Occupation & Craft
Trade, as a veritable organization in any
community in Ekpeye was very necessary. Traditional Ekpeye villages
before now engaged in a subsistence economy as only to satisfy their
local needs and requirements in the home setting. It was a self-oriented
business but did not take many surpluses for larger markets and long
distance trade. However there were common places in each community where
articles of self-oriented business took place for exchange at a place
called Aya meaning market.
As the population of the people grew and the subsistence production
could no longer sustain the needs of the families in the respective
villages, larger trading centers emerged. There are now many large, clan
central markets at Anakpo such as Aya-Ogbo, Aya-Edeoha, and Aya-Nebe
etc. They transact their buying and selling of farm products on the
fourth or eighth of the Ekpeye week days of Eke, Udhie, Izu and Ebwo.
The snowballing population increased the volume of trade, which
culminated the long distance trade between the Ekpeye and their
neighbors; Ogbas, Engennis, Bisenis, Ijaws, Ikweres, Abuas, Igbos etc.
The demand for palm oil, by Europeans between 1921 to 1956, also out
weighed the demand for farm products by the people. Thus, economy was
diversified. It is worthy to mention that this trade brought about
relative peace and vast knowledge amongst the people. European
involvement in trade facilitated the monetary economy in Ekpeye land.
Articles of trade in Ekpeye are as follows; yams, cassava roots, garri,
cocoyam, plantain bananas, pepper, pineapple, corn, vegetables, palm
oil, palm wine, fishes, meat etc. Almost every village now has its own
daily mini-market that is held in the morning or evening when people
have returned for farms.
Each market has its operational days in the Ekpeye calendar of a
four-day week. No day is set aside in which the people are not expected
to go to farm. Unless on the belief of a particular family that their
portion of land forbid entry to farm on that day. Eke is generally
forbidden for marriages and burials. Recently the population of
Christians has increased, and as a result, people rarely attend markets
on worship days such as Sunday.