7. The Spread of Faamu Cultivation
Like in other places, a wave of great change has swept through M village, which has long maintained a frugal but self-sufficient lifestyle with a strong reliance on the woodland. In around 1986, what the villagers call faamu, which derives from an English word “farm”, meaning permanent field, emerged and began quickly spreading. On faamu, people uproot trees and their roots altogether to prepare the soil for planting. They then apply chemical fertilizer and grow hybrid maize as a cash crop. Behind this trend lies the government’s agricultural policy, which includes provisions for subsidies for chemical fertilizers as well as the fixing of a unified purchase price of maize across the country. Villagers make full use of a loan system for chemical fertilizers and maize seeds, and actively clear the land for cultivation, while at the same time maintaining the chitemene cultivation.