Posted by: Matthew Davies | January 18, 2015

From the third field workshop: Tiv, Benue State Nigeria 9th to 17th January 2015

I write this on the road from Tiv-land to Abuja on the return from our highly successful third field workshop. Eleven participants from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and the UK attended the event and over five days we have learned a great deal about Tiv farming and identified a wide range of topics for future study. As with previous workshops we explored past research conducted in the area and analysed the intersections between this and the themes of the African Farming Network.

The workshop participants on top of Ushongo Hill, a 15th century settlement site

The workshop participants on top of Ushongo Hill, a 15th century settlement site

In particular Professor Bayo Folorunso introduced us to the past archaeological and ethnographic work conducted in the region, which had identified a range of 15th century hill-top settlements as key markers of the early Tiv community. These sites will clearly form the foundations for deeper investigations into the history of the Tiv agricultural landscape. We were especially fortunate to hold extensive conversations with Tiv farmers and elders and to learn a great deal about Yam cultivation as well as Tiv social and labour organisation, settlement patterns and issues of soil fertility past and present. We were also able to collect preliminary samples for pollen and soil analysis and to visit two separate markets where we explored the range of agricultural produce for sale. We also sampled much of it first hand!

All participants found the wonderful hospitality of the Tiv people humbling and we all look forward to our next visit to the region! Many thanks go to the local organisers Bayo Folorunso, Emuobosa Orijemie, Zack Gundu, Jonathan Ndera, Richard Chia and Sam Ingyoroko.

Further posts on the workshop will follow shortly.

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