Agriculture refers to the growing of crops and rearing domestic animals. It ranges from the subsistence to the commercial levels and from traditional to modern practices.


These include:

1-Simple substance farming which is subdivided into shifting cultivation and bush following.

2-Intensive substance farming which includes wet rice cultivation and intensive dry farming

3-Extensive mechanical grain cultivation

4-Nomadic herding


6-Plantation farming

8-Mediterranean agriculture

9-Diary farming

10-Intensive commercial farming which includes mixed farming and horticulture



  • Climate

It exerts the greatest influence on agriculture activities and what man has to do is to the climate under which he finds himself, the climate is divided into temperatures, rainfall and wind.

Some crops do best under areas to receive high rainfall throughout the year with high temperatures e.g. perennial crops like coffee, cocoa, bananas, tea e.g. are found in the equatorial land where such climate exists.

Other crops are grown in areas that receive moderate rainfall with moderate temperatures e.g. annual crops like maize, tobacco which are found in tropical areas.

There are also other crops that are situated to areas that receive very low rainfall below 500mm with high temperatures e.g. millet and sorghum.

Some crops grow best in areas of low temperatures and they are dominantly grown in the temperate areas e.g. Wheat and fruits. Fruits are also significantly grown in the Mediterranean lands.

Animals are mostly kept in areas that receive relatively low rainfall e.g. most ranches found in areas that receive rainfall below 750mm, Normadism is practiced in the semi-arid areas because the animals adapt to the dry conditions.

On the other hand, dairy farming is carried out in areas that receive high rainfall with low temperatures. In the tropical lands, it’s carried out in the highlands while in the temperate areas, its common in many places.

Areas where winds are very strong, short crops are usually grown so that they will not be damaged by the strong wind e.g. Rice and tobacco.

  • Soils

It comprises of the composition and texture. The mineral composition of the soils and its humus content make the soil fertile or not.

Fertile soils are intensively utilized they promote the growth of a variety of crops like bananas, coffee, beans, tea, sugarcane. Infertile soils don’t promote the growth of crops or the keeping of dairy animals.

Therefore, there is limited agriculture carried out in such areas and their crops grown include sisal and sorghum. The texture of the soil influences the easy of poaching the land.

Sandy soils are easier to work but they retain less water and they are only suitable for crops like cotton.  Clay soils are heavier less easy to work but they retain more water therefore they are good for crops like rice, yams and sugarcane.

  • Relief:

If an area is flat, cultivation is easy in mechanization is possible and there are more agricultural activities at the flat land and on gentle slopes and on the steps areas. Some crops have definite altitudinal ranges where they can grow.

Arabic coffee and tea grow best on hilly slopes. Dairy cattle are mostly kept in the highland areas of the tropical countries because it’s more suitable to low temperatures which are experienced in highlands.

  • Biotic factors

These include insects, parasitic plants in animals, pests and diseases and weeds. Different weeds do well in deferent soils and their method of control varies if they are not properly controlled, they affect the crops production yields.

Within the tropics and equatorial land. The weed grows a lot because of the favorable humid warm climatic conditions.

Insects, pests and diseases are also lower the production of crops and animals. They are more active in the tropical areas where the conditions are favorable for their growth.

The presence of tsetse flies has severely limited the keeping of livestock in west and central Africa, the presence locusts in North Africa has limited crop production. It is therefore important and such pests and diseases are controlled.

One the other hand, insects like bees and butterfly help in pollination quail earthworms improve the soil structure.

  • Land availability

If land is available extensive will be dominant, land use this to encourage agricultural types like plantation and extensive rice cultivation.

On the other had if land is not available, then extensive farming is dominant e.g. Of wet rice cultivation of India.

  • Drainage

Some crops grow best in waterlogged areas e.g. Rice and yams and is why wet cultivation is denominating the flat waterlogged areas of Asia



Where capital is available, it’s easy to develop the agriculture sector. It is possible to buy the farm implements, control diseases in even the market of products easily.

It’s also possible to purchase storage facilities of refrigeration facilities: expensive farming like market gardening and extensive market cultivation are found in developed countries where capital is available, small scale agriculture or substance farming is dominant e.g. the developing countries.


Countries with well-developed technology system have advanced method of farming which promotes less and better production. For example man has been able to reclaim land especially on the polders in Netherlands.

There has also been extensive use of glasshouses, grow horticultural products especially in Europe and North America e.g. Netherlands which have the largest glass district.

In the developing countries, the level of technology are still low and therefore they use traditional method of farming like hoes and slashes.

Government policy

Concerned governments promote agriculture through their policies e.g subsidizing on agriculture import and making available agriculture extension services like skilled advice.

Some other countries are directive involved in the farming policies especially the socialist countries e.g. Cuba, North Korea, China and such countries collectivities.


If the methods of transport are well developed, it becomes easy for the market products. This encourages farmers to produce more.

Where the transport is not well-developed marketing of the products is different and this discourages the farmers: e.g. Produce more if substance and commercial uses e.g. In the developing countries.


Certain culture sticks to particular farming systems because it has been their traditional e.g. Most nomadic pastoralist have refused to change their way of life due to cultural ties e.g. The Masai, the Karamajongo, Turkana.

Other tribes grow certain crops due to culture e.g. in Ivory Coast, the people in east grow yarm while those in the west grow rice and as their staple food.

Certain societies also control land under traditional systems and this eventually leads to land fragmentation promoting small scale agriculture.


Access to the hind religion, cows are scared animals: they are not eaten, so in such societies animal keeping is limited and in Islamic societies and they don’t keep pigs.


Where market is available, it’s easy to develop agricultural systems and need a quick market e.g. Floriculture is best developed in countries and have a high demand for flowers e.g. Europe.


  • Simple Substance Farming

It is widely practiced in tropical Africa, South Northcentral America, in southeast Asia, it broadly divided into shifting cultivations and bush following;-

Main features of this type of agriculture

  1. The sites selected by experienced elders usually in isolated forest areas
  2. The land is cleared by cutting the forest and burning the cut trees to produce ash which makes the soil more fertile. In shifting cultivation, the trees stamps are left standing [pollarded] to give them a chance to grow ago
  3. They use very traditional tools like hoes, pangs in sticks
  4. They cultivate on very small plots of land given separation from one another by forest or bush
  1. They mostly use manual labor in its mostly family labors.
  2. They mostly grow annual crops like maize and beans, millet. This is because they are usually on the move. They practice intercropping and this enables them to increase production and control soil erosion
  3. They cultivate on the same pieces of land for some time when it loses fertility, they abandon if they reach for new fields where they can cultivate.
  4. Most of the production is mainly for home consumption and only the surplus is sold off.
  5. When the farm supplies are not adequate, the farmers go for hunting, fishing and fruit gathering so as to supplement the diet.


  1. In more advanced communities, the farmers keep cows and goats.

Few characteristics which distinguish one from the other though there are not clear cut boundaries:


  1. The shifting cultivates completely abandon the field after it has lost fertility and they may never come back to the plot or they may come back more than 30year by coincidence while the bush followers only live the land to follow for 2 to 5 years in order for it to regain fertility.

The period fallow depends on the availability of land.

  1. The shifting cultivators have temporally settlement while bush followers have permanent settlements.
  2. The land is communally owned in shifting cultivation while its individually owned in bush fallowing.
  3. Shifting cultivators only grow annual crops while the bush followers grow both annual and perennial crops.
  4. The bush followers keep more animals than the shifting cultivators because they are rotating within the same place.
  1. Shifting cultivation is based developed in areas of very low people deserts while bush fallowing can be practiced in areas of moderate people densities.


These two farming systems are breaking up to increase in population and therefore higher demand for land and the introduction of cash crops


  1. Some plant nutrients in particular potash are released into the soil from the vegetation which improve fertility.
  2. The fire destroys all the grasses thus giving the farmer a weed, free seedbed on which to plant.
  3. The fire clears the land which is to be cultivated thus reducing the need of labor.
  4. Because the trees are only pollarded, they are given the chance to regenerate more quickly.
  5. Burning may improve the physical condition of some soils because the heat causes the soil to crack thus allowing water to infiltrate more easily.


  1. If the surface of the vegetation is destroyed, the amount of humus in the soil will be used.
  2. In the burning, all the organic carbon, nitrogen and sulphur in the vegetation will destroyed and so will not be available in the soil.
  3. Not all the ash will pass on the nutrients, it contains since some will be washed away in the fast rains.
  4. The loss of the surface cover of vegetation over an area ten times of an area will face erosion in the surrounding areas.
  5. The vegetation will gradually deteriorate in quality since large mature tree doesn’t have a chance to develop fully.
  1. The chopping and carrying of large values of wool involves a lot of exhausting working a year settled agriculture would make of it unnecessary

Its best developed and almost confined to Asia countries like china, India, Pakistan and Korea.

The farming is intensive so as to support the dense people. It sometimes referred to as oriental agriculture; it’s divided into major types:

Oriental agriculture is divided into major types:

-wet rice cultivation (wet paddy)

-Dry farming.



-Very small due to fragmentation over generation .the land extremely small and often uneconomical to run

-Farming is very intensive. The peasant is so land-hungry at every tillable land is used for agriculture.

-The swampy areas are drained the drier areas are irrigated and the slopes are terraced to suit rice cultivation

-The crops are mainly to support the family and very little is for scale

Manual labor is mostly used in many cases, pouching is done by buffows and the rest work by family members.

-They mostly use simple tools like sticks.

-Generally, only one crop i.e. rice is obtained each year and the land is left to fallow however where the population density is high and water supply is in plenty, to crops of rice can be grown in a year.

-There is little development of animal farming: this is because keeping of animals requires a lot of land which is not available and so the keep very few sheep and goats although poultry keeping is common.

-Fishing is carried out in the ponds and floored paddy areas.

-There is liberal use of animal and plant monaural.

-Every available type of manure including animal waste, dung and human excrete used as fertilizers i.e. in china

They also use artificial fertilizers


Due to the relief climate and other geographical reasons, it’s not possible in many parts of Asia to grow paddy rice.

Therefore other crops that can be grown there include wheat, barley and soybean which are grown in North Korea, north china and north Japan.

In the less fertile and drier areas Bama, crops like millet maize, cotton and oilseeds are cultivated i.e. sunflower.


. Just like paddy cultivators, the land is intensively utilized.

  1. A lot of manual labor is used
  2. There is little use of modern equipment
  3. The crops grown are meant to support families.
  4. The crops grown are mainly used to support the family and very little is for sale.
  5. They are a variety of manure and fertilizers.
  6. Irrigation is widely practiced.


Its specialized commercial cultivation of crops whereby one type of crops is grown over a large area. In this type of agriculture, the mechanism is common.

Examples include;-

  • Sugarcane in natal (S.A)
  • Rubber in Malaysia and Liberia
  • Coffee in Brazil
  • Pineapples in Hawaii
  • Tea in Sri Lanka
  • Kenya highlands (Keriwo tea estate)

Most of these plantations are found in tropical and equatorial land, where the climate is suitable 4 growing such crops.

Rubber estate of Malaysia and Liberia are owned by foreign companies i.e. Firestone Company from Britain while the sugarcane plantations in West Indies are owned by the French

The farms are scientifically managed and they have skilled labor as well as high use of the mechanism. The products are carefully processed on plantations and standardized to meet the world market.

It requires a lot of capital to begin and maintain a plantation transport system and other social services have to be valued and many workers have to be paid i.e. that’s why most plantations are owned by either foreigners or governments of respective countries.


-It creates employment opportunities for too many people i.e. managers, clerks.

-It earns the country revenue through taxation.

-There is a large output because the area is under large scale production.

-It leads to industrial growth especially in the processing of the plantation crops i.e. sugarcane plantation have led to the development of sugar mills and vagaries, rubber plantations have led to the development of fire industries.

-Plantations are well supplied with social services such as schools (education), transport and hospitals which have led to the development of the areas where such plantations situated.

-Foreign exchange is earned through exportation of the agricultural products.

-Plantation farms discourage rural-urban migration since areas around or near plantations are developed and provide employment opportunities.

-They encourage research on the crop to be grown. The research that is encouraged may be diseased and high yielding varieties encourage out-growers.


-Monoculture leads to soil exhaustion.

Price fluctuation on the world market which demoralizes farmers.

-Crop diseases easily attack and spread through the plantation since its one crop.

-Plantations are expensive to start and maintain.

-They attract most of the able-bodied workers and there for small scale production of food crops.

-Most of the plantations are owned by foreigners who take all the profits back to their homelands. There is a lot of competition from other producers who produce similar products i.e. synthetic materials from petroleum bi-products and other substitutes.

-Natural hazards like strong winds like hurricanes, hailstorms.

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