Short Paragraph on the Classifications of Agriculture

Some of the major groups under which the agriculture is classified are as follows:

Agriculture is by far the most widespread form of human activity and is more basic than any industry.


It is difficult to classify the agricultural types of the world because of complex farming activities. Still they are classified into various groups:

1. Shifting Agriculture:

It is a primitive form of utilisation of soils usually of tropical rain forests. In this type, farmers grow food only for themselves and their families and so a small surplus is either exchanged or bartered.

The result­ant economy is thus static but there is high degree of rural independence. Shifting cultivation is called by different names in different parts of the tropical world.


It is also known as “Slash and burn” and “bush fal­low” agriculture. Shifting cultivation is clearing a patch of forests with axe or cutlass and then planta­tion of crops for a few years in the clearing, gather­ing the crop in harvest time and movement to a new site when the fertility of soil is reduced. It is practiced in a four to eight year cycle and mostly in the north-eastern region of India, comprising the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland and Mizoram.

Different Names of Shifting Cultivation:

Shifting CultivationRegion
JhumingNorth-East India
MilapCentral America and Mexico
MasoleZaire basin

2. Subsistence Agriculture:

Subsistence Agriculture is the type of farming in which crops grown are con­sumed by the grower and his family. Subsistence agriculture may be of different types. It may be shift­ing or settled agriculture. It may be primitive or non- primitive in character or it may be both intensive and extensive in nature.

As long as its major purpose of fulfilling most of the needs of its local producers remains unchanged, it remains subsistence farming. It is practiced in the less developed parts of Madhya Pradesh, Bundelkhand, South Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh.

3. Intensive Subsistence Agriculture:

It is a system of crop cultivation on small land holding. Higher in­puts of capital and labour per hectare of land are ap­plied for a high yield per hectare. Rice is the main crop.

4. Extensive Agriculture:

It is large scale farming on large land holdings with the help of sophisticated ag­ricultural machines. The major regions of this type are the Prairies of Canada and U.S.A., Pampas of Argen­tina, Steppes of Kazakhstan and Downs of Australia.

5. Commercial Agriculture:

In ancient times, agri­culture could provide for the needs of the local com­munity. But improvement in agricultural operations, development in transport and increase in volume of trade has made it possible to grow only one crop on a large scale in a given area. Wherever soil, climate and human conditions are suitable for a particular crop, it is grown in a large area with the help of ma­chinery.

Commercial Agriculture sells the produce in the mar­ket and therefore crop specialization is one of its char­acteristics. e.g., Prairies in North America, Western Europe, Punjab, even Uttar Pradesh in India have at­tained such specialization. Cotton, wheat, sugarcane and maize are such crops.

6. Plantation Agriculture:

Plantation Agriculture is a highly specialized type of farming to grow crops like coffee, tea, spices and rubber. It was initiated by Europeans during the co­lonial era and has made possible the manufacture of a wide range of modern materials.

These crops are raised on large estates of more than 40 hectares each and the sizes of plantation vary from place to place. Plantation Agriculture needs huge capital investment and employing of a large number of labourers.

It faces a number of difficulties like climatic hazards, insects, and pests, prevalence of disease and maintenance and rapid deterioration of tropical soils. This type of farm­ing is practiced mainly in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, countries of Western Africa and the Carib­bean Islands and Central America.

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