Out of the many important things needed for the survival of life, food holds an important place. The primary source of food is agriculture. Not only is providing food the sole task agriculture is done for, in fact, but it is also one of the most important economic activities as well. The different economic activities are broadly categorized into three types- primary, secondary, and tertiary.
Primary activities include the extraction of raw materials from the earth’s surface. The main primary activities are hunting, food gathering, pastoralism, fishing, forestry, mining, and agriculture.
Secondary activities include the processing of raw materials and converting them into finished goods of higher value. The main secondary activities are industries, such as making steel from iron ore and weaving cloth.
Tertiary activities include all types of services that support primary and secondary activities. The main tertiary activities are transport, trade, education, banking, insurance, and advertising.
With a basic knowledge of different categories of economic activities, it is imperative that we delve into agriculture, the factors influencing it, and its effects on society.
As mentioned, agriculture is a primary activity and is closely related to the natural environment. The term agriculture has been derived from the Latin words ‘ager’ meaning soil and ‘culture’ meaning cultivation. Though we are living in a highly technical and industrial-driven world, still more than half of the world’s population is directly or indirectly engaged in agriculture. Humans have also developed various means and techniques to increase agricultural production. This was done to meet the increasing demand for food for the growing population.
FACTORS INFLUENCING AGRICULTURE – The methods of farming, types of crops grown, and the amount of production vary from place to place. This is due to changing environmental conditions. Following are the factors that affect agriculture at a place :
- Relief- Land on which crops are grown is known as arable land. The lowlands such as river basins, flood plains, and deltas are more suitable for the growth and development of agriculture than the highlands. In the lowlands, the dense population not only provides adequate and cheap labour, but also a ready market for farm products.
- Climatic conditions- The climate of a place plays an important role in agriculture. The hot and humid climate favors agriculture. This is the reason that cultivation is possible almost throughout the year in the equatorial and tropical regions. In the winter season and colder regions, the temperature is too low for plant growth.
- Soil- The soil not only supports the plant but also acts as a medium to supply moisture and nutrients to the plant. Porous soil is soft and can be tilled easily. Clayey soil has high moisture- retentive capacity.
- Economic factors – The economic factors include the availability of farm inputs, adequate and cheap labor, transport facilities, markets, and loans for the farmers. The main farm inputs are seeds, fertilizers, machinery, and labor. Other important factors are the system of land tenure, land use, availability of farm machinery, and technological developments.