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Default Geography Two - Factors governing agriculture

FACTORS GOVERNING AGRICULTURE


INTRODUCTION

On consulting an agricultural map, it appears that a great contrast lies in agricultural production. There are places which are highly agricultural, there are others which are semi-agricultural and semi-industrial, and there are many places which are deprived of any type of vegetation. More amusing but less surprising is the fact that different crops are grown in different countries. No uniform variety of agriculture produce is found in all the countries. Nature of crops varies from place to place. This variation in agricultural production may lead man to discover reasons of such fact. A study reveals that agricultural production, like industrial products is not possible without the assistance of some factors. These factors may be economical, physical, political, human and traditional.

PHYSICAL FACTORS

Nature of Soil
If other conditions are favorable, soil is the most important agent of production. The plant life depends upon the quality of the soil. The nature of soil determines which plants will get free growth. In all soils many elements are found. To be fertile, soils must contain these elements in a suitable ratio.
Nature of soils varies from place to place, thus nature of crops varies accordingly. If the soil differs, the crop differs. If the soil is poor in organic matter, it will be poor in vegetation also; if rich in required elements, rich crops will grow in such soils. Sandy soils are generally less productive, on these soils only those plants can grow which require less water.
Black soil of Bombay and Deccan is specially favorable for the growth of cotton. Red soil in India is very much suitable for rice cultivation. Alluvial soils in both India and Pakistan are suitable for cash crops. Swampy soil found in Sunderaban areas is fertile but suitable only for mangrove vegetation and tall grasses.
Soils analysis show that some soils are soft and make ploughing easy, some are hard and impede the cultivation process. Some soils have more moisture retaining capacity, to nourish the roots of the plants when required. In some areas, soils are found which cannot retain water, thus the plants cannot grow unless artificial means of watering are arranged. The soil study also shows that some soils contain harmful elements, injurious to the growth of plants. Naturally no plantation can be expected unless some artificial manure, to remove them are applied to the soil. Fertile soils are also very common, on which plants grow and develop freely without much physical and monetary exertion. Thus, the observation of these facts may answer the question as to why different types of plants are found on different soils in different regions.

Climate
Another factor that affects agriculture is the climate. Climate varies from place to place and at the same time different crops grow well under different climatic conditions. One type of climate may be suitable for particular crop and unsuitable for the others. Some crops need more heat and some less. Some crops flourish in heavy rainfall and some grow and develop when they get less water.
Cultivation is not possible in freezing chill of polar regions and at the same time it is also difficult to raise the crops in the scorching heat of equatorial regions. To be more concrete, wheat requires temperate type of climate. Moderate rainfall, and cool and moist weather give better results. Rice require high temperature and heavy rainfall. For barley, drier and cooler regions are suitable. Maze grows well in the regions having frequent and light rainfall. Tea requires monsoon type of climate – high temperature and heavy moisture in summer. Tobacco best grows in tropical areas. Sugarcane thrives best in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Cotton grows well in the sub-tropical regions, it is also found in the tropical regions where rain varies from 20 to 40 inches. Jute grows in the regions having high temperature and high rainfall. Desert and semi-desert areas are suitable for the growth of date-palm.
A study of relationship of climate to the plant’s life shows that crops vary from one place to another, other conditions remaining the same, due to different climates found in different regions.

Water
Crops cannot grow unless they receive water for nourishment. Water is indispensable for the growth and development of plants. A glance at the rainfall map reveals that the degree of rainfall is not uniform everywhere. It differs from place to place. Different countries get rain in varying degrees and at different times. Research on plant’s life also shows that crops, no doubt need water, but all the crops do not require water in the same degree and at the same time. Therefore, crops vary from region to region, according to the degree and time of rain that a country gets.
Next important thing is that there are some countries which are almost dry. This makes a strong case for artificial method of watering the crops. Methods of irrigation differ from region to region because physical factors influence irrigation system also. Some places are fit for digging of wells, and some are suitable for canals. Agriculture was not possible in Egypt, Sindh, West Punjab and in some parts of India without introducing irrigation system.

Availability of Manure
Progress of agriculture depends on the natural properties of soil. Fertility of the soil improves greatly when the soil contains natural properties in suitable proportion. Different plants require different elements in varying quantities. Insufficient supply of these elements is the limiting factor for the free growth of plants. Many soils are fertile from their origin and some are infertile from the very beginning. Many fertile soils loose their fertility due to continued use. Chalk soils lack in water, some soils are deficient in temperature and some lack in organic matter.
To get satisfactory results, it is necessary to make up the deficiency by applying the elements lacking in the soil. This practice is known as the application of the manure. The soil, deficient in organic matter and other elements, can be utilized for agriculture, if it is fertilized by applying manure. The yield can be raised and agriculture may be possible, if the cheap manure is available in abundance and the farmers get the direction regarding its use.

Pest Control
There are locusts and other insects which impede the agricultural process in a particular country. Other destroying agents are vegetable pests – kind of disease which spreads like epidemic and destroys the plants quickly. Some countries are free from such harmful influence. Places which are victims of pests and plant diseases, cannot get agricultural produce to the satisfaction unless some effective devices are introduced to check the destroying agents. Africa, every year is visited by several millions of insects, which destroy vast agricultural area. Some years back, vegetable pests affected the whole coffee area in Ceylon and almost uprooted this plant from the country. Recently, the cotton virus, CLCV (curl leaf cotton virus), has badly damaged the cotton crop in Pakistan.
For free growth and development of plant life, it is necessary to forecast such danger and to introduce an effective pest control system by different suitable means.

Modern Implements
Primary methods of cultivation also have an impact upon the agricultural prosperity of a country. A piece of wooden plow and a pair of skeleton oxen cannot produce better results. It is necessary to introduce mechanical method to get higher yield and to make agriculture possible even on the virgin land.

POLITICAL FACTORS

Among the factors which affect the agriculture in a country, political factors are not less significant. Not only the physical factors influence growth of crops but at the same time proper and favorable political conditions are necessary for the free growth. A country may have fertile land, artificial means of watering the plants, suitable climate and may be free from pests and diseases, but all these factors may prove ineffective unless the farmers are secured politically and socially. For such security, wise political policy in the light of economic environment of a country is absolutely necessary. Unless the land tenure system assures the farmers of a reasonable return for a hard labor, the land taxation / revenue policy does not rob the farmers of their own share, the stability in agricultural economy is out of question.

System of Land Tenure
The importance of land tenure in the field of agriculture is evident. Under defective land tenure system, the ownership is shaky. The landlord, who is the actual owner of the land, thinks that the lands are under the use of tiller, who for nothing shares the half produce. Under this false notion, the landlord hesitates to introduce any improvement in the land for agricultural development. The tenants are also the victims of the same notion. They do not like to improve the soil because there is no cent percent gain for them. Half of the produce will automatically go to the landlords only because they are fortunately owners of the land. Thus the lands, having such shaky interest, suffer much and this in turn affects the production.
For a stable agricultural economy, for social peace and contentment, it is necessary to introduce a just and stable land tenure system in a country. The system should be such as to provide the greatest incentive to work and invest, and on the other hand, it should also ensure and secure the reasonable and stable return to the tillers of the field.

Land Revenue
Land revenue should not be a burden on agriculture. The indebtedness of the farmers, and their chronic poverty are attributed to the high charges of land revenue. The high rate of land revenue damps the rising spirit of the farmer; in bad years nothing is left with them to meet the expenditure for the whole year. This feeling kills incentive of the farmers to work sincerely on the field to get higher yield. Such a land revenue system cannot help the growth and development of agriculture in a country.
The land revenue and other dues should not be too high. Agricultural development need further mercy from the government, i.e., general concessions in assessment of revenue and old debts during famine as other natural calamities which fall upon the farmers very frequently.

State’s Aid
For the agricultural development, besides the farmer’s self interest, state’s assistance is also necessary. Prosperity of the agricultural industry may be assisted by the state, which has power to aid the farmer in reducing the cost of raising crops and increasing the selling price of the produce to allow reasonable margins of profit to the farmers. The state assists the farmers in the national interest.
The agriculture industry suffers due to its small scale organization. Disadvantages arising from this may be surmounted by the adoption of cooperative methods. Under this system, the farmers are taught how to produce and what to produce under cooperative method. They are also taught about the improved production processes, new labor-saving devices, and fresh marketing possibilities. In the modern age, the problems of agriculture can be solved only by means of scientific research which is beyond the power of an individual farmer. Agricultural graduates are produced every year to guide the farmers to use the land in modern ways. Credits are arranged through agricultural and cooperative banks. Cooperative societies are also started to assist in this respect. The model farms and agricultural exhibitions should be arranged by the state to give a practical demonstration to the farmers for the use of modern machines and other scientific techniques. This helps the conservative peasants to reorient their outlook and to introduce new techniques in the field.

ECONOMIC FACTORS

While, for the increased agricultural production, physical or political conditions should never be lost sight of, the farmers should be aware that economic condition in this connection also needs primary attention. It is recognized that many commodities can not be produced due to economic factors. In certain regions laborers are very costly, the production of cheap crops can never be economical. In such regions, only commodities of higher value are feasible. The Amazon Valley had enjoyed monopoly in rubber production in 19th century, but this monopoly had shifted from Amazon Valley to southeast Asia. Here economic factors had helped more than the physical factors. Labor was very costly in America, while it was cheap and abandon in southeast Asia. Foreign capital was found in plenty to invest in rubber plantation. Physical conditions favor silk-rearing in USA but costly labor is a limiting factor. It is a widely held fact that sugarcane can be grown cheaply but beet-sugar is found in many countries only because the government supports this scheme by tariff and taxation. Bangladesh government is aware of the fact that food problem in Bangladesh can be solved, if the land under jute acreage (area) are utilized for rice production, but economically it is not feasible because jute is a cash crop and earns plenty of foreign exchange by exporting jute to the foreign countries.

HUMAN FACTORS

Traditions
There is much evidence that the choice of occupation is dependent, in considerable measure, upon the traditions. Individuals specialize in raising crops that were raised by their fathers and forefathers without considering about the economic return from the field. They grow the crops because they were practiced by many generations.

Specific Abilities
Abilities also effect the agriculture. Persons of particular regions are an inferior section of the working population. Due to poor physical condition persons cannot, even under other favorable conditions, work hard to grow crops requiring more manual labor. People with similar limitations work on the field taking it as a routine work. They plough the fields once carelessly, sow the seed and when the crops are ready, they cut the crops. The yield of the crop is not their concern, they refer such things to the nature. They never take the trouble to bring under cultivation any virgin land, lying in their villages. They cultivate only those fields which have been prepared their ancestors.

Additional Number of Mouths
Although food production per capita around the world rose as a result of Green Revolution, in some nations, it left the poorest and most malnourished segments of the population even worse off then before. Despite rising levels of food imports, the developing nations as a whole and the large rural populations within them, have a more serious food problem then ever before. They do not produce enough food to feed themselves, but they do produce additional mouths to be fed.
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