Types of Agriculture and Factors affecting it- Geography Guide for Class 8

Types of Agriculture and Factors affecting it- Geography Guide for Class 8

Information about Types of Agriculture and Factors affecting it


Factors Affecting Agriculture and its Types


Class 8


Class 8 Geography

Topics Covered

  • Factors affecting Agriculture
  • Physical or Geographical Factors
  • Economic Factors
  • Types of Agriculture
  • Subsistence Agriculture
  • Commercial Agriculture

Factors affecting Agriculture

Agricultural development is possible only in certain regions of the world. It is influenced by the various physical and economic factors.
They are:
  1. Physical or Geographical Factors
  2. Economic Factors

1. Physical or Geographical Factors


Plains are more suitable for agriculture than the highlands. Density of population is generally high in plains. This helps in providing cheap labour and market for farm products. Moreover, it becomes easier to use modern equipment on plain regions, whereas it is difficult to use machines on rugged topography. The river basins and deltas are more suitable for agriculture than mountainous regions.


Agriculture is highly sensitive to climate variability. Each crop has its own requirement of temperature and rainfall. That is why, the variation in climatic conditions supports different crop patterns. For example, wheat is a crop of temperate region and rice grows well in tropical regions. Growing season is long in equatorial and tropical regions as compared to the same in temperate regions.


Soil rich in minerals and organic matter supports agriculture. Chemical composition and fertility of soil differs from place to place which leads to variation in soil type. Each crop has its own requirement of soil. According to the soil type, a large variety of crops are grown in different parts of the world. Alluvial soil and black soil are the most fertile soils for agriculture. 

2. Economic Factors

Size of land holdings

The size of farms affects the agricultural pattern and the yield per unit hectare. In the densely populated areas of the developing countries, the farm size is generally very small due to growing rural population and the law of succession which leads to fragmentation of land. The small fields are mostly not economical.


The availability of labour has great influence on cropping pattern of a region. The labour requirement varies with different crops. In many parts of India, seasonal unemployment exists it rural areas, whereas during the periods of sowing and harvesting, there could be shortage of labour The farmers of Punjab greatly depend on migrant labourers for growing wheat and rice crops.


All agricultural inputs, like the HYV seeds, means of irrigation, fertilisers, pesticides hiring labour, machines, land lease, fodder, fuel, power and veterinary services, require capital. The cultivation of commercial crops using new technologies requires more capital than required in the traditional way of cultivation. 

  • HYV seeds stand for High Yield Variety seeds. These seeds can produce up to ten times more crops than regular seeds on the same area of land. These seeds have shorter lifecycle and enable the farmers to practise multiple cropping. The HYV seeds, specially for food grain crops, were developed by scientists basically to improve food supplies and reduce famine in developing countries.

Types of Agriculture

Due to varying environmental conditions in the world, many patterns of agriculture have emerged. Basically, they depend upon the terrain, climatic conditions and economic background.
  • Broadly, agriculture maybe divided into two categories, i.e. Subsistence agriculture and Commercial agriculture.
Before we discuss them into detail, let us have a look at the following classification.

Subsistence Agriculture

It is the earliest type of farming which is carried out at small scale by a farmer to grow food for personal or community consumption. In this type of agriculture, farmers grow a wide range of crops based on the anticipated needs of their families or the community. Many farmers trade their excess crops and livestock for buying required goods. This type of agriculture is still common in less developed parts of the world. Subsistence agriculture includes nomadic herding, shifting agriculture and intensive subsistence agriculture.

1. Nomadic herding

People migrate along with their animals from one place to another in search of fodder for their animals. Generally, they rear cattle, sheep, goats, camels and yaks for milk, skin, meat and wool. It is common in parts of Central and Western Asia, East and South-West Africa and Northern Eurasia. In India, Bhotiyas and Gujjars are the nomadic tribes of Himalayas.

2. Shifting agriculture

Shifting agriculture is also called slash and burn agriculture. After the soil loses its fertility, the land is abandoned and the cultivators move to a new plot. People cultivate the land with simple tools. Per hectare yield is low. People who follow shifting agriculture do not lead a settled life. It is prevalent in dense forests of tropical Africa, South-East Asia and some parts of North-East India. Crops like cassava, Maize, sweet potato and tapioca are grown in this type of farming.

  • Jhumming is a type of shifting agriculture practised in North-East India, especially in Mizoram. It is man's primitive method of harmonising land and climate with his need for food along with a habitat shared with wildlife. 

3. Intensive subsistence agriculture

This type of agriculture is characterised by high output per unit of land. Although the nature of this agriculture has changed and in many areas, it is no more subsistent, still the term 'intensive subsistence' is used to describe the agriculture practised on small plots of land in thickly populated parts of the world, especially in the Monsoon regions of South, South-East and East Asia. The peasants are so land hungry that every bit of tillable land is utilised for agriculture. There is intensive use of land, multiple cropping, heavy use of manual labour, but a little use of farm machinery and variety of manures and fertilisers. During recent decades, intensive agriculture has registered a significant improvement due to mechanisation and use of improved seeds and fertilisers. The countries like China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Korea, Philippines and Taiwan have adopted improved system of intensive agriculture. 

Commercial Agriculture

Commercial agriculture is typically done on a very large scale with the purpose of selling the produce in the market to make profits. Therefore, farmers select and sow a single crop according to the natural (geographical) and market conditions of the region. It is a specialised form of agriculture which is practised on very large size farms. It is also called crop specialisation. This type of agriculture is broadly divided into extensive agriculture, plantation agriculture, livestock ranching and dairy farming.

1. Extensive agriculture

It is practised in developed countries, such as Australia, Canada, Russia and USA. Agriculture is done on a large scale on big land holdings by using modern machines. It is generally practised in sparsely populated regions, where land is available in abundance and the input of labour is less. Total production is large but per hectare yield is comparatively less. Farmers mostly raise one or two crops a year for marketing. Corn, oats, wheat and oilseeds are the main crops of extensive agriculture. Proper storage facilities are required to store the yield.
  • When animals are reared along with the cultivation of land, it is known as mixed farming.
Both food crops and fodder are cultivated. This gives a boost to the income of the farmers. It is common in Argentina, Eastern USA, New Zealand, South Africa, South-East Asia including India, South-East Australia and Western Europe.

2. Plantation agriculture

Plantation is a large farm or estate usually in a tropical or sub-tropical country, where crops are grown for sale in distant markets rather than local consumption. It is a very well-organised system of agriculture wherein a single crop farming is done. Under this system, benefit of single crop is obtained continuously for several years. It requires huge capital investment, scientific method of farming, transport facilities, efficient management and skilled but low cost labour in large number. Plantation agriculture is commonly practised in hot and humid regions of the world. It includes crops like coffee, rubber and tea. Most of the processing work is done at the plantation site itself.

3. Livestock ranching

Livestock ranching is also a part of commercial agriculture. It is the commercial grazing of farm animals over an extensive area. It is mostly adapted in arid or semi-arid temperate regions where the soil is too poor to support crops, and the population is sparse. This activity is common to the grasslands of America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The ranches are usually fenced with barbed wire. The major types of livestock are sheep, cattle, goats and horses. The livestock products, such as meat, wool, hides, skins, etc., are chiefly exported to different parts of the world.

4. Dairy farming

It is a specialised form of agriculture for the large scale production of milk. It is a labour intensive activity. Worldwide, India is the largest milk producer and New Zealand is the largest cow milk exporter.

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