Subsistence and Commercial Agriculture; Characteristics, Advantages and Disadvantages

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Today we would be discussing and learning on Subsistence and Commercial agriculture

What is subsistence agriculture?
Subsistence agriculture is defined as the type of agriculture that is concerned with the production of food by a farmer to feed him and his immediate family.
In other words, subsistence agriculture is a system of farming where the farmer grow crops and rear animals in order to produce food for himself and his family only.

Characteristics of subsistence agriculture
1. It is mostly practiced by peasant farmers.
2. It involves a small area of land.
3. It involves the use of local tools eg hoe, cutlass etc.
4. There is no specialization.
5. It employs unskilled labour.
6. The harvest returns are small.
7. It usually involves the use of family labour.
8. It involves mainly the production of food crops alone.
9. It provides for the basic needs of the family.
10. There is little or no surplus for sale.
11. Mixed system of farming is usually practised.
Problems of Subsistence agriculture
1. Family labour supply is unreliable
As the result of rural-urban movement, there is little or no availability of members present to help.

2. Crude tools are used
This results in low yield since the use of these tools have limits compared to tractors ,ploughs etc.
3. Use of small farmlands
Small farmlands results in small yield.
4. No surplus for sale
5. Pests and disease are not controlled
6. Inadequate capital for investment
Due to the small farm holding and use of crude tools, there’s practically no capital for investment.

Commercial Agriculture
What is commercial agriculture?
Commercial agriculture is defined as the type of agriculture which is concerned with the production of food, animals and cash crops in large quantities for sale.

Characteristics of Commercial agriculture
1. Sole cropping system is usually practiced
2. It involves the cultivation of large hectares of land
3. It involve huge investments of capital
4. It involves the use of hired labour
5. Most operations are mechanized
6. It employes skilled labour
7. Output is usually high
8. Improved varieties of crops and breeds of animals are used
9. Records are kept for proper accountability

Advantages of Commercial agriculture
1. It increases yield
Owing to the use of a large area of land, there is an increase in farm yield.
2. Production of cheap products
As a result of mass production, the sale prices of products are usually very low and affordable.
3. Provision of quality products
A lot of skill and time is given to the production of the crops and animals, so there are usually of higher quality.
4. Specialization of labour
Commercial agriculture leads to specialization of labour because all operations are mechanized.

Problems or disadvantages of commercial agriculture
1. Problem of large acquisition of land
Large area of good fertile are not usually available for commercial agriculture.
2. It is expensive
A lot of money is involved because most operations are mechanized.
3. Harvesting is tedious
Owing to high yield, harvest is usually tedious and time consuming.
4. Problem of storage
There may be problem of storage due to over production.
5. Outbreak of pests and disease
As a result of cultivation of same crop continuously, there may be outbreak of pests and disease which will be devastating.
6. It can lead to soil erosion and pollution
As a result of the use of machines, it can lead to soil erosion and pollution of the environment.

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