Agriculture

Tea Picking (Harvesting)

Tea trees are kept small by tea growers and are evergreen throughout the seasons. In their natural state, they can grow to be up to 30ft tall. However, tea growers keep their tea tress to within 4-5ft in height. This ensures that the tea trunk remains thick and encourages more leaf and branch growth. Tea growers do so to get as much leaves as possible from their trees as the leaves are the sole product of tea trees. Keeping the tea trees short makes tea harvest easier to harvest. 

Traditional Old Tea Tree

Tea cultivation is one of the main rural livelihoods seen in Kyaukme Township, Northern Shan State. It can be seen in the many hills around the area. In Kyaukme Township, tea plants have been cultivated naturally for many years. Botanically speaking, tea belongs to the genus Camellia, species Thea and family Theaceae. Tea is a perennial crop. Most tea plants are not allowed to grow more than 3 feet high. This is because tea cultivators prefer to keep the plant low as it is difficult to pick tea leaves when the tree is tall.

Practice for High Quality

The first step in making steamed, pickled tea the traditional way is to evenly lay out the tea leaves on a reed or bamboo mat. Next, the tea is rolled out by hand. This is done by placing both hands side by side and gently pressing down on the tea leaves with the lower palm of both hands.The steady back and forth motion of the slowly rolls the tea leaves. More and more pressure is added as the tea leaves begin to roll and curl up. This process takes about 15 minutes. Locals may use tea rolling machines if they are available. 

Woman Led Self-Reliance Family

Woman Led Self-Reliance Family

I would like to share something with you about an ethnic Lahu family in Southern Shan State, Myanmar. This is a women-led family and they are relying on their own farm for their family foods and income generation. She is Daw Thida Aung with 52 years old and her husband is a religious leader. The family consists of four family members with her husband, a daughter and son.

Names of rice mainly grown in Rakhine under Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) from 1962-1988

Ma Mya Than, 58 years old, is a middle class Rakhine (Arakanese) lady who lives in Buthidaung, a town in northern Rakhine. She used to sell various varieties of rice. Rakhine, situated on the western coast of Myanmar, is rich with natural resources including fish, timber, oil and gas. According to her, although Rakhine exported many acres of rice under Burmese Socialist Programme Party for years, there were around five types of rice that farmers in Rakhine mainly grew.

Songhay Cowhide Patterns (2)

The terminology for cowhide patterns remedies this imprecision. One can say that it is a photographic – chromatic thumbnail – index to the expanded spectrum of combinations.  The best way to gauge its efficiency is to compare standard patterns. Our main informant, an experienced herdsman, estimates that he can recognize up to 120 patterns, but the full count may come close to 150. For the most part, these names are originally borrowed from Fulfulde, the language of the traditionally herding Fulbe (Fula).

Songhay Cowhide Patterns (1)

In Gao and vicinity, it is common to hear announcements of lost cattle on local radio. To be useful, the message must contain fairly precise descriptions. For example, let’s take a red cow – in Songhay, haw (cow), ciray (red). To be sure, the phrase haw ciray is correct, as it literally means “red cow”. Then, why does such a description amuse some villagers just a few kilometres away from town?

Cultivating Rice in Covid-19 Times

 COVID-19 is not the only challenge that common people across the world have been faced with. But there are places where this problem has been compounded due to other kinds of natural challenges felt locally. This has been particularly so in the state of Assam in India where annual flooding ravaged  lives and livelihood. The worst hit have been the ones settled in low lying flood prone zones across the state, making it simply impossible for many to engage in cultivation of the staple food crop, rice. 

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