The economy of the Suri is based on agriculture. To name a few of the crops planted are cabbage, beans, yams, tobacco and coffee. During the dry season, the Suri also collect honey. The Suri pan gold to make pots in nearby streams which was later used in trade with the Juye and Murle. Trades are also made between the Suri and the Ethiopian highlanders, Amhara and Shangalla. Rifles and weapons are traded with Amhara and Shangalla as are leopard and lion skin, giraffe tails, honey and ivory.
The average male in the Suri tribe owns somewhere between 30 and 40 cows. These cows are not usually killed unless they are needed for ceremonial purposes. Every young male is named after their cattle, which they are ruled to look after. Cows are tremendously important to the Suri, and at times Suri risk death to protect their herd; Suri men are judged by how much cattle they own. In desperate times, Suri men risk their lives to steal cattle from other tribes. Men also are not allowed to marry until they own 60 cows. These cows are given to his wife’s family after the ceremony. To praise their cattle or mourn their deaths, the Suri sing songs for them.
Southern Ethiopia, 2017