World of Agriculture

Agriculture refers to the production of agricultural goods through the growing of plants and the raising of domesticated animals. The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science. The related practice of gardening is studied in horticulture.

Agriculture encompasses a wide variety of specialties. Cultivation of crops on arable land and the pastoral herding of livestock on rangeland remain at the foundation of agriculture. In the past century a distinction has been made between sustainable agriculture and intensive farming. Modern agronomy, plant breeding, pesticides and fertilizers, and technological improvements have sharply increased yields from cultivation. Selective breeding and modern practices in animal husbandry such as intensive pig farming (similar practices applied to the chicken) have similarly increased the output of meat. The more exotic varieties of agriculture include aquaculture and tree farming.

The major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers, fuels, raw materials, legal and illegal drugs, and an assortment of ornamental or otherwise exotic products. In recent years plants have been used to grow biofuels, biopharmaceuticals, and bioplastic.[1] as well as pharmaceuticals.[2] Specific foods include cereals, (vegetables, fruits, and meat. Fibers include (cotton, wool, hemp, silk and flax). Raw materials include lumber and bamboo. Drugs include tobacco, marijuana, opium, cocaine), and other useful materials such as resins. Biofuels include methane from biomass, ethanol, and biodiesel. Cut flowers, nursery plants, tropical fish and birds for the pet trade are some of the ornamental products.

The history of agriculture has played a major role in human history, as agricultural progress has been a crucial factor in worldwide socio-economic change. Wealth-building and militaristic specializations rarely seen in hunter-gatherer cultures are commonplace in agricultural and agro-industrial societies–when farmers became capable of producing food beyond the needs of their own families, others in the tribe/village/City-state/nation/empire were freed to devote themselves to projects other than food acquisition. Jared Diamond, among others, has argued that the development of civilization required agriculture.

In 2007, an estimated 35 percent of the world's workers were employed in agriculture (from 42% in 1996). However, the relative significance of farming has dropped steadily since the beginning of industrialization, and in 2003 – for the first time in history – the services sector overtook agriculture as the economic sector employing the most people worldwide.[3] Despite the fact that agriculture employs over one-third of the world's population, agricultural production accounts for less than five percent of the gross world product (an aggregate of all gross domestic products).


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