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Folksong based appraisal of bioecocultural heritage of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench): a new approach in ethnobiology.

Mekbib F - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2009)

Bottom Line: Farmers describe sorghum as follows: Leaf number is less than twenty; Panicle hold a thousand seeds; a clever farmer takes hold of it.In addition, they described the various farmers' varieties ethnobotanically by songs.Hence, researchers, in addition to formal and quantitative descriptions, should use the folksong system for enhanced characterisation and utilization of bioecocultural heritages.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Haramaya University, PO Box 138, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. firewmekbib@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT

Background: Sorghum is one of the main staple crops for the world's poorest and most food insecure people. As Ethiopia is the centre of origin and diversity for sorghum, the crop has been cultivated for thousands of years and hence the heritage of the crop is expected to be rich. Folksong based appraisal of bioecocultural heritage has not been done before.

Methods: In order to assess the bioecocultural heritage of sorghum by folksongs various research methods were employed. These included focus group discussions with 360 farmers, direct on-farm participatory monitoring and observation with 120 farmers, and key informant interviews with 60 farmers and development agents. Relevant secondary data was also collected from the museum curators and historians.

Results: The crop is intimately associated with the life of the farmers. The association of sorghum with the farmers from seed selection to utilization is presented using folksongs. These include both tune and textual (ballad stories or poems) types. Folksongs described how farmers maintain a number of varieties on-farm for many biological, socio-economic, ecological, ethnological and cultural reasons. Farmers describe sorghum as follows: Leaf number is less than twenty; Panicle hold a thousand seeds; a clever farmer takes hold of it. In addition, they described the various farmers' varieties ethnobotanically by songs. The relative importance of sorghum vis-à-vis others crops is similarly explained in folksong terms.

Conclusion: The qualitative description of farmers' characterisation of the crop systems based on folksongs is a new system of appraising farmers' bioecocultural heritage. Hence, researchers, in addition to formal and quantitative descriptions, should use the folksong system for enhanced characterisation and utilization of bioecocultural heritages. In general, the salient characteristics of the folksongs used in describing the bioecocultural heritages are their oral traditions, varied function, communal or individual recreation and message transmissions.

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1a. Map of the study area. 1b. Women focus group discussion 1c. Men focus group discussion. Note the Khat (Chata edulis Forskk)-a mild drug crop commonly chewed for its stimulating tender leaves and buds 1d. Key informant interview with 80 years old farmer. 1e. Various Gandas in Hirna area, Ethiopia. Note the tikul, group of houses covered with corrugated sheets of iron or grass-sorghum thatching, clustered all over the areas. 1f. An Oromo girl from Babile wereda with traditional dress 1g. Drylowlands of Goloda. Note the camel near the harvested sorghum field with stumps. Sorghum. due its drought resistnace, is sometimes called 'the camel crops of cereals' 1h. Eastern Ethiopia cool highlands topography associated with sorghum. The undulating hills and valleys are partly responsible for genetic differentiation and isolation 1i. Shifting cultivation into the natural forest area in the highlands. Zigita area, West Hararghe, Ethiopia.
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Figure 1: 1a. Map of the study area. 1b. Women focus group discussion 1c. Men focus group discussion. Note the Khat (Chata edulis Forskk)-a mild drug crop commonly chewed for its stimulating tender leaves and buds 1d. Key informant interview with 80 years old farmer. 1e. Various Gandas in Hirna area, Ethiopia. Note the tikul, group of houses covered with corrugated sheets of iron or grass-sorghum thatching, clustered all over the areas. 1f. An Oromo girl from Babile wereda with traditional dress 1g. Drylowlands of Goloda. Note the camel near the harvested sorghum field with stumps. Sorghum. due its drought resistnace, is sometimes called 'the camel crops of cereals' 1h. Eastern Ethiopia cool highlands topography associated with sorghum. The undulating hills and valleys are partly responsible for genetic differentiation and isolation 1i. Shifting cultivation into the natural forest area in the highlands. Zigita area, West Hararghe, Ethiopia.

Mentions: Eastern Ethiopia (Figure 1a) was selected for the following reasons:


Folksong based appraisal of bioecocultural heritage of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench): a new approach in ethnobiology.

Mekbib F - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2009)

1a. Map of the study area. 1b. Women focus group discussion 1c. Men focus group discussion. Note the Khat (Chata edulis Forskk)-a mild drug crop commonly chewed for its stimulating tender leaves and buds 1d. Key informant interview with 80 years old farmer. 1e. Various Gandas in Hirna area, Ethiopia. Note the tikul, group of houses covered with corrugated sheets of iron or grass-sorghum thatching, clustered all over the areas. 1f. An Oromo girl from Babile wereda with traditional dress 1g. Drylowlands of Goloda. Note the camel near the harvested sorghum field with stumps. Sorghum. due its drought resistnace, is sometimes called 'the camel crops of cereals' 1h. Eastern Ethiopia cool highlands topography associated with sorghum. The undulating hills and valleys are partly responsible for genetic differentiation and isolation 1i. Shifting cultivation into the natural forest area in the highlands. Zigita area, West Hararghe, Ethiopia.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2717052&req=5

Figure 1: 1a. Map of the study area. 1b. Women focus group discussion 1c. Men focus group discussion. Note the Khat (Chata edulis Forskk)-a mild drug crop commonly chewed for its stimulating tender leaves and buds 1d. Key informant interview with 80 years old farmer. 1e. Various Gandas in Hirna area, Ethiopia. Note the tikul, group of houses covered with corrugated sheets of iron or grass-sorghum thatching, clustered all over the areas. 1f. An Oromo girl from Babile wereda with traditional dress 1g. Drylowlands of Goloda. Note the camel near the harvested sorghum field with stumps. Sorghum. due its drought resistnace, is sometimes called 'the camel crops of cereals' 1h. Eastern Ethiopia cool highlands topography associated with sorghum. The undulating hills and valleys are partly responsible for genetic differentiation and isolation 1i. Shifting cultivation into the natural forest area in the highlands. Zigita area, West Hararghe, Ethiopia.
Mentions: Eastern Ethiopia (Figure 1a) was selected for the following reasons:

Bottom Line: Farmers describe sorghum as follows: Leaf number is less than twenty; Panicle hold a thousand seeds; a clever farmer takes hold of it.In addition, they described the various farmers' varieties ethnobotanically by songs.Hence, researchers, in addition to formal and quantitative descriptions, should use the folksong system for enhanced characterisation and utilization of bioecocultural heritages.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Haramaya University, PO Box 138, Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. firewmekbib@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT

Background: Sorghum is one of the main staple crops for the world's poorest and most food insecure people. As Ethiopia is the centre of origin and diversity for sorghum, the crop has been cultivated for thousands of years and hence the heritage of the crop is expected to be rich. Folksong based appraisal of bioecocultural heritage has not been done before.

Methods: In order to assess the bioecocultural heritage of sorghum by folksongs various research methods were employed. These included focus group discussions with 360 farmers, direct on-farm participatory monitoring and observation with 120 farmers, and key informant interviews with 60 farmers and development agents. Relevant secondary data was also collected from the museum curators and historians.

Results: The crop is intimately associated with the life of the farmers. The association of sorghum with the farmers from seed selection to utilization is presented using folksongs. These include both tune and textual (ballad stories or poems) types. Folksongs described how farmers maintain a number of varieties on-farm for many biological, socio-economic, ecological, ethnological and cultural reasons. Farmers describe sorghum as follows: Leaf number is less than twenty; Panicle hold a thousand seeds; a clever farmer takes hold of it. In addition, they described the various farmers' varieties ethnobotanically by songs. The relative importance of sorghum vis-à-vis others crops is similarly explained in folksong terms.

Conclusion: The qualitative description of farmers' characterisation of the crop systems based on folksongs is a new system of appraising farmers' bioecocultural heritage. Hence, researchers, in addition to formal and quantitative descriptions, should use the folksong system for enhanced characterisation and utilization of bioecocultural heritages. In general, the salient characteristics of the folksongs used in describing the bioecocultural heritages are their oral traditions, varied function, communal or individual recreation and message transmissions.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus