Posted by: sanjudohray | May 5, 2010


MIXED FARMING A very important form of agricul­ture, mixed farming is found in the higWy developed parts of the world: north-western Europe, east~rn North America, Russia, Ukraine, and the temperate latitudes of parts of the southern continents. Farming is very intensive and some­times highly specialised with some farms being devoted entirely to arable farming or entirely to livestock. Gener­ally, however, farmers practise a truly mixed form, raising animals and growing crops on the same farm. Many of these farms also have land for growing fruit trees (apples, pears, cherries) or small fruits (such as gooseberries, strawberries) and vegetable crops. Even bees are kept to provide honey.

This type of mixed farming is found mostly in Europe, especially in Britain, Belgium and the Nether­lands. In the USA,. mixed farming may be devoted more to one single crop. The system is characterised by high capital expenditure on machinery and farm buildings, large scale use of chemical fertilisers as well as green manure, and also by the expertise of the farmers.

Farmers specialise in commercial dairy farming in many parts of western Europe, e.g., Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, southern Scandinavia, Switzerland, in the North Atlantic states of North America (the Hay and Dairy Belt), Australia and New Zealand. This is a highly intensive type of livestock farming.
Market gardening is well-developed in the densely populated industrial districts of north-western Europe: in Britain, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. North-eastern USA is also an important centre.

A modern development in the industrial regions of western Europe and North America is factory farming, in which livestock is raised under cover. This is a high capital­intensive venture.

Posted by: sanjudohray | April 19, 2010


The Mediterranean climatic region which experiences winter rain and summer d~ought has given rise to a distinctive type of agriculture. This type of farming is also found in irrigated semi-desert and desert areas in similar latitudes. Farming is intensive and highly specialised. A variety of crops are raised.

Citrus fruits, olives and figs, with long, widespread roots, scant foliage and thick skinned fruits are best adapted to the Mediterranean type of climate. Dates are prominent in semi-arid region in North Africa and in scattered areas in south-west Europe, where cultivation of other crops is not viable.

Viticulture or grape cultivation is typical of the Medi terranean regions. It calls for a highly intensive form of farming. Not only good conditions of moisture, tempera ture and soil are required, but much personal care is also called for, if the grapes are to be of high quality. Grapes grown in different parts of the Mediterranean lands have distinctive flavours, and the wines made in the various areas have their exclusive names, e.g., sherry from the Andalusia district in southern Spain, port wine from the Douro Basin in western Portugal, Marsala from Sicily, Chianti from the Chianti Hills of Tuscany, Asti from the Piedmont district of northern Italy. In France, wine-making is a national industry even though much of the country does not. enjoy a Mediterranean climate. Here there is even more distinct specialisation: the sparkling Champagne comes from the Paris basin; Burgundy from the limestone scarplands of the Cote d’Or; Claret, Brandy (Cognac), Barsac and Bordeaux from different parts of western France, especially the basin of Aquitaine. Raisins or currants are inferior grapes which have been dried. Greece, Turkey and California are the major exporters of raisins. Inciden tally, California accounts for four-fifths of all the grapes grown in the United States. It supplies mainly table grapes and raisins.

Animal grazing is not widely prevalent. as grass, with its shallow roots, does not flourish in these regions. It is only in the most favoured areas, e.g., the Lombardy Plain. Ebro Basin, San Joaquin Valley of California, that dairy farming is important. The relative unimportance of animal farming and the importance of olive cultivation is evident in the large use of olive oil for cooking rather than animal fat.

Posted by: sanjudohray | April 10, 2010


The extensive temperate grass­lands, once roamed bv nomadic herdsmen or by hunters, have now become sit~s of permanent ranches where large number of cattle, sheep, goats, and horses are kept. Reindeer are also kept on ranches in the sub-Arctic lands of Siberia.

In this type of agriculture, vegetative cover is continuous, there is no migration, ranches are scientifically managed, animals are raised for commercial purposes, and towns and communications are developed., In these aspects it differs from nomadic herding. USA, New Zealand and Argentina are known for well-developed commercial ranch­ing.’ The tropical savannas, e.g., on the Campos and llanos of South America, Mexico, central and southern Africa and tropical Australia also practise it to an extent.

Posted by: sanjudohray | April 1, 2010


NOMADIC HERDING An extensive form of animal grazing on natural pasturage, entailing constant or seasonal migration of the nomads alongwith their flocks, nomadic herding is confined to sparsely populated parts of the world \yhere the natural vegetation is mainly grass and the rainfall is low ilnd seasonal. It is practised by the Fulani of the West African” savannas, the Masai in East Africa and the Nuba in Ethiopia and Sudan, and by the Bantu and Hottentots in Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa. The Bedouin of Saudi Arabia, and the Tuareg of the Sahara practise nomadic,heeding in the desert and semi-desert areas of South-West . ‘Asi'(anq North Africa. In Scandinavia, the Lapps, who were onte:Oomadic, are tending to settle down.

Cattle are the most important livestock in most of the tropical areas of Africa, though in drier ilreas they may be replaced by goats. The long-haired angora goats of the Anatolian Plateau of Turkey are known for their valuable wool. In desert areas, the camel is important as. a source of wool and milk, but it is used mainly as a drought animal. In the Steppes of Central Asia, sheep and horses are very important. In mountainous regions such as Tibet, yak is more important. In the Andes of South America, llamas provide high quality wool. For the Lapps and the Samoyeds of Arctic and sub-Arctic areas in Scandinavia and northern Russia, reindeer provide food, hides, milk and transport.
Transhumance resembles nomadic herding as it too involves the seasonal movement of animals in search of pasture; it is of a permanent nature, and a more intensive method of livestock farming. In mountain areas such as Norway, Switzerland, Italy, in parts of Britain and in the mountainous west of the USA and Canada, cattle or sheep of a ranch may be kept in the valleys in winter, and taken out to the mountain pastures or alps’ or sa etas in spring.

Posted by: sanjudohray | March 31, 2010


A recent development in the continental lands of the mid­latitudes, which were once roamed by nomadic herdsmen, this kind of agriculture was motivated by the invention of farm machinery. Farmers are able to cultivate grain on a large scale, and there is specialisation in wheat monoculture in many regions. The Eurasian Steppe, the Canadian and American Prairies, the Pampas of Argentina, the Veld of South Africa, the Australian powns, and the Canterbury Plain of New Zealand are the major regions practising this type of agriculture. It is characterised by large farms, use of mechanised cultivation, monoculture of wheat (though other crops are becoming important), low yield per acre but high yield per person.

Posted by: sanjudohray | March 30, 2010


Before the advent of agriculture, all human beings were hunters, gatherers or fishers. Even today some communities are occupied in hunting and gathering, but they are isolated groups comprising a very small number. Now agriculture is practised practically all over the world. The major agricultural types are discussed here.

SIMPLE SUBSISTENCE FARMING Mainly practised by tribes of .the tropics, especially in Africa, in tropical South Central America, and in South-east Asia; better known as shifting cultivation. Farmers grow food only for themselves and their families. Shifting cultivation goes by different names in different parts of the world, e.g., mi/pa in Central America and parts of Africa, eonueo in Venezuela, roea in Brazil, masole in Zaire, ladang in Malaysia, lIulI/all in Indo­nesia, eaingin in the Philippines, tallllgya in Burma, tamrai in. Thailand, fhum or bewar or poda in India and cllC1W in Sri Lanka. The elders select sites, usually in the virgin forest and preferably hilI slopes as they have better drainage. The forests are usually cleared by fire and the ashes add to the fertility of the soil. Trees not burnt are cut down or left to decay naturally. Shifting cultivation is thus also called ‘slash-and burn’ agriculture. The cultivated patches are usually very small, and primitive tools are used. Starchy foods comprise the main crops-tapioca, yam, cassava, corn, millet, bananas. Crop growing is for short periods, followed by long periods of fallowing. ‘Field rotation’ rather than ‘crop rotation’ marks this type of agriculture. As the ideal requirement of fallow periods of 20 years is hardly practised, the practice leads to soil erosion and even total destruction of forests. It is noteworthy that continuous slash-and-burn farming in West Africa has extended the southern limit of savanna well into the former forested zone. Shifting cultivation is usually supplemented by hunting, fishing or gathering fruits. Sedimentary subsis­tence agriculture in tropical lowlands, where the fallowed fields are frequently re-used and the community stays permanently in one spot, is an advanced form of subsis­tence farming.

INTENSIvE SUBSISTENCE AGRICULTURE It is in the monsoon lands of Asia that this type of agriculture is to be found. Some geographers term it ‘oriental agriculture’. Its striking features include an intensive use of land, much manual labour, low use of farm machinery or modern tools and the use of a variety of manures and fertilisers. Irrigation is often resorted to in order to compensate for lack of moisture.

PLANT A TION AGRICULTURE This type involves specialised commercial cultivation of cash crops on estates of plantations. It is a distinctive type of t!9pical agriculture, found in many parts of Asia, Africa and tropical and sub­tropical America. The main plantation crops are rubber, cotton and copra, beverages like coffee, tea and cocoa, fruits like pineapples and bananas, as well as sugarcane, hemp and jute. It calls for heavy capital outlay and scientific maniigement.

Posted by: sanjudohray | March 30, 2010


It is not certain when agriculture began. “Agriculture involves deliberate effort to modify the earth’s surface through cultivation of crops and rearing of live-stock for sustenance or economic gain.” It is likely that agriculture had multiple points of origin from where it spread to other parts of the earth’s surface. Vegeculture-the reproduction of plants by direct cloning of existent plants-was probably first practised in South-east Asia. Animals like the dog, pig and chicken, too, were first domesticated in South-East Asia.

Other early centres for vegeculture were’located in West Africa and North-west South America. Seed agriculture­reproducing plants through annual introduction of seeds­may have originated in several locations, including China, Western India” Ethiopia, Southern Mexico and north-west­ern South America.