Did ancient africans have agriculture


Farmers – Most people in Ancient Africa were farmers. They spent much of their day working the land growing crops such as yams, sorghum


Sorghum is a genus of flowering plants in the grass family Poaceae. Seventeen of the 25 species are native to Australia, with the range of some extending to Africa, Asia, Mesoamerica, and certain islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. One species is grown for grain, while many other…

, barley, and wheat. Some people fished for food or took care of herds of livestock such as cattle and sheep.

From 3000 BCE to 1000 BCE, the practice of farming spread across West Africa. These early farmers grew millet and sorghum. These plants were used for grain, and as fodder for cattle to eat. Later, they began growing a special strain of rice native to Africa.


What was the origin of Agriculture?

The origins of agriculture occurred from about 10 000 years ago in certain suitable regions, known as “core areas” or “nuclear zones.” The key factor in this process was the biological domestication of targeted plants and animals through selective breeding and other forms of selection (see Domestication and Development of Plant Cultivars).

Why is agriculture important in Africa?

“ Agriculture is the most important sector of the African economy and will have to be its driving engine out of poverty. It accounts for 65% of the continent’s employment and 75% of its domestic trade,” the Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Kandeh K. Yumkella, said in a news release.

Where did agriculture begin?

TIFTON — Black History Month activities at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College begin Sunday with a kick-off performance by ABAC musicians and a speech by Judge Larry Mims at 6 p.m. in Driggers Hall. ABAC fine arts major Elijah Alford organized the program.

What is the historical development of Agriculture?

Taking root around 12,000 years ago, agriculture triggered such a change in society and the way in which people lived that its development has been dubbed the “Neolithic Revolution.” Traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyles, followed by humans since their evolution, were swept aside in favor of permanent settlements and a reliable food supply. Out of agriculture, cities and civilizations grew, and because crops and animals could now be farmed to meet demand, the global population rocketed …


What did ancient Africans grow?

Farmers – Most people in Ancient Africa were farmers. They spent much of their day working the land growing crops such as yams, sorghum, barley, and wheat. Some people fished for food or took care of herds of livestock such as cattle and sheep.

Who first did agriculture?

Egyptians were among the first peoples to practice agriculture on a large scale, starting in the pre-dynastic period from the end of the Paleolithic into the Neolithic, between around 10,000 BC and 4000 BC. This was made possible with the development of basin irrigation.

What did the early African farmers?

The early farmers kept animals. They kept chickens, sheep, goat and cattle. Eggs, milk and meat from these animals were an important part of their diet. Cattle were a very important part of African farming life.

Does Africa have agriculture?

Agriculture in Africa has a massive social and economic footprint. More than 60 percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is smallholder farmers, and about 23 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP comes from agriculture. Yet, Africa’s full agricultural potential remains untapped.

When did agriculture begin in Africa?

THE INDEPENDENT ORIGIN OF AFRICAN AGRICULTURE Farming did eventually emerge independently in West Africa at about 3000 BCE. It first appeared in the fertile plains on the border between present-day Nigeria and Cameroon. It is possible there finally was a “Garden of Eden” there to “trap” people into early farming.

When did agriculture start in history?

approximately 10,000 years agoAgricultural communities developed approximately 10,000 years ago when humans began to domesticate plants and animals. By establishing domesticity, families and larger groups were able to build communities and transition from a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle dependent on foraging and hunting for survival.

Who were the first African farmers?

African farmers arrived in southern Africa around 250 AD, which is about 1 000 years ago, from further north in Africa. They were Bantu-speaking people and lived in an era that archaeologists call the Iron Age.

What crops came from Africa?

Africa produces all the principal grains—corn, wheat, and rice—in that order of importance. Corn has the widest distribution, being grown in virtually all ecological zones. Highest yields per acre are recorded in Egypt and on the Indian Ocean islands of Réunion and Mauritius, areas where production is under irrigation.

Who were the first farmers?

The Zagros Mountain range, which lies at the border between Iran and Iraq, was home to some of the world’s earliest farmers. Sometime around 12,000 years ago, our hunter-gatherer ancestors began trying their hand at farming.

Is agriculture the backbone of Africa?

To date, agriculture remains the backbone of most sub-Saharan African economies, contributing an average of about 25 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Since its inception, agricultural production has had significant impacts on African economies.

Why is farming difficult in Africa?

In fact, there are major obstacles that limit the success of small-scale farming in Africa. These obstacles can be categorized in four sections, namely: 1) climate, 2) technology and education, 3) financing and 4) policy and infrastructure. Smallholder farmers in Africa are still among the poorest in the world.

What is Africa known for producing?

Africa is home to select deposits of oil and natural gas, which are drilled for energy and fuel. In 2007, the continent produced 12.5 percent of the world’s total oil production and 6.45 percent of the world’s total natural gas production. Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, and Angola dominate Africa’s oil industry.

What is the history of land and agriculture in Africa?

PRIOR to the beginning of food production, pastoralists and farmers began movements across the continent that transformed African societies ultimately leading to complex political groupings. The beginning of modern day history in Africa can be established partly from the introduction and development …

When did agriculture start in Africa?

Agricultural expertise spread across all regions, establishing agricultural bases in Africa arounf 3000 BC; expanding the number of plants being cultivated and harvested.

What were the first plants to be introduced to Africa?

Plants introduced to Africa via the Indian Ocean were coconut, sugar cane, rice, water yams and some fruits. Chickens were also introduced to Africa from south-east Asia according to Western experts.

What was the ability to grow cotton and supply many countries with cotton?

The ability to grow cotton and supply many countries with cotton also demonstrates the agricultural skills that Africa already possessed prior to the Atlantic slave trade and European colonisation; and long before cotton weaving became a British industry.

What is the use of iron in Africa?

Iron was used in Africa for tools and for weapons. The use of metal was vital in accelerating …

Why was iron used in Africa?

Iron was used in Africa for tools and for weapons. The use of metal was vital in accelerating agricultural development as well as paving the way for the nascent industrialisation. This advance enabled more land to be cleared for agricultural purposes and for hunting skills to be improved and to become far more effective.

Where did bananas come from?

Bananas were added to millet as a staple food for sea faring vessels; it is quite likely that bananas reached the Indian sub-continent from East Africa.

What crops were grown in Africa?

Africa. Various crops were grown, such as wheat, barley, fruits, flax, beans, vegetables, cucumbers, onions,, lentils, dates, figs and grapes. The Broadcasting method of planting (scattering seed on land) was used. Animals were driven over the fields to cover the seed in earth for germination or budding.

What factors promoted agriculture in ancient Egypt?

Factors that promoted (facilitated) agriculture in ancient Egypt. The river Nile, which provided the water needed for irrigation and for domestic use. The fertile soil and the warm climate of the Nile Valley. Invention and use of irrigation technique, characterised by Shadoof and Basin methods. Availability of food crops …

Why did farmers have several seasons in a year?

Farmers had several seasons in a year and, because of irrigation, no longer depended on annual Nile Valley floods. Introduction and adoption of iron technology in Africa by 1000 AD, which enabled the Egyptians to make and use iron tools like ploughs, which made farming more efficient. Early Agriculture in Egypt.

How did the invention of wooden sticks, knives and wooden hoes help the Egyptians?

Availability of slave labour made crop farming a success. The invention and use of implements that included wooden sticks, knives and wooden hoes enabled the farmers to increase their yields. The existence of writing in Egypt helped the Egyptians to keep accurate records of seasons and volume of food.

Why did Egypt develop agriculture?

Reasons that enhanced development of early Agriculture in Egypt. Availability of Water for irrigation and for domestic use from river Nile. Existence of fertile silt deposits and mud originating from the flooding of the Nile between July and October annually, which provided fertile soil for crop farming. Another advantage was that Egypt had …

What were the main crops that were indigenous to Egypt?

Availability of food crops that had already become indigenous to Egypt, e.g. wheat and barley. Availability of many tameable animals in Egypt e.g. goats and sheep. Good and able political leaders, who directed agricultural production, distribution of food and other crafts.

When did agriculture start in Egypt?

Early Agriculture in Egypt. As early as 7000 BC, people had already settled in the Nile valley. By around 5000 BC, the Egyptians had gradually adopted agriculture, departing from a hunter-gatherer society. Reasons that enhanced development of early Agriculture in Egypt.

Where did the animals come from in Africa?

African domesticated animals, with the exception of the donkey, all came from the Near East. Some 8,000 years ago cattle, sheep, and goats came south to the Sahara which was much wetter than today. Pastoralism was an off-shoot of grain agriculture in the Near East, and those herders immigrating brought with them techniques of harvesting wild grains. With increasing aridity as the Saharan environment dried up around 5000 years ago, the herders began to control and manipulate their stands resulting in millet and sorghum domestication in the Sahel Zone, south of the Sahara. Pearl millet expanded to the south and was taken up by Bantu-speaking Iron Age farmers in the savanna areas of West Africa and then spread around the tropical forest into East Africa by 3000 b.p. As the Sahara dried up and the tsetse belts retreated, sheep and cattle also moved south. They expanded into East Africa via a tsetse-free environment of the Ethiopian highlands arriving around 4000 b.p. It took around 1000 years for the pastoralists to adapt to other epizootic diseases rife in this part of the continent before they could expand throughout the grasslands of Kenya and Tanzania. Thus, East Africa was a socially complex place 3000 years ago, with indigenous hunters, herders and farmers. This put pressure on pastoral use of the environment, so using another tsetse-free corridor from Tanzania, through Zambia to the northern Kalahari, then on to the Western Cape, herders moved to southern Africa, arriving 2000 b.p. They were followed to the eastern part of South Africa by Bantu-speaking agro-pastoralists 1600 years ago who were able to use the summer rainfall area for their sorghum and millet crops.

What are some of the most widely used plants in Africa?

Several African indigenous plants are still widely used, such as yams, but the plant which has spread most widely throughout the world is coffee, originally from Ethiopia. Alien plants, such as maize, potatoes and Asian rice have displaced indigenous plants over much of Africa.

Why is agriculture important in Africa?

In fact, it is likely to bring about political rights, a steady economy and lower rates of poverty.

How does agriculture help Africa?

Agriculture is one of the most beneficial assets a country can have. It creates more jobs and helps eliminate poverty and hunger, which are immediate problems Africa is facing. Africa’s population will nearly double by 2050 and quadruple by 2100, making it harder to feed communities and generate wealth, but agriculture in Africa has the potential to flourish. In fact, Africa can add 20 percent more grain to the 2.6 billion tons of worldwide production, and nearly the same amount of fruits and vegetables. Agriculture also has the greatest potential to bring about gender and class equality by providing a source of income for women and the poor.

How many smallholder farms are there in Africa?

Smallholder farms are family farm s that are less than seven acres and form 80 percent of Africa’s farmland. There are 33 million family farms that are under four acres in Africa. Research shows that job creation is better capitalized, and investors receive more for their money on smallholder farms than industrial farms.

What is the purpose of Farm Africa?

Farm Africa’s initiative is to improve smallholder farm practices and alleviate poverty starts with the stakeholders.

Why is climate important for farming?

Climate is a deciding factor in the success or failure of a farm. Most of the continent’s irrigation resides in only five of the 54 countries, making farmers more vulnerable to weather fluctuations. Farm Africa provides forecasts, insurance and small-scale irrigation systems to protect farmers against unexpected weather events.

How much of Africa’s land is irrigated?

In fact, only six percent of arable land in Africa is irrigated. Producing more food, such as grain in Africa requires investment. In order for maximum output of crops, there should be approximately eight times more fertilizer, six times better seeds and funding of $8 billion for storage and $65 billion for irrigation.

How many people can women feed in Africa?

In other words, women in Africa have the potential to feed as much as 150 million people. Changing the law is not the only answer to closing the gender gap in land ownership, it also requires social change and awareness. In Mozambique, a country in southeastern Africa, women have access to land and property (land law of 1997).

Why were Africans relatively late to take up farming and where the domestication of wild grains first happened?

One theory is that wild grain was so abundant throughout the continent that there was no need to settle down to farming. Already the new discoveries have caused archaeologists to adjust their thinking about how societies evolved and to realize how assumptions arose from concepts developed for the Near East, where most archaeological work has been done.

Where did domestication occur in Africa?

Comparisons of the proteins of wild and domesticated grains suggest that domestication probably happened twice in western Africa — in Mauritania and in the Air Mountains of Niger. Sorghum, the second grain domesticated in Africa, appears only in the first century A.D.

How did food production develop in the Near East?

Archaeologists have long believed that food production developed worldwide much the way it did in the Near East: as climate changes made wild grains less available, hunters and gatherers settled in villages and relatively quickly domesticated plants and then, over the next few thousand years, animals.

Why did the first pastoralists move south to the Savannas?

They moved south to savannas to find moister conditions. These ”cattle-assisted hunter gatherers,” as she called them, took milk, blood and meat from their animals.

Why did the people in Libya plant watermelon seeds?

The people in Libya, Dr. Fuller said, may have planted watermelon seeds so they always had a tasty snack on hand.

When did wheat and barley come to Egypt?

By 5500 B.C., domesticated wheat, barley, sheep and goats arrived in Egypt from the Near East. These animals were adopted by cattle-herding pastoralists along the Sahara’s southern rim, but the grains did not make it beyond Egypt, probably because they require winter rain, and in most of Africa the rains come in summer. Still, archaeologists wonder why the idea of planting, if not the crops themselves, did not catch on.

When did the Near Eastern hunters and gatherers become farmers?

For archaeologists, the story of how Near Eastern hunters and gatherers became farmers has become as familiar as a bedtime fable. Beginning as early as 11,000 B.C., people settled into villages and began cultivating wild grasses like rye, emmer wheat and barley. Over time, the genetic makeup of the plants changed, so they needed to be sown and tended in order to grow.

What was the role of African Americans in the agricultural history of the United States?

The role of African Americans in the agricultural history of the United States includes roles as the main work force when they were enslaved on cotton and tobacco plantations in the Antebellum South. After the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863-1865 most stayed in farming as very poor sharecroppers, who rarely owned land.

How many farms did black people own in 1860?

Newly manumitted ex-slaves had to leave the state. However the same property laws were applied, allowing free Black people to own and operated 1202 small farms in 1860. They were patronized by some wealthy white landowners, who would hire them for cash wages from time to time.

How many bales of corn were produced in the 1920s?

Annual production slumped from 1,365,000 bales in the 1910s to 801,000 in the 1920s. In South Carolina, Williamsburg County production fell from 37,000 bales in 1920 to 2,700 bales in 1922 and one farmer in McCormick County produced 65 bales in 1921 and just 6 in 1922.

What was the impact of the cotton industry in the 1920s?

The cotton industry in the United States hit a crisis in the early 1920s. Cotton and tobacco prices collapsed in 1920 following overproduction and the boll weevil pest wiped out the sea island cotton crop in 1921. Annual production slumped from 1,365,000 bales in the 1910s to 801,000 in the 1920s. In South Carolina, Williamsburg County production fell from 37,000 bales in 1920 to 2,700 bales in 1922 and one farmer in McCormick County produced 65 bales in 1921 and just 6 in 1922. As a result of the devastating harvest of 1922, some 50,000 black cotton workers left South Carolina, and by the 1930s the state population had declined some 15%, largely due to cotton stagnation. However, it wasn’t the collapse of prices or pests which resulted in the mass decline of African American employment in agriculture in the American south. The mechanization of agriculture is undoubtedly the most important reason why many Black people moved to northern American cities in the 1940s and 1950s during the ” Great Migration ” as mechanization of agriculture was introduced, leaving many unemployed. The Hopson Planting Company produced the first crop of cotton to be entirely planted, harvested and baled by machinery in 1944.

What were the black farmers in South Carolina?

The small free black population was poor, but not with a small proportion to owned 20 to 30 acres. In South Carolina there were about 400 free black farmers in the rural parishes surrounding Charleston. As farmers their strategies, production, and rural lives resembled the poor white neighbors. Survival was a high priority and involved establishing economic self-sufficiency through concentration on food crops for their own families, and then by cultivating social advantages such as having a rich white patron.

Why were black cotton farmers important?

Black cotton farmers were very important to entrepreneurs which emerged during industrialization in the United States, particularly Henry Ford. The United States Emancipation Proclamation came into power on January 1, 1863, allowing a “new journey for people of African ancestry to participate in the U.S. Agriculture Industry in a new way.”

When did sharecropping become widespread in the South?

Agriculture Industry in a new way.”. Sharecropping became widespread in the South during and after the Reconstruction Era.

What were slaves employed for?

Agriculture. Large numbers of slaves were employed in agriculture. As a general rule, slaves were considered suitable for working some crops but not others. Slaves rarely were employed in growing grains such as rye, oats, wheat, millet, and barley, although at one time or another slaves sowed and especially harvested all of these crops.

How were the ages of slaves determined?

The ages of slave populations also were determined partially by productive requirements. As mentioned above, in Africa children were preferred for incorporation into lineages, whereas in much of the circum-Caribbean world adults were demanded for production. As a consequence, the age pyramids of both societies were skewed; in Africa children predominated, in much of the New World people over age 15. In Muscovy, to take another example, the age structure was skewed toward young adults, for it was primarily young adult males (aged 15–25) who sold themselves into slavery.

What were the main functions of slaves?

Drawing water, hewing wood, cleaning, cooking, waiting on table, taking out the garbage, shopping, child-tending, and similar domestic occupations were the major functions of slaves in all slave-owning societies. In a major productive slave system, the Roman Empire at the time of Augustus and later, the richest 5 percent of Italy’s population owned one million house slaves (another two million were employed elsewhere, out of a total population of about 7.5 million people). In yet another productive slave system, the American South, large numbers of slaves also worked in their owners’ houses. A related function was concubinage, unquestionably one of the major uses of female slaves since the beginning of the institution and particularly prevalent in China. Some societies prescribed that a concubine who bore her owner children was to be freed; others, ranging from the ancient Middle East to the European Middle Ages, specified that the offspring of free-slave unions were to be freed. Rome and the American South were unusual in believing that all concubines and offspring should remain enslaved. Added to this in Africa was the function of lineage expansion, one of the major purposes of slavery in the sub-Saharan region.

What were the major determinants of whether or not a slave-owning society became a slave society?

The presence or absence of such crops and their relative profitability were among the major determinants of whether or not a slave-owning society became a slave society. In the Roman Empire employment in olive groves and vineyards occupied many slaves. Sugar cultivation made 9th-century Iraq into a slave society.

Did slaves have children?

In the majority of slave societies (the Danish Virgin Islands excepted), on the other hand, slave marriages were not recognized in law and were not something that slave owners had to think about legally when disposing of slaves. For example, the Louisiana Code of 1824 explicitly stated that a slave had no right to be married. Nevertheless, even in these societies, including Rome, the American South, and West Indian Barbuda, slaves formed what they considered marriages and had children. Southern slave owners often recognized such marriages (even across estate boundaries) and their offspring because to have done otherwise would have interfered with production. In Brazil slave marriages were recognized by the Roman Catholic Church and recognized by law in 1869, but in 1875 only one-sixth of the slaves of marriageable age were recorded as married or widowed.


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