Commercial Tobacco Farming. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes:Agriculture:Farming types in Africa: Commercial Crop Farming

  • Commercial farming involves the growing of crops and the rearing of animals on a large scale for sale of products.
  • Commercial farming is agribusiness with the farmer aiming to have the highest returns from the farm.
  • To achieve this, the far,er must have adequate land, capital fro inputs, water for crops or animals and the necessary expertise or skills.
  • Climatic conditions must also be favorable to the type of farming chosen by the farmer.
  • Labour  must be available and cheap.
  • Markets, transport and machinery are all crucial for commercial crop farming.

Areas where its practiced

ZimbabweRest of Africa
TobaccoTobacco-Malawi, South Africa, Nigeria
MaizeGroundnuts-Nigeria, Gambia, Senegal
Wheat, barleyCotton-Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria
Cotton, paprikaTea-Malawi, Kenya, Ethiopia
Tea, deciduous fruitCoffee/Cocoa-Ghana, Nigeria,DRC, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivore
Sugar caneRubber-Liberia, Nigeria, DRC, Cameroon
Coffee, groundnutsPalm oil-Nigeria, Cameroon, DRC
Soya beansMaize-South Africa, Zambia
Citurs, vinesSugar cane-South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania
Land-500 to 100 000 haland preparation-tree felling using bulldozers, caterpillars and ripper saws, ploughing by tractors, basal dressing of fertilisersFood crops-maize, millet, groundnuts, rice,sorghum and wheat, potatoes, beans, apples, vegetables.
Rainfall-water for irrigation from rivers, dams, lakes or acquifersPlanting-using seed drills or by hand tobaccoIndustrial crops-tobacco, cotton, oil seeds, sunflower, soya beans, sugar
Capital-from banks or other farmers.Weeding-by hand of hired labour.Beverages- Tea, coffee, vines
Labour-from the farmer himself, skilled and semi-skilled workers from the population.spraying-using back packs or by air crafts, hired labour.Meat-fresh, frozen, dried and salted.
Machinery-tractors, disc harrows, ploughs, seed drills, cultivators, lorries, spray aircraft, combine harvesters, graders.Harvesting-combine harvesters for cereals or cultivators for potatoes.Milk-fresh, pasteurized, powdered, cheese, yoghurt
Agro-chemicals-insecticides, herbicides, vaccines, fertilisersTransporting-by tractors or lorries or rail or air for flowers.Skins and hides-for leather industries e.g making belts and shoes
Hybrid seeds-from research stations and production farms.Storage-use of barns.Bone, horns and hooves-for glue, buttons, enamel, pet foods
Breeding stock-from other farmers or importedProcessing, grading and packing- for tea, coffee, tobacco and cotton.
Marketing-local and abroad.
Manure- for feeding crops.
Capital-for re-investment, for labour.

Advantages of commercial crop farming

  • Self sufficient in food supply.
  • Improving the diet of people resulting in a well-nourished nation.
  • Foreign currency earnings through exports to other countries.
  • Employment creation in various stages of commercial farming, raising of living standards.
  • Development of industries either to support agriculture or to use agricultural raw materials.
  • Development of infrastructure fro example roads, rails, airstrips, education, health.
  • diffusion of farming skills to local small-scale farmers.

Disadvantages of commercial crop farming

  • Takes up much land when other farmers have none.
  • Monopoly of products leads to little control of prices on the market.
  • Much land lies idle as not all land on commercial farms is utilised.
  • Suppresses growth of the small scale sector due to large economies of scale.
  • Under-paying of unskilled labour.
  • Poor housing and sanitation on the farms.
  • Use of child labour during crucial periods of planting and harvesting, bordering on child abuse.

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