The Compass Edge

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thecompassedge.net is a web project maintained by Brian Jones to log his and others' experiences while traveling to and working in regions off the standard travel map.


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  • Enset the 'tree against famine'

    Posted by Brian Jones

    22 December 2003 – EnsetintheDakwa (75k image)

    Here you can see the darkwa or home garden of top most wealth strata in Bolosso Sorie. Firstly you note that the house you can see is not a typical tukel ie circular with a thatched roof but is built of wood and mud and has a tin roof. Secondly the green foliage that looks like banana is the enset tree or false banana, which is so typical of the region. Agriculturally the area is known for the 'enset complex' which is a system that depends largely on the use of enset as a staple food. The complex is reliant on a fine balance between livestock ownership and enset, which is kept around the house and benefits fromt the manure supplied by the cattle.

    For the system to be fully functioning the household should have both cattle and enset in its immature and mature forms, which are harvested and replanted throughout the year. One of the important problems of the area is that the traditional enset reserves have been erroded by successive droughts and people no longer have access to the enset and cattle they once had.

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