Baskeet cash crop: Kororima

Baskeet farmers in the highlands* of the Basketo Special Woreda mostly produce food for their own consumption and for the local market. Apart from coffee, the only significant cash crop for the national and international market is “false cardamom”. Its Amharic name is korärimma, its Anglicised version kororima. The botanical name of kororima is Aframomum corrorima.** I am not aware of any indigenous Baskeet name for the spice – but I will verify this during my next fieldtrip.


Fresh unpeeled kororima fruits (Click on the picture to access its source website)

Piles of fresh kororima are seen every Thursday and Saturday on the Laska market.

Dry kororima fruits

Dry unpeeled kororima fruits (Source: Joe Castleman (Gyrofrog))

In Bernard Roussel’s summary of the history and usages of the spice on Homegardens of Ethiopia, the plant is described as follows:

Malagueta kororima is a herbac[e]ous perennial plant that grows in the underwoods of Ethiopia’s humid tropical forest zone, where it is endemic. Its large leaves composed of some twenty spear-shaped blades sprout from an underground rhizome. At its base, short aerial stems carry whitish bilabiate flowers, followed by bright black-red fruit whose white acidulous flesh contains dozens of dark, angular and shiny seeds. (Bernard Roussel)

He writes furthermore:

[K]ororimas from Dawro or Basketo, often named “Gofa”, are grown in superb agro-forestry gardens which enjoy great biodiversity: their large, pulpy seeds are black and glossy; their highly aromatic, full and persistent taste evokes cardamom […]. (Bernard Roussel)

Many Baskeet farmers dedicate a small section of their land to growing the spice. On the picture below (taken in the neighbourhood of Gez-Ayma), the light green leaves on the right are a kororima plantation. Click to enlarge:

Basketo Special Woreda: Kororima plantation

Basketo Special Woreda: Kororima plantation

For more information on kororima, its cultivation and economic value in Baskeet, consult Feleke Weldeyes’ 2011 PhD thesis “Home gardens and spices of Basketo and Kafa“.

© 2011-2 Baskettoethiopia All Rights Reserved
* In the resettlement areas that have been established in the Baskeet lowlands a couple of years ago, different types of other cash crops (e.g. sesame, papayas) are produced for the national market.
** Note that in some sources the botanical names is given as Aframomum angustifolium.
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