Traditional Tillage
For over 4,000 years, China has been a nation of farmers. China's development of farming over the course of its history has played a key role in supporting the growth of what is now the largest population in the world.

Due to China's status as a developing country and its severe shortage of arable land, farming in China has always been very labor-intensive. However, throughout its history various methods have been developed or imported that enabled greater farming production and efficiency.

China's farmers have long used techniques such as fertilization and irrigation to increase the productivity of their scarce land. Peasants have traditionally used a large proportion of their labor in collecting organic materials for fertilizers. Irrigation was important in China's traditional agriculture, and some facilities existed as long as 2,000 years ago. Draft animals are important sources of motive power in rural areas. Draft animal numbers increased steadily from about 56 million in 1955 to 67 million in 1985 despite rapid increases in the number of tractors and trucks in rural areas. Animals that provide draft power for crop cultivation and rural transportation include water buffalo, horses, mules, donkeys, oxen, and camels.
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