A number of tribes in ancient China had
a fairly well-developed agriculture. As early as the
Qin Dynasty (200 B.C.) the Luoyues in south China cleared
jungle land and had developed cultivation and crop irrigation.
In what is now Xinjiang, grain, mulberry trees, hemp,
grapes and other crops were already being grown by minority
peoples 2,000 years ago. Crops such as sorghum, maize,
cotton, sesame, grape, watermelon, cucumbers and carrots
were introduced into the central areas from the "Western
Regions." During the Tang-Song period 1,000 years ago
the Wuman and Baiman groups in Yunnan developed water
conservancy and irrigation projects on a large scale
at Changshan, Dali and Dianchi. The crops of 10,000
"qing" (roughly 67,000 hectares) of land on the Dali
Plain were guaranteed at the time by the "Cross Ditch"
and "Jinlang River" irrigation works, part of a network
with eighteen other water courses covering the whole
plain. The Tubo people, in what is now Tibet, had in
the Tang Dynasty attained a relatively high level of
development in growing wheat, highland barley, buckwheat
and kidney beans and in tilling land and irrigating
crops. The Fuyus and Yilous of the Han Dynasty had learned
to grow cereal grains.
enlarging their acreage from 400,000 shang (hectares)
to 2,900,000 shang during the Qing Dynasty, the Manchu
people inhabiting the Fengtian area of Liaoning in the
Northeast became self-sufficient in food grain.