If you want detailed easy to understand notes on Agriculture, you will love this guide. In fact, this is the exact resource that I personally used to ace my Geography exam.
So keep reading.
But before starting, let me tell you that this topic is also known as “agricultural development”. Now, let’s start without further introductions.
First of all, you should know that agriculture mainly refers to farming (growing of crops) and the rearing of animals for products such as wool and food.
Let me explain.
If I talk about farming, there are three main types of farming:
- Subsistence farming
- Commercial (cash crop) farming
- Livestock (pastoral) farming
Let’s take a look at each of them in detail.
In simple words, this form of farming refers to the growing of crops or raising of animals for one’s own use. This means that the farmer and his family use the outputs themselves.
Now, I have a question for you. How big are these farms?
Yes! The size of these farms is small because they only have to provide food to the farmer. Note that any surplus (extra production) is sold, but this is highly occasional.
In fact, these small-scale farms are not more than a few acres and are generally “low yield”.
Now, let’s talk about the agricultural practices on these types of farms. Look, these farms depend upon natural rainfall as a source of water (for crops).
Plus, they need manual labour (workers from the farm), and animal dung as fertilizers are used.
In short, this type of farming depends on nature.
With this, it is time to move on and talk about commercial (cash crop) farming.
Commercial (cash crop) farming:
In commercial farming, plant and livestock production are grown for sale. In other words, this farming is all about selling crops to the market, hence “cash crops“.
So, what does this mean?
Look, to achieve the economy of scale, this type of farming is practised in a large area to increase its efficiency and profit margins.
For example, many large farms in Sindh and Punjab are used to grow cash crops such as wheat, rice and cotton. Pretty simple, isn’t it?
Now, you should also know about the agricultural practices on these farms.
As I mentioned above, commercial farming aims to increase profit. Therefore, the farmers use good farming techniques such as:
- HYV’s (high-yielding varieties)
- Skilled labour
- Use of pesticides and insecticides
Before moving on to livestock farming, it is time to discuss one very important topic – Agricultural products in Pakistan.
The first thing you should know is that there are two types of cropping seasons:
- Rabi crops (sowing during winters and harvest in early summer)
- Kharif crops (sown in summer and harvested in early winter)
Note that crops such as rice, cotton and sugar cane are Kharif crops. And, the crops such as barley, oilseeds and wheat are Rabi crops.
If I talk about rice, it is grown on a large scale in Punjab and Sindh. Here is the step-by-step process of how rice is grown.
- Rice seeds are sown into nurseries and beds.
- The fields are ploughed (loosening the soil before planting) and weeded (removal of weeds).
- When the plant reaches the height of about 9 inches, it is transplanted into the prepared fields.
Note that these fields are flooded because rice requires plenty of water.
- After the rice is ripe (mature), the water is drained off for the harvesting to start.
- Then, the threshing (separating grains or seeds from straws) of rice is done. After that, they are carried to rice mills for packing and polishing.
Pretty simple, isn’t it?
Now you might be wondering, what are the geographical requirements to grow rice? Well, let me tell.
Rice requires a mean temperature of about 20°C to 30°C Plus, a warm period of harvesting is required. Moreover, it requires heavy rainfall (from 1270 mm to 2000 mm).
You should also know that clayey or loamy soil is preferred (to retain water).
With this, it is time to talk about wheat.
I have a question for you. What do you know about wheat?
It is a staple food (eaten frequently) and is used in the manufacture of Roti (bread).
You should recall the fact that wheat is a Rabi crop. Therefore, the temperature from October to May best suit their growth. We will take a look at this in detail. But first, here is how wheat is grown.
- The fields are ploughed, and seeds are sown from October to December.
- After a month of sowing, the fields are irrigated. Note that wheat does not require a lot of water, unlike rice.
The use of chemical fertilisers and a proper water management system increases the growth of wheat.
- After three months, wheat is harvested.
- After that, chaff (husk surrounding the seed) is separated from the grain.
Before moving ahead, you should also know the geographical conditions for the growth of wheat.
A mild temperature (10°C to 20°C) for growing and relatively warmer (25°C – 30°C) for ripening is required. Apart, it requires moderate rainfall. But it mostly depends on irrigation.
And, loamy or clayey soil (slightly) is preferred.
When talking about wheat, you should also know about this topic – Barani farms.
Barani (rain-fed) farms depend on nature for the growth of crops. If I talk about wheat growth on Barani farms, seeds are sown from October to December.
Then, after a little rainfall and mild temperature, the growing period starts. When the temperature drops and rainfall increases, the water requirements of wheat are met.
During the warm period of April to May, wheat ripens and then is harvested.
Now, let’s talk about cotton.
Is cotton a Kharif crop? Yes, it is. In fact, it is one of the most used fibres in Pakistan.
But, how does it grow? Let me tell you.
- The seeds are sown from April to May (the distance between them is should be at least 10 cm).
- Later, the fields are irrigated because ample rainfall (about 1000 mm) is preferred.
- During the dry months (such as October), the cotton bolls ripen and turn brown.
As fibre expands, the boll splits and white “candy-like” cotton comes out.
- After picking, the cotton bolls are taken to ginning mills. Here seeds are separated from lint (raw fibre).
After this, you should know these two key ideas about cotton.
Point 1: The leaf-curl virus can harm cotton before harvest.
Point 2: A district of Balochistan, Lasbela, is known to have a vast capability of growing cotton (discovered in recent years).
Sugarcane is a valuable crop that we crush to extract sweet juice, which is then processed into sugar.
Let’s talk about the cultivation of sugarcane.
Cultivation of Sugarcane:
It is grown by replanting a part of a mature cane stalk. You should know that a distance of around 30 cm is kept between each stalk.
To grow, sugarcane needs strong sunlight, ample water and fertile soil. During the growing period, fertilizers are added.
After the sugarcane is harvested, they are transported to the sugar mills. First of all, chalk is used to remove the smell and dust from the cane.
Then, rollers are used to crush sugarcane so that the juice is extracted. This takes us to another important point, the by-products of sugarcane.
Bagasse: It is a pulpy dry fibrous material that remains after the crushing of sugarcane. If I talk about its uses, it is used as a biofuel for the production of electricity, heat and energy.
Plus, it is also used to make chipboard and paper.
Molasses: It is a viscous substance left over after the refining of sugarcane (crystallization). It is used for the production of citric acid and synthetic rubber etc.
With this, it is time to move on and talk about fruit farming.
Cambridge wants you to know about the cultivation of fruits (such as apples, bananas and citrus fruits etc).
So let’s take a look at this topic now.
Let’s start with dates.
They are cultivated over an area of 223.88 thousand acres in Pakistan. Plus, the annual (yearly) production was 531.2 thousand tons in 2009-10.
You should also know that most of the dates produced in Pakistan are cultivated in Sindh and Balochistan. And, the major Dates producing areas in the country are Gwadar, Panjgur, Turbat, D.I, and Khairpur.
Moving on to bananas.
Banana (a major fruit crop of Pakistan) is mainly grown in Sindh because the soil and climatic conditions are favourable. In fact, the total share of Sindh is 87 per cent in the cultivation of bananas.
Note: The production of bananas in Punjab province is comparatively lower because of the extreme temperature (up to 0°C in winter and 48°C in summers).
In low temperatures, fruits such as apples, grapes and apricots are grown (such as in northern Balochistan). Similarly, citrus fruits such as oranges are mainly grown in Eastern and Central Punjab.
This is because oranges need a moderate temperature to grow.
With this, it is time to move on and talk about some other crops as well.
In this topic, I will let you know about crops such as tobacco, oilseeds, maize and pulses. So let’s start.
First of all, you should know that tobacco is tropical in origin. It requires a frost-free period of 100 to 130 days for growing.
In Pakistan, tobacco is grown mostly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (with Peshawar and Mardan being the major regions). If I talk about its cultivation, the tobacco crop requires fertile soil.
Moreover, it should be exposed to the sun and protected from chilling winds.
The purpose of growing oilseed crops is to extract oil from their seeds. Some of them are:
- Castor seeds
- Soya bean
You should know that Pakistan imports oilseeds because the production is not enough to meet the increasing population demands.
The major areas where oilseeds are cultivated in Pakistan are Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur and Rahimyar Khan from Punjab. While, Sanghar, Nawabshah and Khairpur are from Sindh.
Maize (a Kharif crop) is a cereal grain and is used in making ethanol and other biofuels.
If I talk about its cultivation, it requires a high temperature (up to 35°C) and a rainfall between 50-500 mm.
And, do you know that maize is used in the manufacture of processed foods? Plus, it is also used as fodder for poultry and animals.
Pretty simple, isn’t it?
Pulses and Millets:
Although pulses are considered “low value” crops, yet they are grown because they are an important part of the local diet. Some examples of pulses are:
In Pakistan, Bajra (pearl millet) and Jowar (Sorghum) are the two millets produced. You should know that they are used as a food crop, and as fodder for poultry and animals.
In simple words, it is a type of farming in which one raises livestock (domesticated animals) to obtain products such as:
Milk, eggs, meat and leather etc.
You should also know that this type of farming includes the breeding of sheep, goats, poultry, fishes and cattle etc.
Important note: Livestock farming is also either subsistence (animals are raised to be consumed by the farmer) or commercial (animals are reared for sale).
Let me tell you about some livestock and the products obtained from them.
They are mostly found in the canal irrigated areas of Sindh and Punjab. Any guesses why?
This is because buffaloes prefer to live in water most of the time. If I talk about the products obtained from them, they are a source of milk and meat.
If we dive into a bit more detail, the milk obtained from buffaloes is used in the manufacture of dairy products (such as butter).
The different types of buffaloes are Azi Kheli, Nili, Ravi and Kundhi.
Do you know that in recent years, the demand for poultry has increased massively in Pakistan? In fact, the poultry industry has become the second-largest industry in Pakistan.
The poultry products, eggs and chicken, are obtained from this industry.
Now you might be wondering, why eggs and chicken are in high demand?
In simple words, they fulfil the nutritional demands of the growing population in Pakistan.
(Some other livestock and the products obtained from them are:)
Cattle → Meat and Milk
They also help farmers to plough the fields, and carry workers and fodder from one place to the other.
Sheep and Goats → Meat and Wool
You should also that sheep and goats are widely distributed in Pakistan – from Northern areas to Balochistan.
Now it is your turn. Which part of this topic, agricultural development you find challenging?
Is it the cultivation of crops such as rice? Or is it livestock farming? Either way, do let me know.
But before ending, let me tell you that it is the MOST important topic from an examination point of view. And as far as I know, almost every exam has a question related to agriculture.
Thank you very much for reading and staying with me till the end. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. Stay tuned for more.