Agriculture is engaged in the cultivation of land to produce products for human use and animal feed.
Nearly a third of the land area is devoted to primary activities such as agriculture, livestock and forestry. The types of agriculture are very diverse, but it is possible to classify them into two categories: traditional or modern.
Evolution of agriculture
Agricultural activities began more than 10,000 years ago during the Neolithic period. Since that time, humans have built villages near the fields and become sedentary. The first cultivated species were cereals : wheat in the Middle East and Europe, rice in Asia and corn in America.
The tools for agricultural labor were rudimentary. To plow the land, a piece of wood was first used. The hoe was then made. To cut off the crop and to harvest, at first they used their own hands and, later, the jaw bones of sheep; Then the teeth of cattle were laid on wooden supports and the sickles appeared. To grind the grains, hand grinders were used. Subsequently, the plow was invented.
From Antiquity to the Modern Age, about 90% of the population lived in the countryside, in small villages. In Europe and Asia, some of the fields were divided into small areas, where peasants worked for their own livelihood. But the greater part of the land was in the hands of a minority, who used slaves or servants for agricultural labor. Cultivation systems were rudimentary. The caster was used, that is to say, it was not sown in all the terrain, leaving each year a part of the land unproductive to rest.
The agricultural revolution
Until the eighteenth century, agriculture remained traditional and unproductive. Agriculture depended on nature’s cycles and was very vulnerable to disasters and climate change.
At the end of the eighteenth century, a true agricultural revolution began in techniques and production. The change began in the United Kingdom and, little by little, spread to the rest of Western Europe and to other countries, such as the United States. Most of Asia, Africa, and Latin America were out of the way.
Agricultural productivity has increased notably thanks to improved cultivation techniques and changes in agrarian structures.
Types of agriculture
The traditional agriculture is characterized by a certain technological backwardness, which is more dependent on physical factors. It uses traditional techniques and tools, such as the hoe, the sickle and the plow. Lives with livestock, which provides fertilizer to land. The effort that the farmer has to make is great, and the income of the land is rather low. This is usually a subsistence activity.
The modern agriculture is characterized by the use of technology, which reduces reliance on physical factors. Chemical fertilizers increase the fertility of the soil and make unnecessary coexistence between crops and livestock. The use of machinery requires less labor and facilitates the work of farmers, who achieve high productivity. Agricultural production, in this case, is usually intended for trade.