Types of Agriculture | Subsistence, Commercial, Characteristics & Differences

Subsistence Agriculture: Subsistence agriculture, often referred to as peasant farming, is a fundamental form of agricultural practice primarily aimed at producing food for the farmer’s own consumption and that of their family. This method involves the cultivation of crops and the rearing of animals on a small scale, utilizing basic and traditional tools such as […]

Subsistence Agriculture:

Subsistence agriculture, often referred to as peasant farming, is a fundamental form of agricultural practice primarily aimed at producing food for the farmer’s own consumption and that of their family. This method involves the cultivation of crops and the rearing of animals on a small scale, utilizing basic and traditional tools such as cutlasses, hoes, and axes. Subsistence farmers, who are typically economically disadvantaged, focus on meeting the immediate nutritional needs of their households rather than generating surplus for sale.

 

Commercial Agriculture:

In stark contrast, commercial agriculture is an extensive farming approach dedicated to the mass production of both food and cash crops for commercial purposes. This type of farming is characterized by large-scale operations conducted by financially affluent farmers. Complex and modern machinery, such as tractors, bulldozers, planters, and harvesters, is employed in commercial agriculture to enhance efficiency and maximize output for market distribution.

 

Characteristics/Differences Between Subsistence Agriculture and Commercial Agriculture:

A. Production Purpose:

    1. Subsistence Agriculture: Primarily produces for personal and familial consumption with minimal surplus.
    2. Commercial Agriculture: Focuses on producing crops and livestock primarily for sale in the market.

 

B. Scale of Operation:

  1. Subsistence Agriculture: Practiced on a small area of land.
  2. Commercial Agriculture: Conducted on a large scale, involving extensive land usage.

 

C. Labor Utilization:

  1. Subsistence Agriculture: Relies on family labor.
  2. Commercial Agriculture: Employs skilled and mechanized labor for efficient operations.

 

D. Management Approach:

  1. Subsistence Agriculture: Traditional management methods are employed.
  2. Commercial Agriculture: Adopts modern and scientific management practices.

 

E. Production Scale:

  1. Subsistence Agriculture: Small-scale production.
  2. Commercial Agriculture: Large-scale production to meet market demands.

 

F. Cost of Production:

  1.  Subsistence Agriculture: Low production costs.
  2. Commercial Agriculture: High production costs due to advanced technology and machinery.

 

G. Market Dependency:

  1. Subsistence Agriculture: Does not require organized markets for product sales.
  2. Commercial Agriculture: Relies on well-organized markets for the sale of its products.

 

H. Environmental Impact:

  1. Subsistence Agriculture: Low environmental degradation.
  2. Commercial Agriculture: High environmental degradation due to large-scale operations and intensive resource use.

 

I. Employment Generation:

  1. Subsistence Agriculture: Provides direct employment for family members.
  2. Commercial Agriculture: Employs skilled individuals for various tasks.

 

J. Crop Diversity:

  1. Subsistence Agriculture: Engages in mixed-cropping, cultivating various crops simultaneously.
  2. Commercial Agriculture: Often practices mono-cropping, specializing in the production of fewer crops.

 

K. Specialization:

  1. Subsistence Agriculture: No specialization, as farmers produce different types of crops and rear various classes of farm animals.
  2. Commercial Agriculture: Specializes in the production of specific crops and focuses on animal rearing.

 

L. Access to Credit:

  1. Subsistence Agriculture: Typically has no access to credit facilities.
  2. Commercial Agriculture: Enjoys access to credit facilities to support large-scale operations.

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