Agriculture is an art, science and industry of managing the growth of plants and animals for human use. In broad sense, agriculture includes cultivation of the soil, growing and harvesting the crops, breeding and raising livestock, daring and forestry. Modern agriculture is engineering and technology based. Therefore, mechanization has eased much of the back breaking toil to the farmer. Agriculture is the backbone of economy of most of the countries of the world. About 48 percent of world's labour force is engaged with agriculture. For some countries, agriculture is the major source of foreign exchange for example Sri Lanka depends upon tea, Denmark specializes in dairy products and Australia in wool. Nations depends on agriculture not only for food but for national income and raw materials for industry as well, trade in agriculture is a constant international concern.
Agricultural scientists are of opinion that, about 40% of 37 million acre land of the world may be considered cultivable. Today, only 5.5 million sq miles (10% to 11%) of the land surface is actually cultivated. It is fact that nature sets the outer limits of man’s potential resources, because physical limitation, like temperature, rainfall, soil character and physiography, fix up the outer limit of cultivable land. Factors Governing Agriculture:
Today, agriculture has become an industry. Therefore, like all other industries, its development depends upon multiple factors. Basically, physical environment imposes limits on the distribution of agricultural activity but cultural environment at the same time has its own importance for this activity because, agricultural patterns in the world are the result of interaction among the influences exerted by the physical, economic and social factors. The factors of agriculture can be divided into following classification. I.
Human Factors / Non Physical Factors
Social / Cultural Factors
Physical Factors of Agriculture:
Man’s agricultural activities depend on the physical environment in which he lives although he often has tried to minimize the restrictions imposed by the natural conditions. Nature in its diverse manifestations provides man in different areas with a variety of possibilities for development. To examine the agricultural activity of man in the world, it is necessary to know about the natural and physical factors of the world, which are as follows: 1. Terrain
4. Water Resources
5. Forest Cover
Many agricultural geographers have analysed the influences of terrain on agriculture and it indeed plays a significant role in land-use variation. The three most significant aspects of terrain are: (i). Attitude
(iii). Drainage texture
The primary consequence of altitude is decrease in air pressure with the increase in elevation. At the height of 3500 m and above the decreased atmospheric pressure causes nausea and agricultural activities cannot be carried out despite conditions being favourable to numerous domesticated plants. Usually the rarefied air of the high mountains increased transpiration rates of plants, which unfortunately restricts growth. In tropics, altitude is of special significance for utilization of the land for agriculture. Modification in temperature and not infrequently in humidity conditions associated with increasing elevation make these areas habitable for farming communities.
The important secondary consequences of increasing elevation, both agronomically and economically significant are decreased temperature, increased precipitation, increased wind velocity, poor soil and rugged relief. All these factors a negative role on agricultural activity and they minimize the agriculture and agricultural products. Even increase in precipitation on elevations are has significant role for agriculture because at those...
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