Agriculture is defined by the USDA as the production of foodgrains processed for consumption as food or an added value. Agriculture is one of the world’s major sources of revenue. This graphically displays the interdependence and interconnection of agricultural land use practices and the economic processes of rural life. A brief description of the landscape of agricultural land use practices and concepts is presented below.
Smallholder agricultural systems typically dominate a complexity of agricultural practices deeply rooted in local and indigenous technologies, gear and techniques to sustained food goals and family incomes. Traditional crop production techniques were surveyed in a comprehensive cross-section of rural areas across Meru Central District of Kenya in a spatial survey. In this study we focused on five key areas: irrigation systems; cropping system; the arable land; horticultural investment; marketing and processing. These concepts are complexly interdependent on the size of the agricultural plots and their suitability for cultivation.
The major drivers of agricultural crop cultivation are profit and loss. They also determine the size of agricultural plots, the level of local harvest and the level of income of farmers. Irrigation systems are implemented to regulate the transfer of water between rivers and ditches for agricultural and commercial purposes. Crops are sown and harvested according to the irrigation system used. This determines the income potential of the crop production.
Agricultural lands are normally allocated on the basis of size of family. Large numbers of small plots are classified as revenue intensive with limited potential for income. Income risk analysis classifies larger farms into several groups: income friendly; income poor; and income demanding. The land assets of larger farms are sold to meet the financial requirements of the family members. Thus, the larger farms are operated as businesses earning higher returns through high prices for productive crops.
Agriculture is dependent on a number of factors such as location, soil quality, climatic conditions, and availability of water. Agriculture produces food, fiber, fuels, chemicals, and other products including ornamental plants, livestock, feed, and pharmaceutical products. The demand for agricultural products is increasing rapidly due to the increase in population, modernization, and economic globalization. According to the agricultural development reports of the previous two decades, agricultural production has been on a steady rise resulting to an increased demand for agricultural products in the market.
In the previous century, the majority of world wheat production was supplied by European and American agricultural crops, which accounted for about 95% of the agricultural production. However, after World War II, Japan introduced the Arequipa or silvery grey maize, which is tolerant to both frost and wet weather conditions. This introduced a new kind of crop to the markets and caused a dramatic increase in production in the area. In addition, with the introduction of this new crop, the demand for agricultural produce, particularly maize, is also on the rise resulting to a need for more soil, fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.
Agriculture has its share of contributions towards environmental pollution. One of the major contributors to this pollution is the use of insecticides and antibiotics by farmers. These chemical substances have both adverse effects on the environment and the health of the people who consume these products. In addition, farmers overuse insecticides and antibiotics that result to various health problems in humans such as infertility, cancer, birth defects, and death among others.
Climate change is a major threat to agricultural lands. This phenomenon results to more production factors to be affected and will consequently affect climate change. Air temperature, precipitation, wind speed, drought, and snowfall all affect the productivity of agricultural fields. As a result, agricultural emissions are released into the atmosphere, polluting the air, soil, and water thereby contributing to the rising of carbon emission levels.