50% of the world's population is engaged in agricultural activity. In India, two-thirds of the population is dependent on agriculture.
Types of Economic Activities
The economic activities which involve extraction and production of natural resources are called primary activities, e.g. agriculture, fishing, gathering, etc.
The economic activities which involve the processing of natural resources are called secondary activities, e.g. manufacturing steel, baking of bread, weaving of cloth, etc.
The economic activities which support the primary and secondary activities are called tertiary activities, e.g. banking, transport, finance, etc.
Key Terms of Farming
Aerable Land: The land on which crops are grown in called arable land. Favourable topography and climate are important for agriculture.
Viticulture: Cultivation of grapes is called viticulture.
Horticulture: Growing vegetables, flowers and fruits for commercial use is called horticulture.
Sericulture: Commercial rearing of silk worms for silk production is called sericulture.
Farm System: Farming is a kind of system in which various inputs and processes are involved to obtain production. Machineries, seeds and fertilisers are the physical inputs for agriculture. Labour is the human input. Crops are the outputs of agriculture.
Types of Farming
There are two main types of farming, viz. subsistence farming and commercial farming.
When farming is done to meet the needs of the farmer's family, it is called subsistence farming. In subsistence farming, low levels of technology and household labour are generally utilised. Farming is done on smaller plots and output is also small. Subsistence farming can be further categorized as intensive subsistence and primitive subsistence farming.
Intensive Subsistence Farming
In this type of farming, the farmer cultivates on a small plot of land. He uses simple tools and more labour. Places which have fertile soils and where the climate allows a large number of days with sunshine are suitable for this type of farming. In favourable climates, farmers are able to grow more than one crop in a year. Rice is the main crop in this type of farming. However, wheat, maize, pulses and oilseeds are also grown. This type of farming is prevalent in densely populated areas of the monsoon regions of south, southeast and east Asia.
Primitive Subsistence Farming
Shifting cultivation and nomadic herding come under this type of farming.
- Shifting Cultivation: In shifting cultivation, a small patch of land is cleared by felling the trees and burning them. Then the ashes are mixed with the soil and seeds are broadcast. After a couple of years, the patch of the land is left fallow and the farmer moves on in search of a new patch of land. Shifting cultivation is practiced in thickly forested areas of Amazon basin, tropical Africa, parts of southeast Asia and Northeast India.
- Nomadic Herding: In this type of farming, cattle, sheep, goat and camel are reared. The herdsmen move from place to place with their animals in search of new pastures. Nomadic herding is practiced in the semi-arid and arid regions of Sahara, Central Asia and some parts of India (like Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir).
|Jhum Cultivation||Meghalaya and Chhattisgarh|
This type of farming is done with sale as the main purpose. In this case, a very large area is cultivated and large amount of capital is utilised. Heavy machineries are used with less emphasis on manual labour. Commercial farming includes commercial grain farming, mixed farming and plantation.
The temperate grasslands of North America, Europe and Asia are the major areas where commercial grain farming is done. Severe winters in these areas restrict the growing season and only a single crop can be grown in a year. Tea, coffee, sugarcane, cashew, rubber, banana and cotton are grown in plantations. The produce of plantation may be processed on the farm itself or in nearby factories. A good transport network is essential for commercial plantation. Rubber is mainly grown in Malaysia, coffee in Brazil and tea is grown in India and Sri Lanka.