Subsistence farming

Subsistence farming

The types of agricultural system in the world are commercial,modern large scale and traditional or subsistence or small scale and these include;Extensive farming,ranching, paddocking,Nomadic pastoralism,horticulture,floriculture,market gardening, plantation farming,Arable irrigation,cooperative farming,factory farming,truck farming,shifting cultivation,rotational bush fallowing,collectivization.

A sketch map of the world showing types or systems of agriculture

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Subsistence farming

This is the growing of crops and rearing animals on a small scale for domestic or home use.It is mainly practiced in the tropical equatorial regions. Less developed countries by peasants in rural areas. It includes shifting cultivation,rotational or bush fallowing. Nomadic pastoralism,intensive subsistence farming.

Characteristics of subsistence farming 

  • Farms cover a small area like five acres.
  • The farms are scattered or fragmented.
  • They use traditional methods of farming or simple technology.
  • They use mixed and inter-cropping like maize with beans,G.nuts and soya.
  • They mainly grow food crops like cassava ,millet and maize.
  • They grow cereal and annual crops which are harvested in a year.
  • They use family labour because of small plots.
  • There is law production for subsistence purposes.
  • They depend on natural environment, physical factors.

Shifting cultivation

This is a subsistence method of farming involving farmers moving from one place to another when the soil loses fertility. It is mostly practiced in sparsely populated areas like equator regions, the tropics e.g .Zambia, DRC, Brazil ,Argentina ,Zimbabwe, India, Indonesia and Venezuela.

Characteristics of shifting cultivation.

  • There is bush burning during clearing land.
  • Movement of people from one place to another after a loss of fertility.
  • They have temporary settlement patterns.
  • They grow crops for subsistence purposes.
  • They grow cereal and annual crops like maize, millet.
  • They uses imple technology like hoes, pangas
  • They specialize in growing food crops.
  • They use barter system of trade.
  • They grow some few cash crops.
  • They are found in sparsely populated areas.
  • They use communal and ownership for easy movement.
  • They depend on nature and physical
  • Factors with no improvement and little attention.
  • The land regains fertility by abandoning.
  • They use family labour because of small plots.
  • They uses imple and traditional technology.

Importance/effects of shifting cultivation.

Positive advantages:

  • Source of food like cereal and annual crops reducing on dangers of hunger, multrution and food imports.
  • Mixed and inter-cropping reduce on soil exhaustion e.g.Beans and maize.
  • The farmers get enough time for other activities like hunting, fishing ,art and craft.
  • It is less expensive because of using simple tools like hoes, pangas using family labour.
  • Bush burning destroys pests and diseases, weeds and it adds soil nutrients like potash.
  • The land regains fertility naturally by abandoning,there is nouse of fertilizers.
  • The cracks created by burning and during cultivation encourages the penetration of airand water for the living organisms in the soil which helps in soil formation.
  • Provision of employment opportunities like the farmers leading to increased standards of living like Zambia, Brazil, India.

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