Daribi - Economy



Subsistence and Commercial Activities. In traditional as in present times, most significant production and consumption is centered on the family, with its sexual division of labor. Subsistence is based on bush fallowing, or swidden hortiCulture, with sweet potatoes as the staple crop. Sago is grown to supplement this in low-lying regions, and other important crops include bananas, pandanus, maize, yams, dry taro, pitpit, sugarcane, and sweet manioc. Tobacco is grown for home consumption as well as trade, but its earlier importance as a cash crop has been supplanted by cardamoms, grown extensively for commercial export. Pigs are raised for purposes of exchange, nurtured by women when small and then permitted to forage for themselves in the bush. Some chickens are also kept, as well as cattle to a limited extent. Hunting and foraging remain substantial contributors to general subsistence; the favored quarry is wild pigs and marsupials, and bush-fowl eggs, sago grubs, and a wide variety of mushrooms are major forage items. Limited amounts of fish and crayfish are obtained by damming streams.

Industrial Arts. Dugout canoes, wooden bowls, body shields, and bows were produced from hewn wood, whereas fences, rafts, houses, cane bridges, and arrows were constructed from raw forest materials. Traditional industry also included the crafting of bamboo pipes and musical instruments from bamboo and the production of bark cloth.

Trade. Tobacco is grown, cured over the domestic fires of the longhouse, and twisted into large, spindle-shaped packets to be used as the principal trade item. It is traded for decorative bird plumage with peoples living in more heavily forested areas. Before contact tobacco and plumage were traded, Together with extracted pandanus oil, for salt, ax blades, and, later, pearl shells with South Chimbu peoples. Presently the feathers are exchanged for cash. Prior to extensive contact with Highland peoples, Daribi traded with the Polopa of the Erave River and the Wiru of Pangia.

Division of Labor. The basic division of labor is sexual and orientational: men work with vegetation above ground level, including the felling and cutting of trees, planting and tending tree crops, and construction of houses, fences, other external structures, and tools. Men also hunt, supervise animal husbandry, slaughter, butcher, and prepare meats. Women work with vegetation at or below ground level, clear brushwood, plant, weed, and harvest ground crops.

Land Tenure. Named tracts of land, bounded in most cases by watercourses or other natural features, are Traditionally held in common by members of a clan or exogamous Lineage group. Male members and their wives are permitted to use whatever land they wish within a tract for gardening, dwelling, or other productive purposes, provided only that it is not: being used by someone else. Plants or tree crops, however, regardless of where they may be located, belong exclusively to the person who has planted them.

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