What is subsistence agriculture and what was its origin
The origin of agriculture was very different from this professional sector as we know it today.
If today the majority of farms try to obtain the maximum yield, increase the kilos harvested each year and earn more money from the sale of their products, originally the crops were much less productive and the farmers did not demand as much from their land: it was a subsistence agriculture.
What is subsistence farming and its advantages
To define it in a few words, subsistence agriculture is one in which the farmer controls his production very well to collect the fruits, vegetables and vegetables that he needs only for his usual consumption.
What was subsistence farming? Well, the one in which a family dedicated itself entirely to working a small plot and ate and subsisted only on the food that the land gave them.
Subsistence agriculture has that definition: it is not produced to sell and earn money, but to live and exploit the land in its fair measure.
What are the advantages of this type of cultivation? The first and foremost is that the land that is cultivated suffers less. As they are farms that are not intended for commerce, the farmers work the land respecting their cycles of rest and recovery.
In this way, the land is much more fertile, the quality of the crops rises without the need to make excessive use of fertilizers, etc.
Thus, it is not necessary to invest large amounts of money to develop these crops, since they are dedicated to the local area and it is an agriculture that is especially sensitive to the environment, nature and care for the climate, flora and fauna.
Finally, in cases where there is a minimum surplus, it can be sold to generate a little extra income with which to generate family wealth.
Different modalities of subsistence agriculture
There are generally three types of subsistence agriculture. They have been used since the origin of agriculture and have changed relatively little over time.
Extensive rainfed agriculture
Used in tropical areas of Africa, South America and Asia , it is one of the most ecological and self-managed forms of agriculture: organic matter from animal droppings is used as fertilizer to prepare the soil.
The particularity of this agriculture is that farmers alternate crops and even leave land fallow, without any type of plantation, so that its fertility is not exhausted and it recovers before a new plantation.
Farming by cremation or ashes
In this type of subsistence agriculture, the soil is prepared with a fertilizer produced by burning forests. The ashes are spread on the ground and serve as a natural fertilizer that gives the soil the necessary components for the crops to grow healthy and strong and offer an interesting production.
Irrigated rice farming
Typical of areas where rainfall abounds: rice needs a lot of water and it is also an ideal plantation because it does not generate great wear on the soil.
This type of subsistence farming is carried out on large tracts of land, where the seeds are planted before the soil is completely flooded.
Widely used in Asia, the production capacity is much higher than in the other two types of cultivation, so that the land is usually managed by several families in order to serve as food for medium and even large population centers.
What is the origin of this type of agriculture
Where is the origin of subsistence agriculture? As has already been pointed out, it is the oldest form of cultivation. It arose when man abandoned the nomadic life and settled in small towns.
At that point, it was impossible for him to live on what the land gave naturally, so that human beings had to devise a way of working the land to, in a more or less artificial way, generate at least the minimum cereals, vegetables and fruits to live without having to move.
Experts account for the appearance of this type of subsistence agriculture in the Paleolithic period. This is demonstrated by some archaeological excavations carried out in the Middle East, where remains of plantations from about 23,000 years ago have been found.
This process went hand in hand with the domestication of wild animals such as goats or pigs, which gave families, clans or villages the possibility of having enough meat and vegetables to live all year.
Although the first forms of subsistence agriculture were very limited, man gradually evolved cultivation, fertilization and irrigation systems to convert plots into small territories that take care of the land while offering tasty, healthy and rich fruits.