1902 Encyclopedia > Algeria > Algeria - Agriculture

(Part 11)

Algeria: Agriculture

Algeria in the time of the Romans was noted for its fertility, and this is still the character of the cultivated parts of the country. Many parts only want water to render them fertile, and the government has lately sunk a number of Artesian wells with the most beneficial results. The principal grain crops are wheat and barley. In 1866 there were in the three provinces 4,163,367 acres of land under different kinds of grain, and the produce amounted to 2,802,208 quarters; 28,132 acres of vineyards, 14,266 acres under cotton, 5957 under flax, and 9793 under tobacco. In the province of Algiers the total area of land under cultivation with cereals in 1868 was, in the civil portion, 178,642 acres, of which 120,286 were cultivated by Euroopean; and in the military portion, 808,890 acres. The total yield in the former case was 266,578, and in the latter 668,666 quarters. These figures do not include other agricultural produce, such as beans, maize, &c., of which about 277,062 quarters were produced by 99,503 acres. The produce of tobacco throughout the country was estimated at 6,845,000 lb. Olives are grown largely and almost exclusively in the mountains of Kabylia. In that portion of the district included in the province of Algiers the quantity of fruit gathered is estimated at over 100,000,000 lb. At present not much attention is given to this article of production; but there can be no doubt that with more care and attention Algeria might become one of the best olive-producing countries in the world. Oranges are grown to a considerable extent, and the trade in this article is increasing. The vine is cultivated; but the produce is chiefly for home consumption, and it has scarcely yet become an article of export. In the province of Algiers in 1868 about 1,350,000 gallons of wine were produced. During the same year the exportation of cork from the colony amounted to £63,932. the most important fibre is the crin vegetal, or vegetable horse hair, produced from the dwarf palm (Chamoerops humilis), with which a vast proportion of the uncultivated parts of the country is covered. Throughout the entire colony, fibre to the value of 89,332 pounds was exported in 1868. the alpha fibre ir esparto grass of Oran ranks part importance, and is largely used in the manufacture of paper. During the American war the cultivation of cotton was extensively carried on, but since the close of the war it has very much fallen off. Flax is cultivated to a considerable extent in some parts. The rearing of the silk-worm is also prosecuted.

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