Agriculture- overview

Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock in order to provide facilities the human beings. In the rise of the sedentary human lifestyle agriculture was the key development. The cultivation of plant and food grains began years ago in order to provide food to the city population. Agriculture is the main need for the people to live in the society. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood, it provides a source for the people to earn. Most of the population in the rural areas is dependent on agriculture as their main source of income.


Agriculture contributes significantly to a country’s GDP that is the Gross Domestic Production of a country. By the passing of time, there are a number of revolutions that take place in order to improve agriculture throughout the world or a country. If we talk about agriculture, India has witnessed a number of revolutions, that is, the green revolution, yellow revolution, blue revolution, agriculture. Agriculture affects the biodiversity of a country depending upon agricultural activities.


The major agricultural products can be widely grouped into categories of food grains, fibers and raw materials.

Foodgrains included the grains or cereals that have been used for eating. Fiber crops are completely Commercial, they can not be eaten and are completely grown for making money. Raw materials are that category of crops that are completely grown for use as raw materials in industries in order to prepare other items. 


This article provided to help you to learn the topic of agriculture about the history of farming, Commercial farming, primitive farming, its characteristics, types of Commercial Farming, intensive subsidence character, and so on. This will help you to get a clear view of agriculture. Let's have a look at it.


History of Agriculture 

The development of agriculture enables human civilization to grow rapidly. This agriculture that was started by hunting and gathering has now reached the stage of cultivation and industrial form of agriculture also.


The earliest food crop grown was rice which was followed by Moong, soya, azuki beans, etc. Sheep were domesticated in Mesopotamia first, cattle were domesticated in the areas of modern turkey, pig production emerged in Europe, East Asia, and South Asia. There are many hypotheses that are explained by the scholars for agriculture.


Irrigations, crop cultivation, and fertilizers were the advanced form of agriculture that was developed in the 17th century. Modern agriculture has raised or encountered issues such as water pollution, biofeedback, genetically modified organisms, farm subsidies leading to alternative approaches such as that of organic movements.


In the rise of sedentary human civilization agriculture is the key development. Farming of domestic species provided food surpluses that prompted people to live in cities. The history began some thousands of years ago. Pigs, sheep, and cattle were domesticated over 10000 years ago. Plants were cultivated independently in 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on a large scale in the 20th century came and dominated agriculture output. An estimated number of around 2 billion people still depend on subsistence agriculture.


The major agricultural products are broadly grouped into foods, fibres, fuels, and raw materials. Over one-third of the world’s workers are employed in agriculture and after that to the service sector.

 

Commercial Farming

Commercial farming is when farmers grow crops or rear animals for economic activity. Commercial farming needs to be practised on a large scale with more efficiency. The goal of the farmer is to earn profits from farming, hence the production and area of production need to be on a larger scale. This practice is also known as agribusiness and is intensively taken up and practised. It has also opened its doors for a lucrative business venture.


Due to the large production in commercial farming and despite its major benefits, it is a bit worrisome as it includes lots of fertilisers, pesticides, weed killers, and other sorts of chemicals.

Crops in this type of agriculture are completely grown in order to provide the farmers with the benefit of money. These crops are not for you to consume but only for the sale.


Here are Some of the Characteristics of Commercial Agriculture:


Large scale production

It is capital intensive

It uses high yielding varieties

It is produced mainly for sale purpose

Heavy machinery and human labour is used

Traditionally practised all year round.


Types of Commercial Farming include the Following:

Dairy farming

Grain farming

Plantation farming

Livestock ranching

Mixed crop and livestock farming

Fruit farming

Primitive Farming

Primitive farming or also known as simple subsistence farming (farming for the farm-family only) is the oldest form of agriculture and is still prevalent in some areas of the world. Primitive farming enabled people to take a step further on the economic ladder by learning the art of domesticating plants. In this type of farming, farmers grow crops for themselves and their families. The growing of crops is only limited. Its characteristics include the following:


Sites of farming are selected by experienced elders.


Hill slopes are preferred because of proper drainage


Forests are cleared by fire, as ashes add to the fertility of the soil


This is also called slash and burn agriculture.


The cultivated patches are usually very small


Primitive tools are used in cultivation such as stick and hoe


Intensive Subsistence Agriculture


Intensive subsistence agriculture term is used to describe the type of agriculture which is characterised by high output per unit of land and low output per worker.


 Although its nature has changed and is no longer subsistence. These are more sophisticated than primitive agriculture and are also known as monsoon type of agriculture

Its Characteristics include the following:


Very smallholdings

Farming is very intensive

It requires much hand labour

It uses animal and plant manures

The dominance of padi and other food crops


Following are the Types of Subsistence Farming:

Shifting Cultivation: In this method, farmers clear the cultivated land and burn it afterwards. The ashes produced thereafter increase soil fertility. This method is known by different names in different regions. It is further practised in South America and Southeast Asia. This method is not fit as by exhausting the quality of the soil of one place and then moving to another place for doing the same is not a solution.


Nomadic Herding: It involves herders and farmers travelling from place to place with their group of animals. The herders also provide wool, meat, hide, and dairy products from the livestock. This type of farming is very common in places like Rajasthan, Jammu, and Kashmir. Animals herd here are sheep, goats, camel, and yak


It is quite the opposite of primitive farming. Farmers practice this on wider areas of land, they use modern machinery and add chemical fertilisers for the betterment of crop production.


Whereas in primitive agriculture, all the age-old agricultural practises are done by using the age-old method by which agriculture was done in the past. In the primitive type of agriculture also there is a waste of energy and sources up to some extent without getting a good quality of the crops we were looking for.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is Primitive Subsistence Farming Class 10?

This farming is practised on small patches of land with primitive tools. Most often family or community labour is used in this type of farming. It mainly depends on the monsoon and the natural fertility of the soil. Crops are further grown as per climatic and environmental conditions. 

This is further called slash and burn agriculture. The ash obtained is useful for crops as it yields better crops. After repetitions of crops grown, the patch extensively used is left shallow and in turn, a new patch is searched for farming. The patch earlier left fallow and unused again replenishes its fertility by the time new crops are grown in the new patch.

2. What is Commercial Grain Farming Practised in India?

It is a major type of agricultural practice in the area of low rainfall and low density of population where extensive farming is practised. Commercial grain farming is in response to farm mechanization. Crops are yielded according to climatic conditions like floods and drought. Monoculture of wheat is the general practice here. 

Its characteristic includes the following:

  1. Specialization in a single crop

  2. Farms are very large

  3. Highly mechanized

  4. Lack of irrigation

  5. Dependant on Climatic hazards

  6. Depending on market fluctuations

  7. Farm ownership

  8. Low yield per acre

  9. High yield per man

3. What is Commercial Farming?

Commercial farming is a type of farming where the agricultural crop is grown for sale in exchange for some profit. Its example includes tobacco. India is the second-largest producer of tobacco. It is grown largely in semi-arid and rain-fed areas. 

Commercial farming crops are intended for large-scale distribution to wholesalers or retail outlets. Some of the common examples of commercial farming crops include wheat, maize, tea, coffee, sugarcane, cashews, rubber, banana, cotton. These are harvested and sold into world markets. Commercial agriculture also includes livestock production and livestock grazing. Some of the advantages of commercial farming are listed below:

  1. Encourages improvement in local infrastructure

  2. It promotes job creation

  3. Enables lowering of prices of the product

  4. It has provision for raw materials for agribusiness manufacturing companies.

  5. It enables increased productivity and also enhances food security.

4. What does agriculture stand for?

Agriculture describes the practice of growing crops or domesticating animals. The Latin word from which agriculture is divided is agri that means field plus cultural, which means cultivation. Cultivating a piece of land or growing food plants on it on a large basis is what agriculture means. Agriculture is the main reason for livelihood in most parts of the world. In India, nearly 60 percent of the people earn their livelihood through agricultural practices. You can refer to agriculture as the science of raising plants and animals for food, clothing, or other useful products. This is basically the practice of cultivating land and raising livestock in order to meet the need of the people living.

5. What are the three main types of agriculture?

The three main types of agriculture or farming include subsistence farming, Plantation farming, and Shifting agriculture. Subsistence Farming is one that is practiced in most parts of the country to raise plants and livestock. In this method, farmers cultivate on the small piece of scattered land with the help of draught animals. Plantation agriculture was introduced by Britishers in India in the 19th century. In this a piece of land is used completely for growing one type of cash crop, that is a crop that is meant purely for sale. I  Shifting agriculture practiced in forest regions, a particular piece of land is used for cultivation and once its nutrients get exhausted they move to another place for cultivating the crops that are for agriculture.

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