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Chapter III-2:  How Dagbamba Sow Their Farms   <PDF file>

How Dagbamba farm yams; other crops: corn, sorghum, millet, beans; crop rotation and agricultural technology; farming rituals and sacrifices; uses of yams

Paragraph outline and links
Proverbs and sayings
Dagbani words and other search terms
 
Supplementary material

[images forthcoming]

Schedule of farming

October-December
        clear nyutam:  measure and clear yam field
        remove yam seeds from old field
        begin making ridges and mounds
        sow sesame

November-January
        prepare vuɣlaa:  make ridges and mounds
        prepare yam seeds

December-February (Harmattan season)
        plant yams

April-May (start of rains)
        clear batandali (last year’s yam field)
        sow corn

early May-June
        sow guinea corn and cow peas

May-July
        sow bambara beans and millet in the yam field

June-August (up to December)
        start to harvest yams, especially laabako and kpino

July-September
        harvest corn

November-December
        harvest bambara beans and millet

December-January
        harvest guinea corn and millet



Contents outline and links by paragraph  <top of page>

Farming yams

1.  farming is focused on yams; mixed with other crops
2.  clearing the land:  nyutam, vaɣli, zalli
3.  cook food after clearing the land; bury food on the farm
4.  making ridges for yam mounds; vuɣlaa, nakpaa
5.  preparing yam seeds
6.  season or time for planting and harvesting yams
7.  techniques of planting yams
8.  types of yams; their characteristics and differing yields
9.  farm different types because of different harvests; don’t mix types in a mound
10.  covering the mounds with nyubuɣri; protecting the mounds
11.  nyusari; stake the growing yams; weeding and caring for the yams

Farming other crops

12.  second crops, make farm in the batandali; getting people to help
13.  farming the batandali; making a corn farm
14.  adding guinea corn and beans or cowpeas
15.  sowing bambara beans and millet among the yam mounds
16.  farming corn in the guinea corn farm; types of corn; guinea corn only one year
17.  can farm a plot for three years usually; occasionally five or more; then fallow
18.  sow red beans (sanʒi) in the corn farm; early harvest
19.  when weeding yam farm, also sow sesame in a separate place

The work of yams

20.  typical Dagbamba use new yams for sacrifice to Jɛbuni house shrine
21.  gather people to harvest the yams
22.  the day of eating yams:  gather the family; pound new yams for fufu
23.  slaughter goats and fowls; share the food to neighbors
24.  the work of yams:  mashed yams
25.  the work of yams:  boiled yams with stew
26.  the work of yams:  roasted yams, fried yams
27.  the work of yams:  other ways to cook and eat yams

How women help with harvesting crops

28.  harvesting the other crops; women help with harvesting work
29.  harvesting corn; remove the kernels in the house compound
30.  harvesting guinea corn; also women; push down the stalks and cut; gather and carry home
31.  harvesting millet is difficult; how women prepare an area, beat the millet, and sieve it
32.  sharing the harvest with the house women for their own use
33.  how women sometimes help with sowing and weeding; girlfriends and wives
34.  some women do not help with the harvesting; sometimes causes quarrels


Proverbs and Sayings  <top of page>

A Dagbana does not farm with hunger.

Someone whose hand grows yams quickly is there.

Everybody has got his sense in farming.

Some Dagbamba say that if you are a farmer and your farm is increasing too much, it means there is a funeral behind it.

It’s just like if someone is nice:  when it’s daybreak he will bathe and make himself fine, and at that time you see that he has become more beautiful.  This is what we do to yams.

The farming of yams looks like how they take care of a new-born baby:  you cannot get someone to farm yams for you.

He has not yet shown it to his old thing,

Take this food and this meat and go and give to this housepeople, and tell them that today we are eating yams.

Have you ever seen someone eating food, and the food will collect his sense?

How girl friends are:  if you are entering a hole, she is following you.

Having a girl friend is sweeter than having a wife.  

Every day you are with your wife, and when you are with someone every day, even if she is a witch who catches people, you won’t fear her.


Key words for ASCII searches  <top of page>

Chiefs and elders
Naa Gbewaa

Towns and places
Dagbon
Tolon
Tongo
Yabyili

Cultural groups
Ashantis
Dagbana, Dagbamba
Mossis

Farming terms
batandali
bogu  (bɔɣu)
gbankurgu  (gbaŋkurgu)
gbansogu  (gbansɔɣu)
kagsogu  (kaɣsoɣu)
nakpaa
narga
nyubugri  (nyubuɣri)
nyuli
nyusari
nyutam
tankurli  (taŋkurli)
shebli  (shɛbli)
vagli  (vaɣli)
vuglaa  (vuɣlaa)
worgu
zalli

Types of yams
baamegu  (baameɣu)
baayeye  (baayɛrɛ)
chamba
chenchito  (chɛnchito)
dakpam
dandigu  (dandiɣu)
frigima
fugla  (fuɣla)
gungunkpili  (guŋguŋkpili)
gungunsalli  (guŋguŋsalli)
kangbaringa  (kaŋgbariŋga)
kpaasajo
kpabo
kpagoo
kpino
kpinokona  (kpinokɔŋa)
kpringa
kulkulga
larbako
liilia
nyuwugu  (nyuwuɣu)
warlana
ziglangbo  (ziɣlangbo(

Foods from yams
ampashe
ampesie
busa
dundunkolo
fufu
nyuchimda
nyudugrili  (nyuduɣrili)
nyugatili
nyuli
nyusherli
petepete
poggo
sakoro

Foods and utensils
bangli  zhieri  (baŋli ʒiɛri)
bambara beans
bungu
cowpeas
dagubiegu  (dagubiɛɣu)
dawadawa
groundnuts
guinea corn
kawaanyia
kpalgu
kukognyina  (kukɔɣnyina)
kukogu  (kukɔɣu)
laa
nili
sagim  (saɣim)
sanzhi  (sanʒi)
sagvugli  (saɣvuɣli)
sinkpila  (siŋkpila)
tuya
za

Miscellaneous terms
Dagbani
harmattan
housegod
housepeople
Jebuni  (Jɛbuni)
kona  (kɔŋa)
karo