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What is Agriculture, Really?

by Albert Makendenge

Agriculture is a big topic. It is a very broad topic that one person cannot possibly have all the answers to. Human beings are always learning, we are always on the hunt for answers and this article is meant just to do that, to provide a little bit of a quench to that thirsty search for answers to the most commonly asked agricultural questions.

  1. Why is agriculture important?
  • Agriculture plays a crucial role in the economy of developing countries and provides the main source of food, income and employment to rural populations. For many countries, agriculture is a leading economic activity
  • What are the branches of agriculture

There are five branches of agriculture:

  • Agronomy which focuses on soil and how different crops react to different kinds of soil.
  • Agricultural engineering which focuses on the various machines used in farming and how these machines work.
  • Horticulture which focuses on growing different varieties of fruits and vegetables.
  • Agricultural Economics which focuses on the business and finances of farming.
  • Animal Science which focuses on the right way to raise animals to maximize their utility.
  • What are the different farming systems?
  • Arable farming in which the farmer only plants crops like vegetables, grains or legumes.
  • Mixed farming which involves a mixture of both animal and crop husbandry
  • Shifting cultivation in which farmers clear up a piece of land, use it for 3 to 5 years and then abandon it when it has been used up.
  • Plantation farming one of the oldest farming systems in which a large piece of land is used grow one specific crop. Also known as tree crop farming.
  • Livestock farming which just like arable farming (focuses on crops only), focuses solely on raising animals.
  • Nomadic farming livestock farming which involves moving from place to place in search of fresh grazing pastures and water.

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