This is the type of farming where farmers grow mainly one type of crop on a large scale mainly for commercial purposes and year after year E.g. Sugar Estates (Kakira, Kinyara, Lugazi), Tea Plantations (Kasaku), Sisal (Kagera in Tanzania).
Characteristics / features of plantation farming:
It is highly specialized (i.e. a single type of crop is grown).
There is a high level of mechanization like use of tractors
There is a high output.
It employs many people from the communities
Products are normally grown and processed for export.
Products are normally processed on the farm to increase their value and profit.
They mainly concentrate on perrenial crops only
High quality products are produced due to improved methods of farming e.g use of fertilizers
Advantages of plantation farming:
Many labourers are employed and this reduces unemployment.
Governments get a lot of revenue through taxation of the product and labour force.
On spot processing increases the value of produce and hence higher profits.
Governments earn foreign exchange due to export of the products.
Machines are economically used due to large sizes of farms.
There is regular supply of produce because management is centralized and efficient.
Workers become skilled as they specialize in the production of one commodity.
It promotes growth of industries because they act as a source of raw materials.
Stimulates the development of infrastructure in an area e.g. roads, schools, hospitals etc.
Wastes / By – products are used for other purposes e.g. feeding cattle, manufacture of alcohol etc.
The owner benefits from large scale production (economies of scale) e.g. reduced transport costs).
High quality products is produced because processing is carried out on the farm.
Disadvantages of plantation farming
Plantations require a lot of capital to establish and operate.
Most plantations are foreign owned and the owners send nearly all the profits to the countries of the expense of the host country.
Pests and diseases can cause serious damage.
It may result in heavy losses as they crop prices fluctuate; so earnings are not predictable.
It requires a lot of land which is not easy to get.
Monoculture destroys the soil structure and exhausts the soil.
Growing one crop accumulates pests and diseases which necessitates use of expensive chemicals to control them.
It has a negative effect on food production since it emphasizes cash crop production.
The many jobs created increase congestion of workers and social problems e.g. prostitution, illegitimate children etc.
At times owners get a challenge of getting enough skilled and unskilled labour.
Any slight mismanagement may cause heavy losses.
Owners take some time to earn money due to long gestation period of most plantation crops.