Chapter 4. Agriculture

Economic activities
• transformation from a plant to a finished product involves three types of economic activities.
Primary activities: Primary activities include all those connected with extraction and production of natural resources. Agriculture, fishing & gathering are examples of this activity.
Secondary activities: Secondary activities are concerned with processing of natural resources. Examples are manufacturing steel, baking bread and weaving cloth.
Tertiary activities: Tertiary activities provide support to primary and secondary sectors through services. For examples transport, trade, banking, insurance & advertising.
Agriculture: word agriculture is derived from Latin words ager or agri meaning soil and culture meaning, cultivation. science and art of cultivation on soil, raising crops and rearing livestock. This is known as farming. land on which crops are grown is called ‘arable land’.
Sericulture: Commercial rearing of silkworms.
Pisciculture: Breeding of fish in specially constructed tanks and ponds.
Horticulture: Growing vegetables, flowers & fruits for commercial use.
Viticulture: Cultivation of grapes.
Farm System: Agriculture can be looked at as a system.
Input: important inputs are seeds, fertilisers, machinery & labour.
Process: Processes involved are ploughing, sowing, irrigation, weeding & harvesting.
Output: outputs from system include crops, wool, dairy & poultry products.

Types of Farming
Subsistence Farming: This type of farming is practised to meet needs of farmer’s family.
(1) Intensive subsistence agriculture: In intensive subsistence agriculture farmer cultivates a small plot of land using simple tools and more labour. This type of agriculture is prevalent in thickly populated areas of monsoon regions of south, southeast & east Asia.
(2) Primitive subsistence agriculture: It involves shifting cultivation and nomadic herding.
Shifting cultivation: Shifting cultivation is practised in thickly forested areas of heavy rainfall and quick regeneration of vegetation. A plot of land is cleared by felling trees and burning them. ashes are then mixed with soil. After soil loses its fertility, land is abandoned and cultivator moves to a new plot. This is called ‘slash and burn’ agriculture. This is practised in thickly forested areas of Amazon basin, tropical Africa, parts of southeast Asia and Northeast India. Shifting cultivation is known by different names in different parts of world:
(1) Jhumming – North-East India
(2) Milpa -Mexico
(3) Roca – Brazil
(4) Ladang – Malaysia
Mixed farming: In mixed farming, land is used for growing food and fodder crops and rearing livestock. This is practised in Europe, eastern USA, Argentina, southeast Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Nomadic herding: Nomadic herding is practised in semi-arid and arid regions of Sahara, Central Asia and some parts of India, like Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir. In this type of farming, herdsmen move from place to place with their animals for fodder and water, along defined routes. This type of movement arises in response to climatic constraints and terrain.
Commercial Farming: In commercial farming, crops are grown and animals are reared for sale in market. area cultivated and amount of capital used is large. Most of work is done by machines.
Commercial grain farming: In commercial grain farming crops are grown for commercial purposes. Wheat and maize are common commercially grown grains. Major areas where commercial grain farming is practiced are temperate grasslands of North America, Europe & Asia.
Plantations: These are a type of commercial farming practices where a single crop of tea, coffee, sugarcane, cashew, rubber, banana or cotton are grown. A large amount of labour and capital are required. Major plantations are found in tropical regions of world. Rubber in Malaysia, coffee in Brazil, and tea in India and Sri Lanka are some examples.

Major Crops
Rice: This is staple diet of tropical and subtropical regions. Rice needs high temperature, high humidity and rainfall. It grows best in alluvial clayey soil, which can retain water.
Wheat: Wheat requires moderate temperature and rainfall during growing season and bright sunshine at time of harvest. It thrives best in a well drained loamy soil. This is grown extensively in USA, Canada, Argentina, Russia, Ukraine, Australia & India. In India, it is grown in winter.
Maize: Maize [corn] requires moderate temperature, rainfall & lots of sunshine. It needs well-drained fertile soils. This is grown in North America, Brazil, China, Russia, Canada, India, & Mexico.
Millets: They are called coarse grains and can be grown on less fertile and sandy soils. These are hardy crops that needs low rainfall and high to moderate temperature and adequate rainfall. Millets are grown in India, Nigeria, China & Niger.
Cotton: Cotton requires high temperature, light rainfall, two hundred and ten frost-free days and bright sunshine for its growth. It grows best on black and alluvial soils. China, USA, India, Pakistan, Brazil & Egypt are leading producers of cotton
Coffee: Coffee requires a warm and wet climate and well-drained loamy soil. Hill slopes are more suitable for growth of this crop.
Tea: Tea is a beverage crop grown on plantations. This requires a cool climate and well distributed high rainfall throughout year for growth of its tender leaves. It needs well-drained loamy soils and gentle slopes. Labour in large numbers is required to pick leaves. Kenya, India, China, Sri Lanka produce best quality tea in world.
Jute: Jute is called ‘Golden Fibre’. It grows well on alluvial soil and requires high temperatures, heavy rainfall and a humid climate. This crop is grown in tropical areas. India and Bangladesh are leading producers of jute.

Agricultural Development
• Agricultural Development refers to efforts made to increase farm production in order to meet growing demand of increasing population.
• Food security exists when all people, at all times, have access to sufficient, safe & nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
Ways to achieve agricultural development:
(1) Increasing cropped area, (2) Increasing number of crops grown, (3) Improving irrigation facilities, (4) Use of fertilisers, (5) Use of high a yielding variety of seeds and
(6) Mechanisation of agriculture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *