Economy

Sources of income

This community’s  main source of income is from the sale of  farm products/agriculture. These people are both food foragers and horticulturalists and the culture type (technology) used to exploit the land is less complex. Like in any small society, they use tools like machetes, holes, knives and axes to exploit their land. Farming here is less mechanised and they don’t need to employ people to work on their land as they do it themselves that is; family members and relatives. This community is mostly subsistence oriented and when the sale of farm products arises when there is surplus. In cases of excess surplus, some are kept for some special feasts or ceremonies like during the rite of purification.

Agriculture is greatly carried out in this area as most of the peasant population depends mainly on farm products to raise enough income by selling them. The main type of agriculture practiced in this area is sustenance farming were most farmers are largely concerned with the raising of crops such as plantains, cocoyam, yams, and manioc.

Sustenance farmers first clear small patches of forest. They remove trees with traditional tools such as axes or machetes during the dry season and burn the resulting brush. Farmers take care to protect trees bearing edible fruit, such as mangoes, plums, and pears, though fires sometimes grow out of control and prevent this. Farmers then plant seeds after the first rains: spices and vegetables closer to the house, plantains and tubers in larger plots farther into the bush. Villagers traditionally group their farms together as protection against animals and harvest their crops at the beginning of the dry season.  Plantation agriculture is also carried out in the area due to its hot, humid climate and is considered as most important. Cocoa and coffee are also cultivated on a large scale by the Mvele especially in Akonolinga.

So, we can say that all the activities listed above are carried out by the Mvele and it is consider as their main source of income. They carried out those activities in order to feed themselves but in times of excesses, they have to sell the surplus in order to generate their income. There is a special day called market day where villagers meet in order to sell what they have. Some other people generate their income from the sale of land. A person can own a piece of land either through inheritance or through other measures like sharing fror example; in some families the father can decide one day to share his land among his children and each of them would end up owning a portion of  land. It would be a source of income when they will decide to sell the land. So, in this community many people sell their land which is a big source of income to them

Pottery is also being carried out by women of the community. They make it from clay since there is excess clay in the area. When they make these potteries, they later sell it on their market day and this is considered as a big source of revenue to them.

Trade;

As far as trade is concerned in this community, there is a special day commonly known as the market day where people meet in order to sell their goods. Concerning food they cultivate in the area, they use to sell some of it when there is surplus. They are obliged to sell in case of any surplus in order to earn an income. Potteries made by women are further sold in the nearby towns and villages like Yaoundé, Obala and Mbalmayo.

  Leveling Mechanisms;

Leveling mechanism is not so much maintained in this community as they are people who are extremely rich and others who are extremely poor but they try to maintain an economic balace in one way or the other.  To maintain an economic balance in this society, people (especially the poor) worked for the rich and the rich paid them in return for their work done. Sometimes, leaders and some rich men of the community used to make gifts to the poor and it was a way for them to achieve economic balance.

Use of redistribution

Redistribution is done in this community using taxation where those who own more farmlands and plantations are taxed more than those who own less. A person in the village is appointed to collect the taxes. Those who own big coffee and cocoa plantations and large farmlands are taxed more. These people carried out mechanised farming and turn up to have more income than the others. When there are certain projects to be carried out in the village, the rich tend to contribute more than the poor. The rich always contribute more than the poor in such cases and sometimes, the poor don’t even contribute.

Division of labour

As far as the pattern of labor is concerned, we can say that these people practices sexual gender division of labor, dual gender division of labor and communal cooperative pattern of labor. The Mvele men are mainly food foragers (hunters), while the women are those charged with farming ( women and soil are tied together in this community); men only do agricultural tasks requiring power, like burning new forest patches and plowing and clearing them for new plots. This task can be realized quite often, as the fields are not fertilized. The women farms the fields of the husband (by having more wives, the men has more work power), and beside this, they gather wild fruits and fish in the rivers. Women also take care of and educate the children, fix the huts, make ceramics, raffia fabrics and fishing nets. Women are also the one cultivating maize and groundnuts. Pottery is done by women of the community as well as a fishing system known as alog. This fishing system was used by women to fish especially in the dry season while men set traps. The women work the land using hoes, cutlasses, axes and knives. They sow, weed out and harvest. Once the woman has covered the needs of the family, she can use the fruits of her work with some degree of freedom.

Concerning dual gender division of labor, men and women carried out fishing. Men fish using traps and large nets while women fish using rods and hooks. In streams, men use bag nets, manipulated by long sticks, for fishing. The Mvele people also use traps for hunting all kind of animals, from birds to elephants. Before the introduction of the fire arms, the Mvele hunted using crossbows, machetes, spears, arrows with iron tips, from forest buffalo to antelopes, chimps, gorillas and elephants. One of the most appreciated dishes by the Mvele are the Goliath frogs (Conraua goliath), world’s largest living frogs (30 cm or one foot in body length, weighing 3 kg or 7 pounds).

Communal/ cooperative pattern is widely used in this community. All what they do, they do it together that is all the community is involved. They live and do theirs things in community like farming and fishing. In farming, the whole family that is the mother, the father and the children in fact the household at large and in some cases family relatives are involved in working on farmlands.

 

Craft specialization

Due to the availability of clay in this area, some women are thought on how to make pottery from the clay. These women carry this activity alongside others but pottery being their main activity. Also, some individuals in the community are trained to acquire specific skills on hunting and fishing. These people are expertise in fishing and hunting later on and thus, increase productivity. People in this community specialize on certain tasks because they want to increase productivity and increase productivity means increase sales and thus, more revenue when they sell it.

Control of land and technology

Fertile land in this community is owned by the chief and other people own land through inheritance which in some cases is patrilineal. Land is a very important issue in this community as some people sometimes sacrifice their life just for a piece of land. People sometimes get land through sharing. Family’s heads sometimes decides to share their land equally among their children and each children end up sharing a portion of land.

The culture type (technology) used to exploit the land in this community nowadays is not the same as that of the ancestors. It has evolved a little bit and the methods adapted by the community nowadays yield more. They all used the same method of farming and use traditional tools like machetes, axes, hoes and knives in farming.

Role of Education

Education first role in this tribe is to permit the adaption of the population inside the society. It informs the population mainly children about the rules of the tribe. In fact, people will learn about sanctions, positive and negative ones, they will also learn about the means of survival, that is, how to work in the farm, how to hunt, how to fish, how to fight and so on. Education also sets some guides inside the society. Most important, education also permits the maintenance of the rituals of the tribe therefore continue to

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