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Farming techniques of the Maya

60 second histories

This video covers:  Some of the challenges faced by Maya farmers and how they overcame them with raised terraces, aqueducts and irrigation.

One problem my people face is the climate. You see for six months of the year it’s very dry and then for the other six months it rains almost non-stop. But what makes it worse is that because the ground is mainly limestone and porous the rainwater drains away very quickly so there are no lakes or ponds to help us water crops in the dry season. So to combat this, we farmers have built raised, terraced fields, which makes the land flatter and easier to work on. Then to get water from the highlands to the farmlands down below we’ve built underground aqueducts covered in stone that diverts water to where it’s needed. Water is then fed down to the farms where we’ve created irrigation systems in between the raised fields so we can water our crops all year round. This means we can grow things like corn, squash, beans, tomatoes, chilli peppers, sweet potatoes and cocoa for chocolate! The trouble is we can never seem to grow enough crops to feed all those people in the cities. I don’t know they’ll manage in the future.
Ancient Maya
Farming & Food
Maya farmer
Key words: 
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