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Chaama, like iindu and kikuku, are all yams that belong to the same family and the genus dioscorea. They are tubers of various colors, including gray, white and yellow, each with a slightly bitter flavor and that are planted in January and harvested in June.
These roots come from wild forest yams that past generations began planting in their fields. The largest are those that are white and yellow and weigh about 4.5 kg. The tubers are nutritious, but they also have medicinal properties, and are very useful against anemia.
These tubers used to be eaten daily as there were neither bananas or cassava available at the time. They were highly prized by native Pygmies who lived as hunters in the bush and only gathered wild plants.
Today these tubers are still cultivated in Walikale forest, in the area where the Bambuti Pygmies live, as well as in small quantities in the Kissa, Kilali, Lufito and Kambushi forests, all in the Bakano community.
However, the product is found only rarely in markets and consumption is in swift decline among the younger generations who don’t even consider these tubers as part of their daily diets. Another big problem for the production of these yams is the disappearance of their natural habitat, forests.

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