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close this bookPrimary School Agriculture: Volume I: Pedagogy (GTZ, 1985, 144 p.)
close this folderPart III: Examples for practical use
close this folder3. Teacher’s documentation
View the document3.1 Notes on Land Tenure in Kake
View the document3.2 Yam growing in Banyang area
View the document3.3 Traditional rites associated with the planting of maize in Bali(by V. Kette)
View the document3.4 Some corn dishes in Bali

3.3 Traditional rites associated with the planting of maize in Bali(by V. Kette)

Land in Bali is inherited. If the head of a family has sold all his farmland, a son who wants to start farming would go to any other family head who has land to spare. If he is unable to obtain land from anybody he can go to the Fon. If there is land available, the Fon sends his messengers to measure out a plot for the applicant. The young man can now start preparing to plant his maize. In Bali, there are two planting seasons for maize in a year, one in March for early maize, and one in August or September for late maize.

There is really no ceremony at the start of planting in March. At the planting of late maize there is what is called "Keti Nikoh". At this ceremony, corn beer, and beer made from corn and groundnuts is taken to the country's sacrificing ground, - Gola - Gola, which is near a small stream in Bali. There, a goat or a cock is sacrificed. If the sacrifice is accepted, then it is known that all is well and that the harvest will be great. How is the sacrifice accepted? A magic spider comes out of the sky and sips the corn and groundnut drink. If this happens, the Fon is happy and announces that everybody should go to the farms because the harvest will be great. If the spider doesn't sip the drink, it is a sad affair. The Fon calls his closest advisers and soothsayers to find out where the country has erred. It is believed that a sacrifice is not accepted if an important ancestor, a god or a spirit feels offended. If the offence is found out, the Fon makes a sacrifice to the annoyed party. Then he can announce that farm work should start. According to tradition the men are in charge of clearing the farm. Maize is the main dish of the Bali people. This was not always so. In former times guinea corn was the main food. If you look into the Queen Mother's compound, you will still find a few guinea corn plants near the entrance.

The farms are always very large. They therefore cannot be cleared properly by one man on his own, so the men always formed mutual groups, clearing one member's farm in a day.

The women are in charge of hoeing, planting, weeding and harvesting. The women too used to do their work in mutual groups, but nowadays the system has changed. Women pay for their farms to be cleared, and the hoeing too is done by paid labour. When the grass has been cut, it is put in rows and covered with soil. Planting is done by putting three grains in each hole. No regular distances are observed. Weeding starts when the plant is about 30 cm high. After about three months the maize is ready, and the women themselves carry it home, with the help of their mutual groups.

Formerly the harvest used to be put into a small storage house called 'Ntab'. This Ntab was always in the farm. When all the maize had been put into the Ntab, the Pa of the compound (compound head) puts a traditional lock on the door two raffia sticks crossed. This house was never opened except when the compound head gave the order. If there was a lot of corn, some of it was taken to the market by the women. After selling it, they would buy oil, kerosene and crayfish, and bring the rest of the money to the compound head.

Now, under the new system, when these women harvest and sell their maize, they can do anything they like with their money. They may give some to their jobless husbands, if they like.