With the passage of time, man has managed to create several different processes to cultivate and treat the land, since it is known that this component has been necessary for the subsistence of man since its inception on earth. One of these techniques is known by the name of agriculture , an activity that aims to be able to produce food products of plant origin.
Agriculture is the art and science of being able to cultivate the land , to produce the crops and breeding the cattle . It includes the preparation of plant and animal products for use by people and their subsequent distribution to markets.
- What does it consist of
- Characteristics of agriculture
- Agriculture in the world
- Agriculture books
- Main products of agriculture
What does it consist of
Over the centuries, the growth of agriculture has contributed significantly to the rise of civilizations . Agriculture is a type of economic activity that is located in the primary sector and consists of all those activities that can modify the environment to make it more suitable with the main objective of being able to increase the productivity of the soil and thus achieve greater quantities of food either for direct consumption or for later, these foods are used in industrial treatments to generate added value.
Characteristics of agriculture
Among the main characteristics of agriculture the following aspects are mentioned:
- It is a type of economic activity that is based on the exploitation of resources that originate from the earth.
- The world’s food depends on it .
- It depends on the climate and the techniques that are used to be able to convert the land into fertile soil.
- It is studied and analyzed through agronomy .
- When done in a disorderly and indiscriminate way, it can have a serious impact on the environment.
- It uses different types of chemical products and fertilizers in order to improve the natural processes of the soils.
Before agriculture became mainstream, people spent most of their time foraging for food, hunting wild animals, and gathering wild plants. About 11,500 years ago, man gradually learned to grow grains and roots , and settled into a life based on agriculture . At the same time, when people started farming, they also started raising wild animals.
The agriculture and science had its first important moment during the Stone Age , in the period Neolithic . It was at this time that men began to work the land, thus giving rise to agriculture and with it, the first crops of products such as wheat and barley. All these changes produced a greater and better availability of food and with them, sedentary life was put aside to create more complex societies , divisions of work and different norms of coexistence. The peasants cultivated smallplots by hand and used axes and sticks to till the land.
Over time, agricultural tools made of bone, stone, bronze, and iron were developed. New storage methods were developed and the inhabitants began to accumulate food in clay jars and pits for use in times of scarcity. They also began to make clay pots and other containers to transport and cook food. Around 5500 BC, Mesopotamian farmers succeeded in creating different irrigation systems and farmers were able to settle in areas previously considered unsuitable for agriculture.
As the Romans expanded their empire, they adapted better agricultural methods and even wrote various manuals on the agricultural techniques they observed in Africa and Asia. In China , agricultural tools and methods were adapted from nearby empires. Many medieval European farmers used an open field planting system which allowed them to conserve nutrients in the soil and increase crop production.
In the 15th and 16th centuries , explorers introduced new varieties of plants and agricultural products to Europe . From Asia, they brought coffee, tea, and indigo, a plant used to make blue dye. From America they brought plants such as tomatoes, corn, beans, peanuts, and tobacco.
The classification of agriculture depends on the types of analysis criteria. These divisions are as follows:
Depending on the production volumes.
- Subsistence agriculture : its objective is to be able to have a lower level of production to be able to feed a community with few people.
- Industrial agriculture : produces larger volumes of food and occurs in industrialized countries. Its objective is to guarantee that the needs of the inhabitants of a place can be satisfied.
Depending on the importance of water in production.
- Irrigated agriculture : in it, the irrigation system is of utmost importance and is provided by the farmer using either artificial or natural methods.
- Rainfed agriculture : in this type of agriculture, humidity is necessary to establish production. This humidity must be provided by the soil and by the rain without the person who sows intervening.
Depending on the means of production .
- Extensive agriculture : this type of agriculture is based on caring for the soil because the areas where it is harvested is quite large but the production levels are low.
- Intensive agriculture : it is a type of agriculture that seeks to produce food in mass and in large quantities but using a small space of soil, which turns out to be very harmful to the environment.
Depending on the technique and the objective .
- Industrial agriculture : its main objective is to be able to obtain large quantities of food and then be able to market it.
- Ecological agriculture : it is a type of agriculture that aims to protect the environment and protect the soil through various types of technologies more appropriate for the purpose.
- Traditional agriculture : uses techniques and various procedures considered indigenous to a place.
- Organic agriculture : it is also called ecological agriculture and in it production systems are created that maintain the geobiological characteristics of the soils as well as the distributions that the plant species have.
There are several small tools that are usually used in less extensive agriculture, for example shovels, rakes, hoes, pruning shears, watering cans, sprayers, etc. All of these tools continue to be important because they can significantly reduce the time needed by farmers to perform different types of agricultural tasks .
At present, there are a large number of machines that can be used to cultivate the land and to practice agriculture. Below is a list of the most used tools.
- Tractor , a machine that works by towing agricultural implements.
- Combine harvester , one of the most efficient devices that reduces labor and production costs.
- Plow , a small equipment to be able to make furrows in the ground and to level the ground.
- Sprinkler , a piece of equipment that is necessary to spray crops.
- Fertilizer to add fertilizers and fertilizers to the soil.
The advantages of agriculture depend on the type of process that is carried out to produce the products. Among the main advantages of agriculture are the following:
- Agriculture can have a very high productivity .
- Short- term and long-term goals can be achieved .
- It is a system that can use all the technological tools that are available.
- You can use different types of seeds for the production of crops.
- When organic farming is practiced , the health of the soils can be improved and also less pesticides and chemicals are used .
Some of the main disadvantages of agriculture are mentioned below:
- Products agrochemicals used in agriculture may have cost very high .
- The environmental impacts can be negative and significant.
- It can get to produce a high contamination in the soils .
- Some agricultural products can have quite low nutritional indices .
- There is the use of many chemicals in crops .
- The use of herbicides and pesticides can lead to parasite attacks that destroy underground microbial life .
- The pesticides can come take a long time to degrade causing pollution in the environment .
Agriculture in the world
Although they have developed several methods to practice agriculture in the world, world production and yields of crops have been affected with the passage of time. This decrease has been generated because the demand for agricultural products has been reduced. Agriculture has also had to face a series of challenges caused by the reduction of spaces to cultivate, by climate change and by the latent need to use production processes that are more sustainable.
Perhaps the greatest challenge facing agriculture is managing to increase the yield of production as such in order to cope with the growth of the world population. Experts consider that crops must be renewed and the search for new varieties of seeds continues to trend.
Agriculture is of the utmost importance for all countries because in addition to being one of the main means by which a population can be fed , it is one of the main ways to improve the economy of a given place. With this, new employment opportunities are opened and also contributes to the income of the nation . Agriculture is also the way in which a country can generate income through exports and thereby help reduce the balance of payments .
Some books that talk about agriculture as a science are the following:
- Organic Farming by Youngsang Cho
- Planting of crops in conventional and organic agriculture by Joaquín Marín Gómez, Roberto García López, Julio Pérez Marín and José Banegas Ortiz.
- Associate crops in the organic garden by Claude Aubert.
- Transgenic crops for Latin American agriculture by Carlos A. Blanco.
Main products of agriculture
There are many products that can be grown through agriculture, among them we find rice, wheat, barley, corn, sweet potatoes, bananas, cassava, soybeans .