Cultivation in Kanga Village, 1965-2010
People in the north of Mafia grow rice on both dry and wet land, as well as cassava. After the harvest, they grow a second crop of sweet potatoes on ridges made on the wet rice land. All of this food is for local consumption. In addition, they cultivate coconuts and a few cashew-nuts as cash crops. These are exported to Dar es Salaam. There has been relatively little change in techniques over the years, although when coconut prices are high men tend to focus more on coconut cultivation, leaving the women to manage the cultivation of the subsistence crops. For the last few years, coconut prices have been low and people have struggled to get the cash they need to buy food and for other necessities.
Although men clear and fire the bush-land and build fences to keep out pests such as pigs, much of the remainder of the work of cultivation – planting, weeding, guarding the crop, harvesting - is done by women.