INTRODUCTION: Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life.. Agriculture is also observed in certain species of ant and termite, but generally speaking refers to human activities. The history of agriculture dates back thousands of years, and its development has been driven and defined by greatly different climates, cultures, and technologies. However, all farming generally relies on techniques to expand and maintain the lands suitable for raising domesticated species. For plants, this usually requires some form of irrigation, although there are methods of dry land farming; pastoral herding on rangeland is still the most common means of raising livestock. In the developed world, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture has become the dominant system of modern farming, although there is growing support for sustainable agriculture (e.g. perm culture or organic agriculture). Modern agronomy, plant breeding, pesticides and fertilizers, and technological improvements have sharply increased yields from cultivation, but at the same time have caused widespread ecological damage and negative human health effects.] Selective breeding and modern practices in animal husbandry such as intensive pig farming have similarly increased the output of meat, but have raised concerns about animal cruelty and the health effects of the antibiotics, growth hormones, and other chemicals commonly used in industrial meat production. The major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers, fuels, and raw materials. In the 21st century, plants have been used to grow biofuels, biopharmaceuticals, bioplastics, and pharmaceuticals. Specific foods include

as agricultural progress has been a crucial factor in worldwide socio-economic change. others in their society were freed to devote themselves to projects other than food acquisition. wool. So. The services sector has overtaken agriculture as the economic sector employing the most people worldwide. silk and flax. nursery plants. The history of agriculture has played a major role in human history. but have made great strides in the past century. one third of the world's workers were employed in agriculture. When farmers became capable of producing food beyond the needs of their own families. such as resins. fruits. crop rotation. and pesticides were developed long ago. hemp. as well as codified legal systems. and biodiesel. The total world population probably never exceeded 15 million inhabitants before the invention of agriculture. agricultural production accounts for less than five percent of the gross world product (an aggregate of all gross domestic products). History of agriculture Agricultural practices such as irrigation. tropical fish and birds for the pet trade are some of the ornamental products. too.cereals. Despite the size of its workforce. Fibers include cotton. and meat. Historians and anthropologists have long argued that the development of agriculture made civilization possible. In 2007. Raw materials include lumber and bamboo. Ancient origins . Other useful materials are produced by plants. Division of labor in agricultural societies made commonplace specializations rarely seen in hunter-gatherer cultures. vegetables. Cut flowers. Biofuels include methane from biomass. ethanol. are arts such as epic literature and monumental architecture. fertilizers.

New Guinea and several regions of the Americas. tomato. To complement these new sources of carbohydrates. with rice. Collectively. then hulled barley. bitter vetch. agriculture was developed independently in the Far East. but made few fundamentally new advances. soy and azuki. and several other plants were also developed in the Americas. Africa's Sahel. small-scale agriculture reached Egypt. chick peas and flax. ushered in the large-scale use of animals for food/fiber and as beasts of burden. organized irrigation. rather than wheat. Independent development of agriculture occurred in northern and southern China. monocropping. The Romans were noted for an emphasis on the cultivation of crops for trade. these new methods of farming and fishing inaugurated a human population boom that dwarfed all previous expansions and continues today. The eight so-called Neolithic founder crops of agriculture appear: first emmer wheat and einkorn wheat.The Fertile Crescent of Western Asia. resulting in some of the most important crops grown today. several varieties of bean. squash. By 7000 BC. By 6000 BC. In the same region. From at least 7000 BC the Indian subcontinent saw farming of wheat and barley. mid-scale farming was entrenched on the banks of the Nile. as was extensive terracing of steep hillsides in much of Andean South America. from its Persian Gulf delta to the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates. pepper. and India were sites of the earliest planned sowing and harvesting of plants that had previously been gathered in the wild. manioc. as irrigation had not yet matured sufficiently. By 5000 BC. lentils. lakes and ocean shores in these areas brought in great volumes of essential protein. This. Southern Greeks struggled with very poor soils. tobacco. Egypt. Maize. Domestication of wild aurochs and mouflon into cattle and sheep. and arrowroot were first domesticated in the Americas as far back as 5200 BC. the Sumerians had developed core agricultural techniques including large-scale intensive cultivation of land. The Greeks and Romans built on techniques pioneered by the Sumerians. peas. yet managed to become a dominant society for years. In Mesoamerica wild teosinte was . respectively. and the use of a specialized labor force.[27] The potato. The shepherd joined the farmer as an essential provider for sedentary and semi nomadic societies. About this time. particularly along the waterway now known as the Shatt al-Arab. as attested by archaeological excavation at Mehrgarh in Balochistan in what is present day Pakistan. Chinese and Indonesian farmers went on to domesticate taro and beans including mung. as the primary crop. highly organized net fishing of rivers. a parallel agricultural revolution occurred.

Coca. including marshelder and little barley were domesticated. one of the most important meat birds. and guinea pigs. It gradually spread across North America and was the major crop of Native Americans at the time of European exploration. in South America. Cocoa was also a major crop in domesticated Mexico and Central America.[30][31] Other wild foods may have undergone some selective cultivation. The most common varieties of strawberry were domesticated from Eastern North America. Before this period. the simplest form of the plough was developed. as well as animals. more than 6000 years ago.[28] Other Mesoamerican crops include hundreds of varieties of squash and beans. Sunflowers. including wild rice and maple sugar. For this method. called the ard. through excavations in Mexico it has been found that the continuous cultivating of smaller pieces of land would also have been a sustaining practice.[32] By 3500 BC. Additional research in central Europe later revealed that agriculture was indeed practiced at this method. Large varieties of beans were domesticated. simple digging sticks or hoes were used. appear to have domesticated numerous crops. still a major crop. These tools would have also been easier to transport.S. domesticated perhaps 5000 years ago. was also domesticated in the Andes. which was a benefit as people only stayed until the soil's nutrients were depleted.S. Southwest. including llamas. ards were thus much more efficient than digging sticks. tobacco. A minor center of domestication. the indigenous people of the Eastern U. as well as crops no longer grown. was probably domesticated in Mexico or the U.] varieties of squash and Chenopodium. The turkey. In the Andes region of South America the major domesticated crop was potatoes. However. alpacas.transformed through human selection into the ancestor of modern maize. Middle Ages .

Modern era After 1492. Key crops involved in this exchange included the tomato. In the European medieval period. coffee. the Near East. a global exchange of previously local crops and livestock breeds occurred.During the Middle Ages. seed stocks and cultivar had so improved that yield per land unit was many times that seen in the . machines such as norias. water-raising machines. and Europe began making use of agricultural technologies including irrigation systems based on hydraulic and hydrostatic principles. maize. the horse (including donkeys and ponies) and dog quickly filled essential production roles on western-hemisphere farms. This combined with the invention of a three-field system of crop rotation and the moldboard plow greatly improved agricultural efficiency. agriculture was considered part of the set of seven mechanical arts. manioc. maize and manioc have replaced traditional African crops as the continent's most important staple food crops. agricultural techniques. and sugar cane going from the Old World to the New. Since being introduced by Portuguese in the 16th century. and several varieties of wheat. By the early 19th century. Although not usually food animals. cocoa bean and tobacco going from the New World to the Old. spices. farmers in North Africa. The potato became an important staple crop in northern Europe. The most important animal exportation from the Old World to the New was those of the horse and dog (dogs were already present in the pre-Columbian Americas but not in the numbers and breeds suited to farm work). potato. dams. implements. and reservoirs.

Israel. and farm subsidies. It takes a decade or two for herbicide-resistant weeds to emerge. farming tasks could be done with a speed and on a scale previously impossible. corn. Germany. fertilizers. Although there is a vast and interesting history of crop cultivation before the dawn of the 20th century. For example. pesticides. there is little question that the work of Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel created the scientific foundation for plant breeding that led to its explosive impact over the past 150 years. and insects become . particularly as population increases and food demand expands. Between 1700 and 1980. Integrated pest management (IPM). particularly in the form of the tractor. In the past century agriculture has been characterized by enhanced productivity. However. which "has been promoted for decades and has had some notable successes" has not significantly affected the use of pesticides because policies encourage the use of pesticides and IPM is knowledge-intensive. With the rapid rise of mechanization in the late 19th century and the 20th century. concerns have been raised over the sustainability of intensive agriculture. particularly because of selectively bred high-yielding varieties. and there has been increased concern over the effects of fertilizers and pesticides on the environment. Intensive agriculture has become associated with decreased soil quality in India and Asia. the substitution of labor for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. The monocultures typically used in intensive agriculture increase the number of pests. and wheat provide 60% of human food supply. "the total area of cultivated land worldwide increased 466%" and yields increased dramatically. and a few other nations to output volumes of high-quality produce per land unit at what may be the practical limit. and machinery. irrigation increased corn yields in eastern Colorado by 400 to 500% from 1940 to 1997.Middle Ages. The Haber-Bosch method for synthesizing ammonium nitrate represented a major breakthrough and allowed crop yields to overcome previous constraints. The genetic "yield potential" has increased for wheat. but the yield potential for rice has not increased since 1966. water pollution. These advances have led to efficiencies enabling certain modern farms in the United States. which are controlled through pesticides. yield increases have not occurred in the past 15–20 years. and the yield potential for maize has "barely increased in 35 years". Although the "Green Revolution" significantly increased rice yields in Asia. In recent years there has been a backlash against the external environmental effects of conventional agriculture. resulting in the organic movement. irrigation. The cereals rice. Argentina.

without causing severe or irreversible damage to ecosystem health. Agricultural exploration expeditions. Crop rotation helps to prevent resistances. since the late 19th century. It is the study oftherelation of agricultural crops and environment. agriculture does not exist as an isolated entity. and Korea from 1929-1931 to collect soybean germplasm to support the rise in soybean agriculture in the United States. Two early examples of expeditions include Frank N. It refers to the ability of a farm to produce food indefinitely. but as part of an ecology of contexts. the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. 1 Agro-ecology provides an Interdisciplinary framework with which to study the activity of agriculture.and nutcollecting trip to China and Japan from 1916-1918 and the Dorsett-Morse Oriental Agricultural Exploration Expedition to China. SA integrates three . Japan.resistant to insecticides within about a decade. (The long-term effects of various practices on soil properties and processes essential for crop productivity) and socio-economic (the long-term ability of farmers to obtain inputs and manage resources such as labor). Sustainable Agriculture Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology. In this frame work. Agro-ecology draws upon basic ecological principles for its conceptual framework. it is the study of the role of agriculture in the world.2 two key issues are biophysical. TYPES OF AGRICULTURE Agro-ecology Broadly stated. Meyer's fruit. have been mounted to find new species and new agricultural practices in different areas of the world.

Economics Socioeconomic aspects of sustainability are also partly understood. agriculture that is inefficient or damaging to needed resources may eventually exhaust the available resources or the ability to afford and acquire them. the best known analysis is Netting's study on smallholder systems through history. incurs a different set of energy cost for materials. farm profitability. Regarding less concentrated farming. labour. such as pollution as well as financial and production costs. where appropriate. The way that crops are sold must be accounted for in the sustainability equation. and prosperous farming communities. Food sold at a remote location. • • • • Satisfy human food and fiber needs Make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate. considering effect on all stakeholders in a 360 degree approach. Urban agriculture/ Peri-urban agriculture .main goals: environmental stewardship. organizations such as Food Alliance and Protected Harvest have started to provide measurement standards and certification programs for what constitutes a sustainably grown crop. whether at a farmers' market or the supermarket. and transport. natural biological cycles and controls Sustain the economic viability of farm operations Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole. It may also generate negative externality. The Oxford Sustainable Group defines sustainability in this context in a much broader form. Sustainable Agriculture in the United States was addressed by the 1990 farm bill. as consumer and retail demand for sustainable products has risen. More recently. Given the finite supply of natural resources at any specific cost and location. Food sold locally does not require additional energy for transportation (including consumers).

Community gardening in most communities are open to the public and provide space for citizens to cultivate plants for food or recreation. This effort was undertaken by citizens to reduce pressure on food production that was to support the war effort. town or city3. and herb gardens in US. History of urban agriculture Community wastes were used in ancient Persia to feed urban farming. Victory gardens sprouted during WWI. Allotment gardens came up in Germany in the early 19th century as a response to poverty and food insecurity. second. Canada. a village. . In Machu Picchu water was conserved and reused as part of the stepped architecture of the city and vegetable beds were designed to gather sun in order to prolong the growing season. WWII and were fruit. it increases the amount of food available to people living in cities. Urban farming is generally practiced for income-earning or food-producing activities though in some communities the main impetus is recreation and relaxation. The grass roots Perm culture movement has been hugely influential in the renaissance of urban agriculture throughout the world. it allows fresh vegetables and fruits and meat products to be made available to urban consumers. Urban agriculture contributes to food security and food safety in two ways: first. processing and distributing food in. vegetable.An urban farm in Chicago Urban agriculture is the practice of cultivating. A community gardening program that is well-established is Seattle's P-Patch. and. or around (peri-urban). and UK.

Low income urban dwellers spend between 40% and 60% of their income on food each year. 250 million hungry people in the world live in cities. Organic Agriculture Organic agriculture refers to the concept and practice of agricultural farming which is a ecologically sustainable system focused on production using biological processes. . 800 million people are involved in urban agriculture world-wide and contribute to feeding urban residents.] By 2015 about 26 cities in the world are expected to have a population of 10 million or more. To feed a city of this size – at least 6000 tonnes of food must be imported each day.Urban agricultural facts A tidy front yard flower and vegetable garden in Aretxabaleta. Organic agriculture avoids the use of synthetic pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMO) and emphasizes on sustainable agriculture to maintain the fertility of the soil as well as the health of the livestock raised without drug. the Basque Country • • • • • 50% of the world’s population lives in cities.

Diversity . and usually involves the following criteria: altering or changing the natural environment (removing trees. The principle of managing the top soil to create a permanent organic soil cover can allow for growth of organisms within the soil structure. This process will not allow pests such as insects and weeds to be set into rotation with specific crops. irrigation (watering). installing an irrigation system. Conventional agriculture most commonly practiced in the United States. or planting one crop (ex: only corn is grown in a plot). The third and final principle that is exercised by the FAO is the practice of crop rotation with more than two crop species. etc . stopping erosion. the plot is bare again and requires cultivation (tilling and plowing of the soil). The first key principle in CA is practicing minimum mechanical soil disturbance which is essential to maintaining minerals within the soil. and harvesting all over again. and preventing water loss from occurring within the soil. The breaking down of this mulch will produce a high organic matter level which will act as a fertilizer for the soil surface. Rotational crops will act as a natural insecticide and herbicide against specific crops.mono-cropping.after harvesting.Conservation Agriculture Conservation Agriculture is a concept for resource-saving agricultural crop production that strives to achieve acceptable profits together with high and sustained production levels while concurrently conserving the environment” (FAO 2008)5. This growth will break down the mulch that is left on the soil surface. planting. fertilization. tilling the soil.the crops grown are nonrenewable. The second key principle in CA is much like the first principle in dealing with protecting the soil.

and oceans. Industrial agriculture requires huge amounts of innovation in agriculture machinery and their utilization. Properties of Industrial Agriculture: Monoculture. these chemicals are not only poisonous to insects. they also pollute ground water. Using inorganic fertilizers to provide nutrients to the soil a lot of energy and work for the farmer to maintain this unnatural farming system. large amounts of irrigation water and creates new markets for consumption. The method of industrial agriculture is used mostly in the developed countries. . nature is more aligned with diversity (it wants to be wild). animals and humans. Industrial agriculture Industrial agriculture is defined as a modern form of capital intensive farming in which the machinery and purchased are substituted for the labor of human beings and animals. synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. rather than controlled and uniform.is eliminated in order to maintain uniformity using insecticides and pesticides to keep insects and animals from eating the crops. Monoculture is the procedure of growing a single crop year after year. rivers. genetic technology. It reduces the production costs significantly and thus help the farmer to earn a higher share of profit. streams.Industrial agriculture derives its profits from economies of scale that is achieved through practicing monoculture.

a huge amount of fertilizers is also required.Industrial agriculture is practiced over large arable lands. and for application of information by farmers. Bio-dynamic agriculture/ecological agriculture . This needs a huge amount of livestock also. artificial intelligence systems. remote sensing. Practiced frequently. grid soil sampling. for data analysis or processing through Geographic Information System (GIS) and decision technologies as process models. industrial agriculture has a tendency to get attacked by pests and weeds. This technology saves money while holding or enhancing yield output of the field. and expert systems.In United States. yield monitoring. However the practice of monoculture is frequently discontinued. almost all major commodity crops are grown under industrial agriculture.In the absence of crop rotation. Unhealthy livestock. Precision agriculture Precision Farming is a new technology that allows farmers to look at their fields more site specifically than before and apply inputs in a manner more specific than a blanket application.Pest prone. Often the livestocks are kept in filthy conditions thus making them susceptible to communicable diseases. This asks for huge reliance on pesticides and other chemicals to get rid of them. Precision agriculture uses ICT to cover the three aspects of production namely for data collection of information input through options as Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite data. For similar reasons. etc. Environmental pollution is also be reduced using this method6.

Cultivation (the preparation of land for planting crops) on the plot is done for a few years. Regarded by some proponents as the first modern ecological farming system. and provide a burst of nutrients for planting. drive away pests. For this reason. 3. and using the ashes to provide nutrients to the soil for use of planting food crops. 2. emphasizing balancing the holistic development and interrelationship of the soil. plants. treats farms as unified and individual organisms. also known as swidden. 4. animals as a closed.Biodynamic agriculture. The cleared area following slash and burn. Methods unique to the biodynamic approach includehe use of fermented herbal and mineral preparations as compost additives and field sprays and the use of an astronomical sowing and planting calendar. Prepare the field by cutting down vegetation. first propounded by Rudolf Steiner). self-nourishing system8 . Planting is done directly in the ashes left after the burn. The downed vegetation is allowed to dry until just before the rainiest part of the year to ensure an effective burn. plants that provide food or timber may be left standing. is used for a relatively short period of time. Slash and Burn (swidden) agriculture Slash and burn agriculture is the process of cutting down the vegetation in a particular plot of land. Generally. until the fertility of the formerly burned land is reduced. the following steps are taken in slash and burn agriculture: 1. and then left alone for a longer period of time so that vegetation can grow again. The plot is left . setting fire to the remaining foliage. biodynamic farming includes organic agriculture's emphasis on manures and composts and exclusion of the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. this type of agriculture is also known as shifting cultivation. a method of organic farming that has its basis in a spiritual world-view (anthroposophy. The plot of land is burned to remove vegetation.

These regions include central Africa. Intensive agriculture Intensive farming or intensive agriculture is an agricultural production system characterized by the high inputs of capital. uses slash and burn agriculture. relative to the area of land farmed. northern South America. or up to 7% of the world’s population. Slash and burn is a method of agriculture primarily used by tribal communities for subsistence farming (farming to survive). to allow wild vegetation to grow on the plot of land. . Today. ever since the transition known as the Neolithic Revolution. uncontrollable pests. sometimes up to 10 or more years. low soil nutrient content. the slash and burn process may be repeated. the time when humans stopped hunting and gathering and started to stay put and grow crops. between 200 and 500 million people. which involve a relatively low input of labour. This is in contrast to many sorts of sustainable agriculture such as organic farming or extensive agriculture.000 years. Geography of Slash and Burn Agriculture Places where open lands for farming is not readily available because of dense vegetation are the places where slash and burn agriculture is practiced most often. so that it can be farmed indefinitely. and Southeast Asia. Humans have practiced this method for about 12. and typically within grasslands and rainforests. When used properly.alone for longer than it was cultivated. or heavy usage of technologies such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers relative to land area. Slash and burn allows for people to farm in places where it usually is not possible because of dense vegetation. soil infertility. When vegetation has grown again. slash and burn agriculture provides communities with a source of food and income. and which focus on maintaining long-term ecological health of farmland. or other reasons. labour.

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