Agriculture (NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 4 Notes)

Wheat Stalks
Agriculture (NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 4)
There are three activities involved in the transformation of a plant to the finished product. These are
  1. Primary activities: all those activities concerned with the extraction and production of resources such as agriculture, fishing and gathering.
  2. Secondary activities: all those activities connected with processing of these resources such as steel manufacturing, weaving and baking of bread.
  3. Tertiary activities: all those activities which provide support to primary and secondary activities such as transport, insurance and consultation.

  1. Agriculture is a primary activity. More than 50 per cent of Indian workforce work in agriculture and allied sectors.
  2. Topography, soil and climate play a vital role in agriculture.
  3. The land which is suitable for growing crops is known as arable land. India has the highest arable land in the world.

AgricultureCultivation of crops
SericultureCommercial rearing of silk worms
PiscicultureFish farming
ViticultureCultivation of grapes
HorticultureCommercial farming of fruits and vegetables.

Farm System
  1. Agriculture or farming can be seen as a system.
  2. Some important inputs are seeds, fertilisers, machinery and labour.
  3. Some important processes or operations are ploughing, sowing, irrigation, weeding and harvesting.
  4. Major outputs are crops, wool, dairy and poultry products.

Types of Farming
On the basis of labour and technology, farming can be classified as subsistence farming and commercial farming.

Subsistence farming
  1. It is practised to meet one's own and family need.
  2. Lower kind of technology used.
  3. It is labour intensive.
  4. Most of the family members work as labour on the farm.
  5. It can be further divided as intensive subsistence and primitive subsistence farming.

Intensive subsistence agriculture
  1. One cultivates a small piece of land by hand tools and extra labour.
  2. Good climate and fertile soil allow growing more than one crop on the same piece of land.
  3. Rice is the main crop. Other crops include wheat, maize, pulses and oilseeds.
  4. It is prevalent in monsoon regions of South and Southeast Asia.

Primitive subsistence agriculture is of two types shifting cultivation and nomadic herding.

Shifting cultivation
  1. It is mostly practised in thickly forested areas of Amazon basin, tropical Africa, parts of southeast Asia and Northeast India.
  2. These areas are known for heavy rainfall and quick regeneration of vegetation.
  3. In shifting cultivation, a plot is cleared by felling and burning trees, ash is mixed with soil, crops are grown and after few years when soil loses its fertility, the land is abandoned to allow vegetation to grow and another parcel of land is cleared for the purpose of agriculture.
  4. Maize, yam, potatoes and cassava are usual crops.
  5. It is also known by the name of slash and burn agriculture.
  6. Further, it is also known as Jhumming in Northeast India, Milpa in Mexico, Roca in Brazil and Ladang in Malaysia.

Nomadic Herding
  1. It is practised in semi-arid and arid regions of the world such as Sahara and Central Asia.
  2. In India, it is practised in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir.
  3. Herdsmen move from place to place in search of fodder and water in a definite route. This movement corresponds to the change in climatic conditions.
  4. Sheep, camel, yak and goats are mostly reared through this type of herding.
  5. Milk, meat, wool, and hides are major end products.

Commercial Farming
  1. Crops are grown and animals are reared on a large scale for the market.
  2. Machines, high yielding seeds and fertilisers are used.
  3. It can be further classified as grain farming, mixed farming and plantation agriculture.

Commercial grain farming
  1. Crops such as wheat and maize are grown on a commercial scale.
  2. It is practised in temperate grasslands of North America, Europe and Asia.
  3. These areas are sparsely populated and extreme cold conditions can restrict production to one crop a year.

Mixed farming
  1. The land is used for growing food and fodder crops along with rearing livestock.
  2. Mainly practised in Europe, United States, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

  1. A single crop like tea, coffee, sugarcane, cashew, rubber, banana or cotton is grown.
  2. Both labour and capital demands. Produce is processed in nearby factories.
  3. Good connectivity with the market is essential for this type of farming.
  4. Mostly found in the tropical region of the world. Example, a rubber plantation in Malaysia, Coffee plantation in Brazil and Sugarcane and tea plantation in India.

Major Crops
Major food crops: wheat, rice, maize and millets.
Major cash crops: tea, coffee, sugarcane, jute and cotton

  1. Rice is the staple diet of tropical and sub-tropical regions.
  2. It requires a high temperature, high humidity and high rainfall.
  3. It grows best in alluvial clayey soil which can retain water for a long time.
  4. China, India, Japan, Srilanka and Egypt are the leading producers.
  5. In West Bengal and Bangladesh, rice is grown 2 or 3 times a year.

  1. It requires moderate temperature and rainfall during growing season and sunshine at time of harvest.
  2. It grows best in well-drained loamy soil.
  3. USA, Canada, Argentina, Russia, Ukraine, Australia and India are leading wheat producers.
  4. In India, wheat is grown in winter (rabi) season.

  1. Jowar, bajra and ragi are examples of millets.
  2. These are also known as coarse grain and can be grown on less fertile land.
  3. These require low rainfall and can withstand high temperature.
  4. India, Nigeria, China and Niger are major millet producers in the world.

  1. It requires moderate temperature and rainfall, and lots of sunshine.
  2. Well-Drained soil is suitable for the growth of maize.
  3. It is mostly grown in the United States, Canada, Brazil, China, Russia, India, and Mexico.
  4. It is also known by the name of corn in some parts of the world.

  1. It requires high temperature, light rainfall, and 210 frost-free days along with bright sunshine.
  2. It grows best on black and alluvial soils.
  3. China, USA, India, Pakistan, Brazil and Egypt are major cotton producers of the world.

  1. It requires high temperature, heavy rainfall and humid climate.
  2. It grows best on alluvial soil.
  3. It is mainly grown in the tropical region.
  4. India and Bangladesh are major Jute producers.
  5. It is also known as Golden Fibre.

  1. It requires a warm and wet climate with well-drained soil.
  2. It is best grown on hill slopes.
  3. Brazil, Columbia and India are the leading coffee producers of the world.

  1. It requires a cool climate and high rainfall.
  2. It grows best in well-drained loamy soils on gentle slopes.
  3. It is labour intensive.
  4. Kenya, India, China, Sri Lanka are known for their tea produce.

Agricultural Development
  1. It refers to the efforts made to increase agricultural production in order to meet growing world demands.
  2. It is achieved by 1. increasing cropped area, 2. increasing number of crops sown, 3. improving irrigation, 3. better use of fertilisers, 4. opting high of seeds and 5. adoption of newer farm technologies.
  3. The main goal is food security. Food security means when everyone has access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs.

Agriculture in India (A Case for Agriculture in Developing Countries)
  1. Usually, practice intensive agriculture.
  2. Smaller land holdings, mostly for subsistence farming. Typical farm size is 1.5 acre.
  3. Rice, wheat and pulses are mainly grown.
  4. In many parts, still dependent on older technologies such as bullocks for ploughing.
  5. Lack of storage facilities and forced to sell in unfavourable market conditions.
  6. Dependent on Government Mandis (Market) for right prices.

Agriculture in the United States (A Case for Agriculture in Developed Countries)
  1. Practice commercial farming.
  2. Larger land holdings. Typical farm size is about 250 acres.
  3. Maize, soybean, wheat, cotton and sugarbeet are major crops
  4. Scientific methods are applied. Some use computer data to plan the agriculture season.
  5. Modern technologies such as tractors, seed drills, leveller, combined harvester and thresher are used.
  6. Farmers have their own storage facilities and not dependent on Government to sell their product at the right price.
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