Factors that promoted (facilitated) agriculture in ancient Egypt

The following are 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 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. The government owned huge granaries and go-downs for storage of grain, animals, cloth and metals for use in times of scarcity.
  • Natural protection of the Nile valley from foreign invasion by the Libyan desert to the west, the Nubian desert and the Nile cataracts to the south and the harbourless coast of the Nile delta on the north.

  • Egypt’s close proximity to Mesopotamia (the first centre of agricultural development), which encouraged a lot of borrowing.
  • Use of implements like sticks, knives, axes, sickles, wooden and bronze hoes and others of their kind, which eased farming.
  • 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 1000AD, which enabled the Egyptians to make and use iron tools like ploughs, which made farming more efficient.

farming activities in ancient Egypt.

  • 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.
  • Shifting cultivation was practised before the human population increased, but more settler cultivation was encouraged as days went by.
  • Various animals were kept such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, donkeys,, poultry and bees.
  • The King was regarded as the guardian for food supply for all. some senior government officers were assigned the responsibility of ensuring food security.

the irrigation methods practised in ancient Egypt.

The irrigation technique in ancient Egypt was characterised by Shadoof and Basin methods in addition to the construction of dykes to direct water to the farms during drought.

A Shadoof is a wooden device consisting of a long pole swinging up and down between two supporting
wooden posts. On one end of the pole was hung a heavy weight and a skin bucket at the other. The bucket was pulled down and dipped in water by a person.

The weight on the other side would then cause the bucket to rise up to another person above, who would empty the water into the canals, which then directed it to the fields.