Agriculture Class 7 Geography Notes Maharashtra State Board
In the picture shown, we see a standing crop, a plowshare, etc. From this, it becomes obvious that this is a farmer’s house. A farmer keeps hens, sheep, goats and cattle. They are also seen in the picture. He gets milk, eggs, etc from them. He sells hens, and goats to earn money. He does all this for his subsistence. All these occupations depend on natural factors. All these fall under agriculture. These occupations are supplementary to the cultivation of crops.
Agriculture has a wide scope. For our basic needs of food and clothing, we make use of plants and animals. Besides the cultivation of different crops, rearing cattle, sheep, and goats, maintaining poultry farms, keeping bees, sericulture, horticulture, orchards, pisciculture, pig farming, emu farming, etc. are included in agriculture. In agricultural occupation, resources like manpower, animals, implements, etc. are used. Advanced technology is employed. In agriculture, the cultivation of crops is considered to be the main and most important occupation.
In the above pictures, we see the changes in agricultural practices. In the past, primitive man had to wander in the forest to sustain himself on the collected forest produce. Later he learnt the art of cultivation and started getting greater production from the land. Through this, he could provide for the whole year’s need for food grains. He also started obtaining several products through floriculture, horticulture, rearing animals, pisciculture, etc. Abandoning nomadic life, he undertook different occupations related to agriculture at the same place. Now let us get introduced to the different occupations that come under the scope of agriculture. We use the products of these occupations in our everyday life. These traditional occupations are allied activities in agriculture.
Rearing different animals and obtaining various products from them for subsistence is the core of animal husbandry.
Cows, oxen, buffaloes, etc. are reared for agriculture-related work. Rearing milch animals and animals which can be employed in farming is also an occupation. It is considered to be an inseparable part of mixed farming. It has become quite commercial in recent times. In India, it has started changing recently. Commercial dairy farming is mainly undertaken for meat and milk.
Sheep and Goat Rearing:
This is also a traditional occupation. That is generally carried out in hilly tracts and semiarid regions with dry climates. Sheep and goats survive on short grasses, shrubs, and acacia which grow in remote hilly rural areas away from urban settlements. In India, it is mainly used for meat. Sheep rearing is carried out to obtain wool.
Keeping hens and other fowl is a common practice in all parts of the world. It is a traditional occupation. Today, it is carried out as a household occupation and also on a commercial basis. Running poultry on a commercial basis requires a lot of care. For this, scientific methods are employed. In India, this occupation is generally located in the areas close to big cities as they provide a ready market for this occupation. In some areas, rabbit, pig, and emu rearing is also undertaken.
This occupation is undertaken to obtain honey and wax. Bees, to collect honey, hover around the plants that bear flowers. This promotes the process of pollination. As a result, the trees bear a large number of fruits and the crop yields increase. Beekeeping is an important occupation concerning agriculture.
Pisciculture (Fish farming):
Farm ponds are dug out for this purpose. Water is stored in such ponds. Fish seeds are released in the ponds. For this, seeds of freshwater species are used. To achieve the best growth of fish, scientific methods are employed. Fishing in open seas has several risk factors. Different types of fish and other aquatic organisms get caught in the fishing nets. Separating them becomes a major task. All organisms do not fetch the same price. All these factors led to the rearing of specific types of fish species separately. Pisciculture developed out of these efforts. Wam, Roha, Rawas (Indian Salman), Kolambi (Prawns), etc. are reared in fish farms.
Silk thread is obtained from the cocoon of the silk moth. These threads are very fine and strong and from these one can weave soft silk cloth. Getting silk thread from cocoons and manufacturing silk cloth are independent occupations. They are not included in agriculture. Different organizations supply silk moth eggs to the farmers. Leaves of mulberry trees are the main food for these silkworms. Once planted, the Mulberry trees survive for a minimum period of 15 years. Hence, the expenditure of planting the trees every year is saved.
In the last few years, the area under floriculture, cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants, and horticulture have increased. These plantations require a high standard of seedlings, cuttings, bulbs, and seeds. This has led to the development of nurseries. Nurseries give good returns.
Greenhouse farming facilitates getting the maximum product from the land. It can have total control over natural factors like climate, heat, atmospheric moisture as well and soil moisture. It assists in getting maximum economic benefits. Greenhouse farming is a highly specialized type of farming of the modern era. For erecting a greenhouse galvanized iron pipes and plastic sheets are used. Its main aim is to control the pest attack by controlling water, light, and temperature. Greenhouses are used on larger scales for growing flowers like lily and gerbera to give maximum economic returns.
Types of Farming
Different types of agriculture have evolved due to geographical and cultural diversity, and technological differences in different regions. The type of farming depends upon the purpose and aims of methods of farming, the crops being cultivated, the techniques used, land use, etc. Broadly, the following types of agriculture can be identified:
Intensive farming and shifting cultivation are the two types in traditional farming. Intensive farming has been carried out on the same farm for years together. In shifting cultivation, every year a new area is chosen for cultivation. After a specific period, old areas are again used for cultivation.
Getting maximum production from a minimum area is the characteristic of intensive farming.
- Due to the large population or limited availability of land, per head holding is small.
- This type of farming is mostly seen in developing regions.
- Farm production is sufficient only for the requirements of the family.
- In this type of farming, the cultivator and his family are dependent on farming.
- As farm production is low, the economic condition of the cultivator is also poor.
- In this type of farming mostly animate energy is used.
- Besides the cereals, vegetables are also grown to some extent.
Shifting cultivation is a primitive type of cultivation. This type of cultivation is practiced in the tropics in densely forested areas or hilly tracts. The farmer initially selects a piece of land in the forest. To make it cultivable, he clears the land by cutting down the trees, and plants, and removing the shrubs and grass. Once the cut trees dry out, he burns them. The leftover ash gets mixed in the soil and acts as manure. Sowing and harvesting is done before the rainy season. The production obtained from this is not sufficient to fulfill the food requirement. Hence people undertake hunting, fishing and gathering of bulbs and roots from forests. In this type of farming, the fallow period is longer than the crop period. After the productivity of the land depletes in two to three years, a different piece of land is selected for cultivation.
Extensive grain farming and plantation agriculture are the two major types covered under commercial farming.
Extensive Grain Farming:
- Farm size is greater than 200 hectares.
- Due to the large farm size and sparse population in the region, this type of farming is carried out with the help of machines like tractors and crushers. Pesticides are sprayed with the help of helicopters or planes.
- Monocrop (a single crop) cultivation is the striking characteristic of this type of farming. The crops are wheat or corn. Besides these, barley, oats, soybeans are also cultivated to some extent.
- Heavy capital investment is necessary for this type of farming. Since huge expenditures are needed for the purchase of machinery, fertilizers, pesticides, godowns, transport costs, etc.
- The problems in extensive grain farming are droughts, attacks by pests, locusts, etc., and market fluctuations.
- This type of farming is carried out in the temperate grassland regions.
- Farm size in plantation agriculture is 40 hectares or above.
- As plantation agriculture is practiced in hilly tracts, the use of machines is not possible, and hence local manpower becomes important.
- The crop for which the geographical conditions are favorable is planted. This is a single-crop cultivation practice too.
- This type of agriculture does not produce food grains. Only commercial crops like tea, rubber, coffee, coconut, cocoa, spices, etc. are planted.
- This type of farming began and spread mostly during the colonial period. It is practiced in the tropics.
- This type of farming requires large-scale capital investment due to the long duration of crops, use of scientific methods, exportable production, processing, etc.
- Climate, manpower, deterioration of the environment, and economic and managerial problems are the major issues faced by this type of agriculture.
- This type of agriculture is practiced in India and other South Asian countries, Africa, South, and Central America, etc.
Market gardening is a type of cultivation developed in modern times. This has developed mainly as a result of urbanization and the ready markets available in urban centers. Farmers cultivate vegetables and another item in the vicinity of urban centers to cater to the demands of city dwellers. This type of cultivation works on a principle of economics – demand and supply. The landholding is small. Use of irrigation, organic and chemical fertilizers, low investment, use of manpower, the demand of markets, use of science and technology, etc. are the characteristics of market gardening. It is dependent on a good transport network. The quality and price of the product are determined by rapid transport. Hence, this type of farming is also known as ‘truck farming’.
Cultivation of flowers and fruits is a subtype of market gardening. Fruits and flowers are the major products of this type of farming. In this type of farming modern as well as traditional methods are used. The size of farms is small and every plant is cared for properly.
In recent times, the use of irrigation, chemical fertilizers, greenhouses, etc. is being made to get more profit. Major products of horticulture are flowers like lily, gerbera, tulip, dahlia, chrysanthemum, marigold, etc. These fetch a good price in the market. Different native and exotic fruits like mangoes, custard apples, grapes, bananas, pomegranates, dragon fruits, cherries, oranges, raspberries, strawberries, mulberries, etc. are cultivated in fruit farming at places like Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani, Pune, Nagpur, Jalgaon, Nashik etc. Countries having Mediterranean climates, France and Italy are famous for horticulture.
The nutrient requirements of the crops are fulfilled by soil and therefore, replenishment of used-up nutrients is necessary. Nutrients are also used abundantly to increase the yield. Organic fertilizers are prepared for this purpose.
- The litter should be decomposed in the ground.
- Grasses like sesbania or jute are also buried in the soil to make manures
- Cowdung and compost manures are used.
- Vermicompost is obtained from organic waste.
When farming is done using all vestal matter mixed in the soil it is called organic farming. For controlling pests, organic pesticides like neem can be used. The crop obtained from organic farming is high in quality. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not used in such a type of farming.
Agrotourism is a new field in tourism. In the tropics, various types of agricultural products are cultivated. Hence there is greater scope for agrotourism. In agrarian countries rural life, local customs, and culture are utilized for agrotourism. City dwellers are curious about the farmer’s life and environment. Many of them visit rural areas just to see this. Agrotourism is financially beneficial for the farmer and his village.
Observe the pictures of some fruits and vegetables given in the figure. After the discussion, you may have realized that those fruits and vegetables that look fresh and attractive may not have been ripened using proper methods. At times, to get the produce earlier, artificial chemicals, and pesticides are employed profusely. These facilitate quicker production and the produce appears fresh and attractive. However, such products are harmful to health. Also, they do not last long after purchase.
Marketing systems are necessary for making the goods produced by the farmers available to the consumer at a fair price and in time. The importance of marketing systems in countries like India will become clear from the following points.
Agriculture in India is scattered over vast areas. All farmers are not organized. Most of the farmers are economically weak and cannot market their production on their own. That is why, the system of Agricultural Produce Market Committees is established at the taluka level. At these places, farmers bring their produce and sell to the traders. As farm produce is perishable, there has to be a proper arrangement for its sale. Institutes like farmer’s organizations, consumer societies, etc. help in this task and try to protect farmers from exploitation by agents, mediators, and others.
Some of the farm produce is directly used by industries as raw materials. International markets are now becoming easily available for farm produce due to globalization. Many progressive farmers are using modern technology in their farms. Also, they sell the produce with proper packaging. Hotels and malls also require agricultural produce on a large scale. By advertising on the internet, their products get sold in local as well as international markets.
Israel is a major exporter of fresh farm produce. It is the most advanced country as far as agricultural technology is concerned. It has an adverse climate, severe scarcity of water, and more than half its land is occupied by hot deserts. But, overcoming all these unfavorable conditions and persistently following the path of modernization of agriculture has taken a giant leap in the field of agriculture.
Well-structured Maharashtra State Board Class 7 Geography Notes Agriculture can reduce anxiety during exams.