Meaning and importance of agriculture

What is Agriculture?

Agriculture is the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products.

Agriculture means all the activities involved in rearing of animals and cultivation of crops for man’s and the nation’s benefits.

The word agriculture was derived from two Latin words which are ‘agar’ and ‘culture’ meaning ‘land’ and ‘cultivation’.

Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock.Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surplusesthat enabled people to live in cities. The history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs, sheep and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still depended on subsistence agricultureinto the twenty-first.

Modern agronomy, plant breeding, agrochemicals such as pesticides andfertilizers, and technological developments have sharply increased yields, while causing widespread ecological and environmental damage. Selective breedingand modern practices in animal husbandry have similarly increased the output of meat, but have raised concerns about animal welfare and environmental damage. Environmental issues include contributions to global warming, depletion of aquifers, deforestation, antibiotic resistance, and growth hormonesin industrial meat production. Genetically modified organisms are widely used, although some are banned in certain countries.

The major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers, fuelsand raw materials (such as rubber). Food classes include cereals (grains),vegetables, fruits, oils, meat, milk, fungi and eggs. Over one-third of the world’s workers are employed in agriculture, second only to the service sector, although the number of agricultural workers in developed countries has decreased significantly over the centuries.

Branches of Agriculture

There are seven different branches of agriculture by industry, these include

  • Aqua farming
  • Farming
  • Apiculture (Beekeeping)
  • Forestry
  • Fishing
  • Ranching
  • Whaling

Aquaculture: Aquaculture, also known as aqua farming, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the harvesting of wild fish. Broadly speaking, finfish and shellfish fisheries can be conceptualised as akin to hunting and gathering while aquaculture is akin to agriculture. Mariculture refers to aquaculture practiced in marine environments and in underwater habitats.

Farming: Farming is the growing of crops or keeping of animals by people for food and raw materials. Farming is a part of agriculture.

Apiculture: Beekeeping (or apiculture, from Latin: apis“bee”) is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, by humans. A beekeeper (or apiarist) keeps bees in order to collect their honey and other products that the hive produces (including beeswax, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly), to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers. A location where bees are kept is called an apiary or “bee yard”

Forestry: Forestry is the science, art, and craft of creating, managing, using, conserving, and repairing forests and associated resources, in a sustainable manner, to meet desired goals, needs, and values for human benefit.Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands.The challenge of forestry is to create systems that are socially accepted while sustaining the resource and any other resources that might be affected.The forest science has elements that belong to the biological, physical, social, political and managerial sciences

Fishery: Generally, a fishery is an entity engaged in raising or harvesting fish which is determined by some authority to be a fishery.A fishery is typically defined in terms of the “people involved, species or types of fish, area of water or seabed, method of fishing, class of boats, purpose of the activities or a combination of the foregoing features”. The definition often includes a combination of fish and fishers in a region, the latter fishing for similar species with similar gear types. A fishery may involve the capture of wild fish or raising fish through fish farming or aquaculture.

Ranching: Ranching is the practice of raising herds of animals on large tracts of land. Ranchers commonly raise grazing animals such as cattle and sheep. Some ranchers also raise elk, bison, ostriches, emus, and alpacas. The ranching and livestock industry is growing faster than any other agricultural sector in the world.

Whaling: Whaling is the hunting of whales primarily for meat, oil, and blubber. Its earliest forms date to at least circa 3000 BC.

IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE

Importance of Agriculture To Man

The three major importance of agriculture to man are

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter

Importance Of Agriculture To Nation

  • Provision of raw materials for agro-allied industries
  • Employment or job opportunity
  • Foreign exchange Earning
  • Source of income
  • Provision of market for industrial goods
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