The importance of farming cannot be overemphasized. Governments of various countries have emphasized the importance of farming to their young adults to encourage food security and financial independence, especially in Nigeria.
Farming is an act of cultivating crops or rearing animals for the purpose of sales of food for commercial or private purposes. It is usually carried out by a farmer (a person engaged in agriculture, raising living organism for or raw materials) and as the case may be, tools and implements or large machines are used in the farming process.
From the definition above, we see that without farming, there would be no food and there would be a drop in the nation’s economy. All foods and some important materials are either from plants or animal origin. Therefore, without farming, there will be no means of getting food and few other materials.
There are two main branches of farming:
- LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION/FARMING: management and breeding of domestic livestock or farm animals for the purpose of obtaining their meat and products (milk, eggs, leather etc.) livestock farming includes the breeding of cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, goats, rabbits, fishes, honeybees and snails.
It is one of few human productive economic activities that are truly sustainable. It generates employment opportunities and serves as a source of income.
- CROP FARMING/PRODUCTION: a common Agricultural practice that involves planting (putting a seed, bulb, or plant in the ground so that it can grow) of crops to produce food and essential materials for the use of man.
Types of crops:
• Food crop: a crop produced for use as food, either for sale commercially or for use by the grower or a crop that is grown for human consumption. Examples includes rice, wheat, maize, millets, pulses and oil seeds.
•Cash crops: a crop produced for its commercial value rather than for use by the grower or a crop that is grown to be sold rather than for use by the farmer. Examples include tea, coffee, rubber, coconut and spices.
TYPES OF FARMING AND IMPORTANCE OF FARMING
- Subsistence farming: this is done by rearing animals and growing crops for personal use in moderate amount. The core aim of subsistence farming is to feed the farmer’s family. It involves less labor or labor-intensive in terms of man power in use, but little to no machinery is used. Subsistence farmers are determined to be self-sufficient.
- Commercial farming: this type of farming is done for the core purpose of making profit. It involves the rearing of animals and growing of crops (food crops and or cash crops) on a large scale to increase production and profits. Workers are used in this system including farm machineries and technology. This type of farming often involves monoculture, the growing of single type of cash crop such as coffee or rubber.
- Intensive and Extensive farming: Extensive farming involves land tillage with an aim of increasing output. Farmers increase the size of land for cultivation other factors on the other hand, intensive farming involves increasing capital and labor on the same piece of land being cultivated to increase yield.
- Mixed Farming: Mixed farming involves growing of crops and rearing of animals on the same piece of land. The two types of farming, pastoral and arable, support each other and increase farm yield. This type of farming reduces the risk of making losses due to poor weather conditions. For instance, if the crops are not doing well, animals on the farm are still a good source of food and money.
Furthermore, animals provide the manure farmers need to improve soil fertility for crops to grow and increase yield.
- Nomadic Farming: Nomadic farming involves farmers moving with their animals from one place to another in search of pasture and water. It is similar to pastoral farming and often practiced in arid and semi-arid areas.
Different regions across the world rear different animals under this type of farming. They include camels, sheep, cattle, donkeys, goats and horses. As a type of subsistence farming, it provides families with food.
Another importance of farming is that farming is very profitable in that it is a very vital sector of a country’s economy. Farmers harvest crops or animals and put them up for sale in the market. This helps to provide financially for the farmer and his family and also help the economy. Therefore, farming reduces hunger rate and improves the state of the economy.
Another profit of farming is the production of drugs and medicinal herbs. Farming has contributed immensely to the discovery of various herbs which have helped save lives across the world.
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