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Title: Farming  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Economic anthropology, Subsistence agriculture, History of agriculture, Polygyny, Gardening
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Hoe-farming is a collective term for certain forms of agriculture. In the farming of some early societies, and in some traditional cultures of the recent times or the near past, the tillage was done with simple manual tools like digging sticks or hoes, for example seeding was done manually by making holes for the seeds, putting them inside, then covering them.

The precursor to hoe-farming may be intensive gathering.[1] As for its future, it does not necessarily “become superseded” by applying plough and animal traction, because ecological factors are also very important.[2] Even the prevalence of the tsetse fly can matter . Also cultural factors can be considered (for example the local belief system can contain taboos against animal traction).[3]

Hoe-farming often coincides with long fallow systems and shifting cultivation, contrasted to permanent plough-based cultivation systems and the intensification of agriculture.[4] Hoe-farming may contain slash and burn clearance techniques, but they are not strictly necessary.[5] It is usually embedded in the logic of subsistence agriculture.


A traditional area of hoe-farming (“Hackbaugürtel”) included Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Maritime Southeast Asia, and the middle parts of the Americas.[6] Presumably early forms of agriculture were much more widespread in the past, but could remain dominant against the spread of intensive farming mainly in the tropics.

The Isanzu were hoe-farming people (while the neighboring Hadzabe kept on living as hunter-gatherers).[7]

See also


  1. ^ Nagy Olivérné & Ortutay Gyula (eds) (1977–1982) (see online in Hungarian)
  2. ^ Ökonomische Anthropologie — Fragen: question 33 (see online in German)
  3. ^ IFAD, Uganda women: section “Animal Draught Power” (see online)
  4. ^ Pingali & Bigot & Binswanger & 1987: section “Introduction and Policy Overview”, pp. 1, 4 (see online)
  5. ^ Kienzle 2003 (see online)
  6. ^ Ziller 1974 (see online in German)
  7. ^ Kohl-Larsen 1956: 13–14


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