Factors of Subsistence and Commercial Agriculture To Be Known

Factors of Subsistence and Commercial Agriculture To Be Known

Subsistence Agriculture

What is subsistence Agriculture?

Subsistence agriculture can be defined as the type of agriculture in which a farmer produces food to feed himself and his family only. In other words, subsistence agriculture is a system of farming where a farmer plant, cultivate, and rears animals to provide food for the family.

Characteristics of Subsistence Agriculture

  • It is practiced by small-scale farmers.
  • Subsistence Farming requires a very small land to start up.
  • Subsistence Farmers need no specialization
  • They require very little capital to start up.
  • There is no or little use of agrochemicals e.g insecticides, pesticides, fertilizer, etc.
  • They depend on depending mainly on rainfall.
  • Subsistence farmers practice a mixed cropping system.
  • Subsistence farmer deals with unimproved varieties of crops and breeds of animals.
  • It provides only the basic needs of the family.
  • The return of subsistence agriculture is relatively small.
  • It doesn't require machines but family labor.
  • They provide food crops and little cash crops.

Problems of Subsistence Agriculture

There are some problems associated with Subsistence Agriculture which include;

  1. Inadequate Capital - This leads to low farm holding and the inability of farmers to buy farm inputs like seeds and others.
  2. No surplus for sale - This makes farmers poor since there is no one for them to sell as they will not be able to generate some money to expand their farm size.
  3. Crude tools are used - When tools like a hoe, axe, and cutlass are used, they result in. The low yield of farm products compared to farmers using tractors, plows, harrows, etc.
  4. Pest and Diseases - In subsistence farming pests and diseases are not controlled due to illiteracy which leads to low farm yield.
  5. Small farmland - Due to small farms, subsistence farmers won't have the ability to produce in large quantities and which leads them to be poorer.
  6. Low level of specialization - The subsistence farmers always involve themselves in mixed cropping which will make them have low yield because some plants go against themselves.
  7. Family Labour is unreliable - Since children are migrating to urban from rural areas, able men to work Illiteracy of Subsistence Farmers - Subsistence farmers have little bit no formal education, resulting in them not being able to read written instructions and being unable to adopt modern family techniques.

Commercial Agriculture

What is Commercial agriculture?

Commercial agriculture is the type of agriculture in which farmers produce in large quantities for them to sell and make money.

Attributes of Commercial Agriculture

  • Commercial agriculture involves very huge money to set up.
  • Commercial agriculture use hired labor to work.
  • Commercial farmers keep records.
  • Commercial agriculture uses agrochemicals such as fertilizer, pesticides, and insecticides to improve products.
  • Rich farmers are mainly the ones that practice commercial farming.
  • Irrigation and drainage system is used in commercial agriculture.
  • Commercial agriculture uses machines.
  • Commercial Agriculture needs a large number of land.
  • Commercial agriculture is based on planting mainly one crop. They don't practice missed cropping in commercial agriculture.
  • Improved varieties of crops and animal breeds are used in commercial agriculture.

Advantages of Commercial Agriculture

Commercial agriculture has a lot of advantages which include;

  1. Provision of Quality Products - Most products obtained from commercial agriculture are relatively of high quality.
  2. Provision of Cheap Product - As a result of bulk or mass production of products, farmers sell at a very cheap price because they are produced in large amounts.
  3. Encouragement of Research Works - Since commercial farmers want more improvement in their products, researchers also try to do some research to make their products better.
  4. Commercial Agriculture increases yield - As a result of chemicals used such as fertilizers, etc, and a large area of land, this increase the yield of crops.
  5. Provision of work - Since commercial Agriculture is mechanized, they need some people to operate the machine for them and some others to work manually.

Problems of Commercial  Agriculture

Everything that has advantage much also has some disadvantages too. Commercial agriculture has the following problems;

  1. High cost of Spare parts - The spare parts of machinery like tractors, and harvesters are relatively very expensive to buy.
  2. Soil erosion - The practice of commercial agriculture can lead to soil erosion due to heavy machinery.
  3. Inadequate skilled manpower - Farm machinery needs skilled manpower to operate but nowadays there is short of supply of skilled manpower.
  4. Inadequate technical know-how - Inadequate technical know-how on farm machinery has made commercial agriculture difficult.
  5. High capital of investment - Commercial farmers invest much in machinery and other inputs making commercial Agriculture more difficult.
  6. Unfavorable land tenure system - Unfavorable land tenure system doesn't allow commercial agriculture to be practiced.
  7. Inadequate supply of improved varieties of crops and animals
  8. Improper application of farm inputs - The application of herbicides, fertilizers, etc used for commercial agriculture could affect man and the environment by imposing some health hazards on people.
  9. Inadequate Storage Facilities - The storage facilities in commercial farming are inadequate, making some farmers waste their produce in large quantities due to the market lot moving fast.
  10. Inadequate marketing channels - Inadequate marketing channels for agriculture are inadequate in that farmers can't market their goods very well.
  11. Too much tax - Commercial farmers pay much tax with no subsidies in input which makes commercial agriculture hard to practice.

Difference between subsistence Agriculture and commercial agriculture

  • In subsistence agriculture, a small area of land is cultivated while a large area of land is cultivated in commercial agriculture.
  • Crude tools are used in subsistence agriculture while complex and modern tools are used in commercial agriculture.
  • Production in subsistence farming is mainly for family consumption while in commercial agriculture they are produced mainly for sale or export.
  • In subsistence agriculture, mixed cropping is usually practiced while mono-cropping is usually practiced in commercial agriculture.
  • Commercial agriculture needs storage facilities while in subsistence agriculture doesn't need storage facilities.
  • Subsistence requires little money to start up while commercial agriculture needs a huge amount of money
  • The return in subsistence agriculture is low while in commercial agriculture, the return is always high.
  • Pests and diseases are controlled in commercial agriculture while pests and diseases are not held in subsistence agriculture.

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