hens, ducks, goats, and so on. In the town the people live mainly as employees of the government and of Chinese employers, or as retailers at the marketplace.

Industrial Arts. Almost no artisans are to be found in the villages of Ternate. On Tidore there is a traditional division of labor between the villages: for example, the village of Gurabati is known for its makers of atap (traditional roofing) and the village of Toloa for its blacksmiths and boat builders, whereas artisans on the little island of Mare near Tidore specialize in commercial pottery.

Trade. The stores of Ternate City and Soa Siu, like businesses in general, are almost without exception in the hands of Chinese and a few Arabs. Ternatan and Tidorese play only a small role in the trade in fruits, vegetables, and fish in and around the market: the surplus of agricultural products and fish are supplied from the villages to the town market directly or by wholesalers.

Division of Labor. The men do the incidental hard labor in the gardens, such as felling trees. They do some fishing and they see to building and maintaining the house. The women do the daily work in the gardens and the cooking, take care of the children, and try to make some money for the daily budget by selling garden produce and fish.

Land Tenure. In the villages there is still enough land available for nearly every family. People who no longer have enough land to make the necessary gardens can move to Halmahera, to make clearings there in sparsely populated areas.

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