Agriculture - Term Overview

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Agriculture - known also as farming - is the human activity aimed at combining different procedures and knowledge in the treatment of the land, with the aim of producing food of plant origin, such as fruits, vegetables, vegetables, cereals, among others.

Agriculture is an economic activity that is within the primary sector, and it includes all those acts carried out by man, tending to modify the environment that surrounds it, to make it more suitable and thus generate greater productivity of the soil, and obtain food both for direct consumption or for subsequent industrial treatment, generating added value.

Agriculture proper had its first boom in the Stone Age, in the Neolithic period, although its beginnings go back to prehistory, developed independently by various cultures. The men who until that moment in nomadic form, relied on an economy based simply on hunting, fishing and gathering, began to work the land, giving birth to agriculture and obtaining their first crops such as wheat and barley, and incorporating livestock as another fundamental activity for the sustenance of life in society.

The adoption of agriculture meant structural changes within the societies that incorporated it, since the greater availability of food allowed demographic growth, and made possible the development of a sedentary life, becoming increasingly complex societies, with greater division of work, new norms of coexistence, and with greater development of artisan and commercial activities.

Farming carried out indiscriminately and irresponsibly can have a very serious impact on the environment. In recent decades, there has been a worrying growth in intensive production at an industrial level, and in the use of different chemicals and fertilizers that alter the natural growth processes in food and their impact on the health of consumers.

Types of agriculture

The different classes of agriculture can be classified taking into account different 4 analysis criteria:

1. By production volumes:

  • Subsistence agriculture: Its objective is to obtain a low level of production, with the sole purpose of feeding a stable and small community of people, therefore it doesn't produce great wear and tear on the ground.
  • Industrial agriculture: It consists of the production of large volumes of food from the soil, typical of industrialized and developing countries. This practice has the objective not simply to guarantee the satisfaction of the needs of the community but also to commercialize the surplus, as is the case with agricultural food exports abroad.

2. Because of the importance of water in production:

  • Irrigation: In this type of agriculture, an irrigation system provided by the farmer, using natural or artificial methods, is essential.
  • Non-irrigation: The humidity necessary for production is supplied by the rains and by the soil, without the intervention of the farmer.

3. According to the means of production used and their performance:

  • Extensive agriculture: The objective taken into account isn't so much the economic profit but the care of the soil, since large areas of land are used but low levels of production are obtained.
  • Intensive agriculture: Mass production is sought in a reduced floor space, being harmful to the environment. It's generally used in industrialized countries.

4. According to the technique used and its objective:

  • Industrial agriculture: This form of production is intended to obtain enormous quantities of food, with a view to its commercialization.
  • Ecological agriculture: This form of agriculture has as a priority the non-alteration of the environment and the care of the soil, using appropriate methods and technologies.
  • Traditional agriculture: It's characterized by using indigenous techniques and procedures of a certain region, extending in time and forming part of the culture of the place.

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