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But as the major consequences of this, though profound, were social, they lie outside the scope of this paper. Ploughing and Tillage. The SBAT and some of the better landowners tried to understand the effects of ploughing on soil fertility. Adapting ploughing techniques to suit the soils and climate was to be an important aspect of dry-farming development. The main ploughing was originally done in the summer, following the fallow, after the wild plants, including many useful legumes, had matured and seeded.

Even without going to the extreme degree of soil mobilization represented by the powdery 'mulch' of the cereal farmers on semiarid soils, ploughing, in whatever form, has the consequence of making the surface soil less compact, cutting it up, and crumbling it to a greater or lesser degree. At the same time ploughing separates the surface layers and detaches them from the subsoil . . " Sethom, in a resumé and commentary on Poncet's thesis, wrote: "With the introduction of large-scale capitalist farming, using a lot of machines and few men .

It is clear from contemporary accounts that most of the farming in the Lower Medjerda Valley, and in northern Tunisia as a whole, was of very poor standard. It neither made much use of the natural advantages that the soil offered nor protected the crops from the worst aspects of the climate. Monchicourt showed that the population of most of the Lower Medjerda Valley at the turn of the century was ethnically very mixed and had very little attachment to the soil. In some areas, however, the population was stable and village life had a cohesive strength associated with regular and effective farming of the village land.

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