Farming Systems

Essay by Lightninggt March 2005

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Extensive Subsistence


Subsistence farming was the traditional type of agriculture in many parts of the world. Currently, the lesser economically developed countries are the ones that still use this technique. Extensive farming is farming that is carried out on a larger scale compared with intensive farming.

Extensive subsistence is farming where there is small input including labour and capital in relation to the area being farmed. Typically, the yield per hectare is very low and output per farmer is low. Therefore, the basic need for food for families or local communities in the lesser economically developed countries is fulfilled but not much more is yield for commercial use. Because these farmers are poor, they tend to only manage to stay as sedentary farmers. Sometimes the whole family is involved in working in the field to maximize yields.

The conditions of the input are usually rather poor; the climate, soil, and relief are not the best quality, and the technology used is traditional such as axes.

With arable farming, usually without chemicals as fertilizers, there tend to be more weed and the harvest is slower. With pastoral farming, the animals are usually not as healthy for lack of health care and good food. Since there is much land, mixed farming is often used with the poorer land for ranching for the animals.


Still existing in many parts of the world today, Aborigines and natives live in rainforests and around the Sahara desert and they survive by extensive subsistence. (refer to figure 2) Though almost all are aware of the existence of other societies, some are confused when they seem technology.

These people have a simple lifestyle and adapt to the environment. They eat almost anything edible they can find including wild animals, crops, and fish. When they need a...