Writing Yoruba Female Farmers into History: A Study of the Food Production Sector
This chapter considers that a misreading of existing materials accounts for the misrepresentation of the position of women. It attempts to re-examine our understanding of "where Yoruba women work" by providing another perspective to understanding the role of Yoruba women in the economic landscape. Yam was the most important food crop among the Yoruba and among the Ekiti in particular. Before the cultivation of cocoa, the prowess of an Ekiti farmer was measured by the size of his yam plot and yam harvest. The processing modalities of cassava into gari and cassava flour require much labor, so it was no easy substitute for yam. Female cassava planters made their farms on abandoned plots and on the fringes of yam farms, and they used their roots for lafun. Unlike cocoyam and cassava, rice production in Ekiti was a result of conscious encouragement by colonial authorities who needed it primarily to conserve scarce foreign exchange and to feed resident Europeans and Europeanized-Africans.