Agriculture refers to using land or other resources to produce food either by plantation or cultivation of land for crops or by rearing livestock and other animals for consumption or trade.
Agriculture is also one of the earliest commercial activities known to mankind. Based on the geographical location, agriculture can assume different forms. In some places it can mean vast fields of crops, in others it means intensive care of orchards or dairy or poultry farms. Agriculture also involves growing plants for medicinal purposes, used in production of medicines. Many economies across the world are primarily agriculture based. This being a primary commercial activity, a large part of the population around the world is dependent on agriculture for its livelihood, mostly in the emerging economies.
Types of farming
- Shifting cultivation – in certain regions, a part of cultivated land is given over to forestation after a period and another plot of land taken up, since the land is devoid of nutrients after a number of crop seasons.
- Intercropping – Multiple types of crop are grown on the same land at the same time to utilise the resources in the best possible way. E.g. coconut and pineapple are often grown together.
- Multiple cropping – where multiple crops are grown in a sequence to make the most efficient use of the land as per the seasonality of crops. Vegetables are usually grown in multiple schedules. This is also common in cultivation of beans, pulses and grains.
- Tilling –it’s the first step towards crop cultivation. Land is tilled to loosen the earth and make it more breathable and absorbent.
- Sowing – the seeds or saplings are then sowed.
- Irrigation – plants need water air and sunlight for growth. In non-rain fed areas of seasons, regular irrigation has to be ensured.
- Maintenance – regular spraying of pesticides to keep the crop pest free and feeding of fertilizers for a good growth of crops is the next part of the cultivation till the crops grow.
- Reaping and harvesting- once the crops are ripe, they need to be harvested, and stored.
Agriculture plays a very important role in providing nutrition to people and animals alike.