chapter  2
21 Pages

Agriculture in Traditional China

WithLiu Yingchun, Wang Haiyan

This chapter introduces the cultivation and processing of grains of several types, and the making of sugar and the production of salt in traditional China. Traditional Chinese agricultural development is the product of the self-sufficient economy at that time while it contributes to modern agriculture both home and abroad. Traditional agriculture is based on manual labour that employs human power, animal power, hand tools, and iron tools and is also based on the traditional experience accumulated by the previous generations. The term “grain” is a general term for “as many as a hundred food crops,” while “the five grains” refer to sesamum, beans, wheat, panicum millet, and glutinous millet, with rice excluded because the ancient sages who write on this topic are all born in northwestern China where rice is not grown. Different types of wheat are planted in China. There are as many kinds of beans as there are of rice and millet.