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    agricultural practices

    Types of Agricultural Practices | Pros and Cons

    What is Agriculture

    Agriculture is the process of cultivating the soil, growing crops, and raising livestock. It involves the production of plant and animal products for people to use and for distribution to markets. Production of most of the world’s food and fabric is dependent on agriculture today. Apart from regular grains, cereals, fruits, and vegetables, cotton, wool, and leather are also agricultural products. Agriculture is also responsible for providing wood for construction, furniture, and paper products. Agriculture has been referred to as the basis of revolution as it has played a significant role in human civilization.

    The processes and methods of agriculture have greatly evolved over the period of time. In the early 1900s, an average farmer in the U.S. produced food to feed a family of five only. While today with the help of advanced technology and modern agriculture methods, the same piece of land can be utilized to feed hundreds of people. This enormous increase in the productivity of agricultural products has been made possible because of scientific advances and research in this area.

    Different Types of Agriculture

    Owing to advance research, farmers are now aware of the different types of agricultural practices to choose the best suitable practice for their land, climate conditions, and types of plants. The most practiced types of agriculture in the world today are:

    Pastoral Farming

    Pastoral farming is basically the herding of farm animals. It is one of the most ancient types of farming practices. The lands where this type of agriculture is practiced is basically good for the cultivation of grass and weeds which can grow easily without any nutritive support from the soil. Because, these lands are not suitable for growing crops, fruits, or vegetables, therefore are utilized by growing animals fonder and using animals as the product of agriculture, which includes mostly sheep. This is because sheep can feed on grasses and can adapt to cold and humid environments.

    Pros of Pastoral Farming

    Some of the advantages of pastoral farming are, it can be practiced in dry regions with minimal burden on ground water it involves the rearing of animals, therefore natural fertilizer is available in form of animal manure.

    Cons of Pastoral Farming

    Risk is always higher when the major source of agricultural income is associated with animal products, since they are always at risk of catching certain diseases, hence pastoral farming poses high financial risk for the farmers. 

    Shifting Agriculture

    Shifting agriculture is the process of cultivating of crops on forest lands after clearing or burning the forests. People have been practicing farming on forest lands until the lands lose their fertility. On average these lands can be used for cultivation for up to five years, before they lose their fertility. When this happens, the farmers move to some other piece of land and continue their agricultural practices on new fertile lands. This farming is mainly used to produce grains. Although shifting agriculture is now discouraged due to its adverse effects on the environment.

    Pros of Shifting Agriculture

    Since in this type of farming, farmers utilize the natural minerals of the soil, hence they do not need to invest on fertilizers, saving them of the cost. Also, the practice of burning forests before cultivation reduces the chances of pest infestation hence saving the farmers from the cost of pesticides too.

    Cons of Shifting Agriculture

    Since shifting agriculture is done naturally, without the use of synthetic fertilizers hence it results in lower yields. This type of agriculture is now discouraged owing to the risk it poses with the eradication of natural forests and the carbon footprints being generated by the frequent burning of forests.

    Subsistence Farming

    Subsistence farming only focuses on the needs of the farmers and their families. Hence, it is a small-scale process that involves growing food in limited quantities with low input but at constant a rate. This type of farming is done with old and traditional methods, without the use of modern technology and advanced practices

    Pros of Subsistence Farming

    Subsistence farming is one of the cheapest and most cost-efficient types of agriculture, which is used by farmers to fulfill the needs of their own families only. It is a source of employment for native farmers.

    Cons of Subsistence Farming

    Since subsistence farming is done at a very small scale, hence it results in insufficient yield and offers less crop diversity. It is also at high risk of getting affected by climate change because farmers at such low levels of cultivation do not make any efforts to save their crops from adverse climate conditions. 

    Commercial Agriculture

    Commercial or industrialized agriculture is basically done with the purpose of selling agriculture produce as a commercial commodity. It is one of the most used types of urban agriculture. It needs large areas of land to produce high-quality crops and trees in huge quantities. Some of the most in-demand commercial crops are tea, coffee, rubber, coconut, grapes, mangoes, apples, avocado, and palm-oil.

    Pros of Commercial Agriculture

    Due to being produced in high numbers with modern agricultural practices, commercial agricultural products are produced in less production costs, which results in less prices for the consumers. 

    Cons of Commercial Agriculture

    Since the demand for commercial crops are very high hence, higher quantities of synthetic fertilizers are used to produce them, which takes away some of the natural nutrients from the products.

    Intensive Farming

    The most utilized type of agriculture in the world today is intensive farming. It is practiced in tropical regions with high rainfall to produce crops on a large scale in order to support the country’s economy

    One of the most common examples of crops cultivated through intensive farming is rice, It serves dual purposes, as it can be used as food and also for export to other regions in order to earn revenue. 

    Intensive farming is practiced in several regions around the world including centeral America, south and north Africa, Asia, and several regions of the Middle East.

    Pros of Intensive Farming

    Intensive farming always allows high yields with easy farm supervision, hence it’s way more economical than any other type of agricultural business. It is sought to be highly environment-protective for using the natural minerals of the soil and taking advantage of the naturally occurring climate conditions.

    Cons of Intensive Farming

    Since the basic purpose of intensive farming is to earn revenue from agricultural produce, hence it sometimes causes the increased use of chemicals and fertilizers to meet the targets of production. Which then results in higher risks of contaminated products.

    Summary

    Although there are many types of agriculture being practiced by farmers and industrialists around the world according to their needs, land, and climate conditions, it is mainly Intensive farming that is being practiced by the largest percentage of the world’s people. This is because with the shift to modernization and urban lifestyle, almost everyone today prefers to buy their food from the markets, instead of growing it on their own as it was preferred in previous days, this is the fact which has given rise to the practice of intensive farming.

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