Inca agriculture is the set of techniques used by the inhabitants of Tahuantinsuyo to cultivate the land. Despite being in a fairly rugged terrain, they knew how to connect and find solutions and / or techniques that allowed them to carry out agricultural work, not only in the Andes, but also in the coastal, highland and jungle regions that included part of the territory of the Tahuantinsuyo. In this way, they understood how agriculture works in different geographical areas with varied climates, raising the complexity of knowledge and increasing its effectiveness.
Inca agriculture was the main economic activity of the Incas who achieved great advances in relation to the technology used for this work, from the cultivation, sowing and even the storage of the products already collected.
Inca Agriculture Tools
The Incas could not plow the land using the yuntas, which are a pair of oxen or mules that together are used to plow the land in long journeys through the land to work, in this case due to the absence of these animals and added the rugged territory it was impossible to use that technique. Having to find a much more manual method based on their own effort, such as the chaquitaqlla, a pointed stick with another bent tip that allowed the foot to be placed and press in order to drive the stick into the ground and create grooves.
Despite the great effort required to carry out this work under this agricultural tool, to date no other tool has been found that can overcome it. The chaquitaqlla was also used in the agriculture of the Chavín culture and it is very likely that in this mixture of culture given by the expansion of the Inca empire they have learned techniques that were carried out previously.
Inca Agriculture Facts
Fertilizers in agriculture is the fertilizer that is placed on the earth to nourish it and make it more suitable for sowing, so it will be possible to obtain a better quality in the plants and consequently, higher quality fruits.
Throughout the years that the Incas dedicated themselves to agriculture, we can find that they used different types of fertilizer, of which we can highlight a type of fertilizer where they mixed seeds with small fish such as sardines in the land for planting the corn; This can be corroborated in some painted walls in the Pachacamac sanctuary where we can see corn plants germinating from small fish.
Another type of fertilizer that was also used was the famous “guano” a resource that was obtained from the excrement excreted from guano birds or seabirds and finally a third type of fertilizer that was used was the same leaves of the plant crushed with a hammer to compost a new plant to grow.
Inca Empire Agriculture
The Andenes in Inca Agriculture
The Inca terraces are artificial agricultural terraces that serve to obtain fertile land for planting on the Andean slopes.
The Inca terraces are a mechanism to take advantage of the rain as an irrigation system in the high areas of the mountains where it was very difficult to raise water by their own means. In this way they created the platforms, which are artificial terraces that are used for planting on the Andean slopes in the form of different levels as steps in circular shapes that allowed a correct distribution of rainwater.
For the creation of these great platforms a huge group of people had to be used, however, in Inca times this was not an inconvenience, much more if it was of interest to the great spheres of the Inca empire.
The Camellones in Inca Agriculture
The Inca camellones were artificial lands that consisted of large earth mounds that allowed to store and make better use of the water, also called WARU WARU took place on the shores of Lake Titicaca; with the aim of controlling the water in times of constant rain that could be fatal in floods on the sown field.
The Inca Cochas
The lakes are artificial lagoons that are shaped like semicircles with grooves that help transport the water, preventing it from pooling on the crops for more than a day and can rot the harvest.
Inca Irrigation Systems
Irrigation systems were very important within Inca agriculture since they managed to take advantage of the water obtained from the rains in the mountains and lead it strategically through all the crops through canals and intakes. On the coast, despite the existence of desert areas, it allowed the Incas and from the pre-Inca cultures to become the greatest hydraulic engineers who perfected quite sophisticated methods of irrigation.
Inca Food and Agriculture
The main products that the Incas cultivated were products such as mashua, olluco, oca, sweet potato, beans and potatoes, from which they obtained chuño; in addition to corn that was considered a sacred resource destined exclusively for the high military and ceremonial.