Essay On Agriculture And Industries
Agriculture is known to be one of the most significant economic activities. It involves the production of plants, livestock, fiber, fuel and more by utilizing natural resources such as water and land. The term agriculture is broader than it is commonly anticipated to be. It includes forestry, fishery, livestock and most importantly crop production. Here are essays of varying lengths on agriculture to help you with the topic in the exam.
Essay on Agriculture
Agriculture Essay 1 (200 words)
Agriculture is basically the cultivation of plants for the production of food, fuel, fiber, medicines and many other things that have become a necessity for the mankind. Agriculture also involves the breeding of animals. The development of agriculture turned to be a boon for the human civilization as it also gave way to their development.
Agriculture is said to be an art, science and commerce all at the same time as it suffices the factors involved in all three.
It is said to be an art as it involves the growth, development and management of crop and animal husbandry. It requires patience and dedication to yield good results in this field and only someone who possesses this art can achieve it.
The knowledge of breeding and genetics is employed to come up with new improved methods of agriculture. Several inventions and explorations are being made in the field. It is ever evolving and thus qualifies as science.
Agriculture supports the economy like no other sector and thus undoubtedly falls in this category too.
With around two-third of the Indian population dependent directly or indirectly on agriculture, it is considered to be the basis of the country’s economic development. It is not just known to be a source of livelihood in India but a way of life.
Agriculture Essay 2 (300 words)
The term agriculture comes from the Latin word ager which means field and cultura that means cultivation. Agriculture basically involves the cultivation and production of crops and livestock products.
History of Agriculture
The history of agriculture dates back several centuries. It began in different parts of the world independently about 105,000 years back mostly by the collection of wild grains for the purpose of eating. Here is how different countries were involved in this activity:
- In Mesopotamia, pigs were domesticated around 15,000 years ago. They began domesticating sheep around 2000 years later.
- In China, rice was cultivated around 13,500 years ago. They eventually began cultivating soy, azuki beans and mung.
- In Turkey, cattle were domesticated around 10,500 years ago.
- Beans, potato, coca, llamas and alpacas were domesticated around 10,000 years ago.
- Sugarcane and certain root vegetables were cultivated in New Guinea around 9,000 years ago.
- Cotton was domesticated in Peru around 5,600 years ago.
Similarly, the domestication of various plants and animals is being done in many other parts of the country since thousands of years.
Impact of Modern Technology on Agriculture
The development in the field of science and technology led to the use of modern techniques in agriculture. While it has contributed a great deal to the development of the agriculture sector, the modern technology has also had certain negative repercussions on the sector. Here is the kind of impact it has had:
- The use of fertilizers and pesticides as well as the use of technologically advanced equipments for the cultivation of crops has increased the yields drastically however it has also been the cause of ecological damage and impacted the human health negatively.
- Selective breeding and the use of other modern practices in the rearing of animals has increased the supply of meat however it has raised the concern about animal welfare.
Like every other sector, the agricultural sector has also evolved over the centuries and its development has brought about certain positive and negative repercussions to the society.
Agriculture Essay 3 (400 words)
Agriculture is a vast subject. It encompasses the production of crops, animal husbandry, soil science, horticulture, dairy science, extension education, entomology, agriculture chemistry, agri engineering, agri economics, plant pathology and botany. These subjects are taught in various universities across the world to train people in the field.
Different Kinds of Farming
Here is a look at how the agricultural field has broadly been categorized in our country:
- Subsistence Farming
One of the most widely practiced technique of farming in India. Under this type of farming, the farmers grow grains for themselves as well as for the purpose of sale.
- Commercial Agriculture
This type of agriculture focuses on high yield with the aim to export it to other countries to generate profit. Some of the commonly grown commercial crops in the country include cotton, wheat and sugarcane.
- Shifting Agriculture
This type of farming is majorly practiced by tribal groups to grow root crops. They mostly clear the forested area and grow crops there.
- Extensive Agriculture
This is more common in the developed countries. However, it is also practiced in certain parts of India. It focuses on the use of machinery to grow and raise crops.
- Intensive Agriculture
This is a common practice in densely populated areas of the country. It is focused on generating maximizing output of the land by employing different techniques. A good amount of investment in terms of money and huge labour force is required for this.
- Plantation Agriculture
This type of agriculture involves the cultivation of crops that require a good amount of time and space for growing. Some of these crops include tea, rubber, coffee, cocoa, coconut, fruits and spices. This is mostly practiced in the states of Assam, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala.
- Wet Land Farming
The areas that receive heavy rainfall are well irrigated and these are apt for the farming of crops such as jute, rice and sugarcane.
- Dry Land Farming
It is practiced in desert-like areas such as the central and northwest India. Some of the crops grown in such areas are bajra, jowar and gram. This is because these crops require less water for growth.
With the advancement in technology, agriculture has come a long way. It is not limited to just growing crops and rearing of cattle. It includes a whole lot of other subjects and someone who is interested in getting into the agricultural field can choose to specialise in one.
Agriculture Essay 4 (500 words)
Agriculture basically involves the cultivation of crops and the domestication of animals for the purpose of generating food and other things necessary for the mankind. While it is being practiced since centuries, it has evolved over the time and has become one of the major factors in the development of our country’s economy.
Significance of Agriculture
Here is a look at the significance of agriculture:
- Major Source of Food
It goes without saying that the food we eat is a gift of the agricultural activities that take place in the country. The country has seen times of acute food shortage before independence however the problem was resolved with the advent of the green revolution in agriculture in the year 1969.
- Major Contributor to National Income
Statistics reveal that, the national income from primary agricultural activities was about 59% in the year 1950-51. While it has come down eventually and reached around 24% about a decade back, the agricultural sector in India is still one of the major contributors to the national income.
- Development of the Industrial Sector
Agriculture plays a major role in the development of the industrial sector by providing the raw material. Industries such as the cotton textiles, sugar, jute, oil, rubber and tobacco are majorly dependent on the agricultural sector.
- Employment Opportunities
The agricultural sector offers numerous employment opportunities as a large labour force is required for the smooth functioning of various agricultural activities. It does not only open a vast arena of direct employment opportunities but indirect as well. For instance, the agricultural products need to be transported from one place to another and hence it supports the transport sector.
- Boost in Foreign Trade
Foreign trade relies majorly on the agricultural sector. Agricultural exports form a good 70% of the total exports. India is an exporter of tea, tobacco, cotton textiles, jute products, sugar, spices and many other agricultural products.
- Generation of Government Revenue
Excise duty on agro-based goods, land revenue and taxes on the sale of agricultural machinery make for a good source of government revenue.
- Formation of Capital
The surplus income generated from agricultural activities can very well be invested in banks for capital formation.
Agriculture: A hazardous Industry
While agricultural sector is of great importance to the country, we cannot deny the fact that is a hazardous industry. Farmers across the globe have a high risk of work related injuries. One of the common causes of agricultural injuries is tractor rollovers and other motor and machinery related accidents. Due to the nature of their job they are also prone to skin diseases, lung infections, noise-induced hearing problems, sun strokes as well as certain types of cancers. Those exposed to pesticides may have serious illnesses and might even have kids with birth defects.
However, that said, agriculture does play a significant part in the development of the human civilization as a whole. As Booker T. Washington said, “No race can prosper till it learns there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem”, agriculture sector is an integral part of the country.
Agriculture Essay 5 (600 words)
Agriculture is one sector that has been in place since thousands of years. It has developed over the years with the use of new equipments and techniques of farming and domestication. This is one sector that has not only seen immense growth but has also been the reason for growth of various other sectors.
The Growth and Development of Agricultural Sector
India is one such country which is largely dependent on the agricultural sector. Agriculture in India is not just a means of livelihood but a way of life. The government is continually making efforts to develop this sector. Let us learn how this sector has evolved with time.
Though agriculture is being practiced since centuries in India, it remained under developed for a pretty long time. We were unable to produce sufficient food for our people and foreign export was simply out of question. On the contrary, we had to purchase food grains from other countries. This was because agriculture in India depended on the monsoon. In case, there was enough rain, the crops fertilized properly, when there wasn’t enough rain the crops just failed and most parts of the country were hit by famine. However, things changed with time. After independence, the government planned to bring about improvement in this sector. Dams were constructed, tube-wells and pump-sets were set up, better quality seeds, fertilizers were made available and new techniques were employed.
With the use of technologically advanced equipment, good irrigation facilities and with specialized knowledge about the field things began improving. We soon started producing much more than we required and subsequently started exporting food grains and different agricultural products. Our agricultural sector is now stronger than that of many countries. India stands first in the production of groundnuts and tea and ranks second in the production of sugarcane, rice, jute and oil seeds across the globe.
However, we still have a long way to go and the government is making efforts in this direction.
Negative Repercussions of Agriculture on Environment
As much as it has helped in the development of the human civilization and the growth of the country’s economy, agriculture has also had certain negative repercussions on the people involved in this sector as well as the environment as a whole. Here are the negative repercussions of agriculture on environment:
- Agriculture has led to deforestation. Many forests are cut to turn them into fields to cultivate crops. The negative impacts of deforestation and the need to control it is hidden from none.
- Not many of you may be aware that the building of watersheds and draining of water from the rivers for irrigation of fields leads to drier natural habitats.
- The runoff from the fields into the rivers and other water bodies results in that water getting poisoned owing to the use of excessive nutrients and insecticides.
- Topsoil depletion and groundwater contamination are some of the other issues that the agricultural activities have given way to.
Agriculture has thus impacted the soil and water resources negatively and this has had a major impact on the environment.
Agriculture is also considered to be a hazardous occupation. Those involved in farming are constantly exposed to different chemical based fertilizers and pesticides and the continual use of these can lead to several health hazards such as skin diseases, lung infections and certain other serious illnesses.
While agriculture has given so much to our society, it comes with its own set of cons that cannot be overlooked. While the government is doing so much to bring about growth and development in this field, it should also take measures to tackle the negative impact it is creating on the environment and those involved in the field.
Speech on Agriculture
I have a Master’s degree in Development Economics and Policy from the University of Manchester, and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Tampa in the United States, where I lived for several years. I have worked in the finance and the public policy industries. My hobbies include fitness, sport, engaging in intellectual conversations on a variety of topics as well as reading and learning about unfamiliar yet interesting topics. My background has thus enabled me to do research and write on a multitude of topics from different fields. In addition, during my academic tenure I led many student organisations and organised several volunteering efforts including community outreach, poverty assistance, and assisting organisations such as the American Cancer Society, among several others.
Agricultural vs Industrial Economic Development
Different countries have different approaches to economic development; some focus on economic development through industrialisation while others focus on high-value agricultural production. Several factors determine which model a country should focus on in order to foster economic growth. However, to achieve growth in both urban and rural areas, it is necessary that growth-promoting strategies be emphasized in both models as development of the agricultural sector is a necessary precursor for industrialisation, and the development of the industrial sector may lead to agricultural development. Without cohesion between the two sectors, there will be barriers to wholesome development and most likely an increase in dependence on external factors of production and inputs. Focusing solely on industrial development and neglecting the agricultural sector may lead to increasing income inequalities, particularly in countries with large rural sectors that depend on basic agrarianism. As the overwhelming success of the Green Revolution in Asian countries has shown, an emphasis on rural agricultural development can prove to be an integral precondition for urban industrialisation while creating viable opportunities to increase the lives of the poor and promote overall economic development.
This paper aims to show the differences in an emphasis on agricultural development and industrialisation using examples from an Asian country. It also aims to demonstrate that an emphasis on both sectors is necessary to achieve sufficient growth. In addition, it shall be posited that public sector intervention, capital market development, and land inequality are relevant factors to consider in the development of both sectors.
Because most of the citizens in a developing economy live in the rural areas and participate in agriculture, it has been proved that the development of this sector enhances economic development. An emphasis on the agricultural sector leads to increases in income for the lowest percentile, while supplying food and other commodities for other domestic sectors and, if possible, the international economy. According to Ray (1998: 345), because the agricultural sector accounts for a large share of national output and populations in developing countries, it is necessary for this sector to flourish in order to supply labour to the non-agricultural sectors. Further, development of the non-agricultural sector can only thrive if agriculture produces more food than its producers need for their own consumption. Without this cycle, there may be an unwelcome reliance on imports from other countries and a susceptibility to price, supply, and other exogenous shocks.
As seen in the Green Revolution of several Asian economies, an emphasis on high value agriculture spurred economic development. With the backing of the government and numerous research institutions, the development of high yielding crop technology led to increased efficiency in the agricultural sector and consequently raised the economic well-being of not only the rural sector, but the entire economy. In the case of India, there was far-reaching government commitment to the rural areas and the technological advancement of the agricultural sector, while particular emphasis was placed on the research and development of genetically engineered, high yielding crops. This political commitment entailed subsidized electricity, guarantees of minimum prices, incentives for farmers to adopt modern methods, public investment in roads and farming infrastructure, which resulted in greater market integration, as well as the availability of advanced technological inputs such as seeds and fertilizers (Johnson 2003). This led to an overall dramatic increase in per capita agricultural production along with an overall reduction in agriculture expenditure due to efficiency gains (Johnson 2003).
These technological and efficiency increases resulted in an overhaul of the agricultural sector and led to productivity gains in high value agriculture such as dairy products, seafood, and meat, among others, that were mainly utilized to boost agricultural exports (Johnson 2003). In addition, the improvements in supply chain-driven agricultural development along with the introduction of large-supply industrial-scale contract farming (made available through foreign direct investment in agriculture) led to increased employment and incomes for the poorest in the rural sector. It also led to an overall increase in high value food exports and export income (Maertens 2009). Therefore, the development of the agricultural sector will lead to reductions in income inequality and overall economic growth because the rural poor will be fully involved in the development process.
However, another constraint faced by the rural agricultural sector that may result in under-development and reductions in efficiency is the general lack of access to credit, a concept which is propagated by initial income, asset, and land inequalities. The agricultural sector has largely been untargeted by private investors and lenders due to environmental risks, market risks such as logistic challenges, asymmetric information and lack of collateral, as well as underdeveloped credit markets in rural areas of developing countries (Beck 2013: 83). As a result, small farmers cannot buy land on mortgage and tenancy becomes the more suitable alternative. It has been hypothesised that very unequal land distribution retards agricultural development in countries facing labour surplus and land constraints, while further restricting their access to credit for capital development due to lack of collateral (Sabates-Wheeler 2005). It is therefore necessary for a government to intervene and attempt to correct this credit market failure in order to promote a productive agricultural sector. As seen in the case of India, it is imperative for the government to intervene in the financial market by enabling farmers access to input through the availability of credit and insurance through private sector involvement, particularly from the banking sector, in order to lower transaction costs, increase productivity and, inevitably, boost output ratios (Dorward 2004).
Another important sector of the economy, the industrial sector, takes into account the modernized manufacturing urban sector of an economy that creates large scale goods and services through an emphasis on technological prowess. As stated previously, it is necessary the development through the industrial sector is also emphasized as developing economies, in particular are largely sectoral. The rural-agricultural and the urban-industrial sectors are separated in terms of goals, relative incomes, and economic outcomes. The process of industrialization has become increasingly important within economies due to globalization and the high world-wide demand for modern products and services.
The development of industry globally has increased due to the liberalization of trade, available capital, efficient services, and technology flows. These have facilitated the integration of multi-national product systems, and have led to high economic growth and export competitiveness in developing countries (United Nations Development Organization 1996: ). Globalization and cooperation between countries has encouraged development through the transfer of technology, resources, and expertise from major industrialized economies to developing economies. According to Szirmai (2009), developing countries profit from being ‘latecomers’ to industrialization as they receive technological, rental, and knowledge spillovers from industrialized countries and they do not have to pay the full costs of research and development embodied in imported machinery. In addition, they receive equipment and inputs, as well as reserve knowledge and technical expertise through copying, imitating, and professional interaction (Szirmai 2009). Developing countries also benefit from intermediate capital inputs from developed countries, while the increase in global demand for manufactured goods enhanced export competitiveness, leading to the industrial growth of developing countries.
Most economists have posited that an economic focus on industrialization is the road toward economic development, given the past experiences of modernized economies during the Industrial Revolution, as well as the recent export-oriented growth of Asian economies. Productivity is higher in the industrial sector than the agricultural sector due to technological advances. The economies of scale in large, integrated supply chains have resulted in gains and concentrated manufacturing results in opportunities for capital accumulation. This has proved to be one of the main sources of aggregate growth a la the Harrod Domar Hypothesis (Szirmai 2009).
Another facet of industrialisation which will lead to economic development lies in the structural change hypothesis. This involves the ability of the modernized sector to absorb surplus labour from the agricultural sector and transform the structure of the economy from agrarian to manufacturing. This leads to increased employment for rural workers and raises the nation’s per capita income. According to Ray (1998: 360), Arthur Lewis stated that the dual economy presents advantages for an economy to grow because the excess labour in the agricultural sector can be transferred to the industrial sector without losses in agricultural output (Ray 1998: 360). Proponents of the Lewis model are convinced that this transfer of redundant labour to the industrialized sector will lead to increased incomes for the poor as well as create opportunities for more accumulation and efficient utilization of capital, leading to economy-wide development.
Another necessary condition which needs to be emphasized in order to exploit economic development through industry is the establishment of credit availability and financial investment opportunities within an economy. The underdevelopment of the financial sector may cause restrictions in the availability of financial and real capital in order to increase capacity and productivity. In addition, as stated before, if foreign investment is not a viable option with developing economies, there may be reductions in the possible gains due to technological, capital, and knowledge-based spillover effects from industrialized countries. The establishment of developed international capital markets can be an important catalyst for sustained economic growth in developing economies. This may lead to increased sources of financing and expansion through foreign direct and portfolio investment, while reducing costs and enhancing the aforementioned positive externalities from spillover effects (United Nations Development Organization 1996: 3). From a domestic credit standpoint, the development of the financial sector is also necessary in order to enhance manufacturing plants’ abilities to expand capacity through increases in fixed and working capital. In order to increase capital accumulation, which is an underlying factor of output growth, it is necessary for the manufacturing sector to have access to available credit to increase fixed inputs such as factories, machines, warehouses, and numerous input materials to extend capacity and increase output (Ray 1998: 531).
The agricultural and industrial sectors comprise the dual economy within a country, hence displaying several disparities as well as similarities in terms of policy emphasis. However, it is necessary that both sectors be targeted and promoted in cohesion for comprehensive development. This fact is emphasized due to the aforementioned notions from Arthur Lewis that the agricultural sector acts as a supplier of labor to the industrial sector, as well as the fact that the agricultural sector provides food and other commodities that facilitate the maintenance of the industrial sector. Foreign direct investment, government intervention, credit market development, and access to various forms of capital are all vital components in order to transform both sectors into economic development opportunities. In terms of government intervention, it is necessary that the public sector intervenes in both sectors in order to prevent market failures, and promote the advancement of the sectors by creating opportunities for the participants and mitigating risks of failure and underperformance. From an agricultural standpoint it is necessary that the government utilizes policy to assist in abridging the inefficiencies which afflict the rural sector such as the lack of availability of credit due to the unwillingness of the private sector to assist due to risk factors, as well as assist with infrastructure development and the provision of needed capital for development. Further improvements may be achieved by promoting research and development opportunities, reducing information asymmetries in order to increase access to credit and capital, improve health, as well as nutrition and agricultural education to bring about improvements in the human capital stock (Todaro 2011: 423). As seen in the aforementioned case of India, the intervention of the public sector brought about drastic increases in productivity when the private sector was incapable of providing these services. A similar case exists with the government’s role in the industrial sector, given the fact that market failures are also present in the industrial sector, where capital accumulation is seen as more of a growth stimulant than in the agricultural sector. It is therefore necessary for the government to create a market environment that is conducive to this concept, especially in light of globalization’s impact on industry. Governments have an important role in stimulating investment spurred by domestic savings, complimenting private investment with financial and physical infrastructure, enhancing macroeconomic stability to encourage foreign investment, while promoting industry cooperation and eliminating monopoly and rent seeking activities (United Nations Development Organization 1996: 8). Additionally, from both a high value agricultural and industrial perspective, as stated prior, it is beneficial that foreign direct investment is welcome within both sectors. This may to spillover effects, due to the fact that most developing countries are lagging behind developed countries in technological and human resource assets. Large scale industry contract farming introduced in agriculture was made possible largely due to increases in foreign involvement and resulted in income and productivity increases in some Asian and Sub-Sarahan African countries (Maertens 2009). The access to viable credit is also of utmost importance to both sectors, as it is necessary to expand capacity without facing exuberant upfront costs, particularly in the agricultural sector which typically has been excluded from credit markets due to information, collateral, and development constraints. Essentially, the high value agricultural sector as well as the industrial sector are heavily interlinked and are the major components of the dual economy, and it is necessary that the structure of an economy be geared toward the preservation and maintenance of both sectors, a fact that is particularly true for developing countries. However, given the mainstream economic thinking that industrialisation is the engine for growth, numerous developing economies create policies geared more toward the improvement of the urban industrial sector rather than the agricultural sector, and this may lead to income and sectoral growth distortions given the fact that the majority of the developing world occupy the rural agricultural sector.
In conclusion, the structural change hypothesis postulates that the process of development occurs in an economy when dependence on the agricultural sector moves to a more sophisticated and competitive industrial sector, serving as the catalyst for economic growth. Srzmai (2009) stated that ‘The more prosperous countries are the more industrialised ones’ and demonstrated that almost all the top per capita income earning countries rely heavily on industrialisation while the opposite applies to low income countries (Srzmai 2009). However, given the fact that most of the developing world still relies on income from the agricultural sector, it is necessary that the industrial sector be developed in order to raise incomes of the poor and provide food and commodities to the industrial sector. The failure to do this may result in stagnant growth due to rising inequalities, as well as the dependence on imports and their accompanying exogenous shocks.
This particular case can be seen when comparing sub-Saharan African agriculture with advancements in the high-value exports of India. Sub-Saharan Africa missed out on the initial advancements of the Green Revolution because governments and the private sector were incapable of developing agricultural systems, and the weak existing infrastructure, among other difficulties, has led to efficiency and income declines over the years (Evenson 2003). The development of the agricultural sector is therefore a necessary pre-condition for growth in the industrial sector, while industrialisation is also necessary for agricultural development. In both the industrial and high-value agricultural sectors, the government should correct market failures and maintain macroeconomic stability. Foreign investment needs to be welcomed and credit markets need to be developed for increasing capacity. Sectoral disparities should not be ignored if a country is targeting development. According to Deaton and Dreeze’s (2002), research into developing countries, the poorer states have little to no growth compared to industrialized states with high levels of growth, while rising sectoral disparities in income are also apparent: the income growth of agricultural labourers has increased more slowly than GDP growth.
Thorough economic development entails the development of all sectors of the economy rather than focusing on the industrial sector and viewing income increases on aggregate. Therefore, since sectors within an economy are intertwined, it is necessary that a country views economic development from a full perspective and focus on the development of both agriculture and industry.
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