Farming requires transport to move the produce to the market. Image credit farmradio.fm

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes:Agriculture:Factors influencing farming: Economic factors

Transport

  • Types of transport available, time taken, and the cost of moving raw materials is one of the economic factors.
  • For perishable commodities for example milk, an efficient transport network is a necessity.
  • For bulky goods for examples potatoes transport costs must be lower for outputs to be profitable.
  • Items should be grown as close to the market as possible.

Markets

  • Economic factors also operate on the basis of demand, market prices for farm produce and the consumption patterns of the market.
  • If demand for certain products is high, then supply must increase and this means increasing production of the commodity in demand.
  • This affects prices which must rise and the farmers make huge profits.
  • Role of the market is closely linked with transport.
  • All farmers want to locate as close to the market as possible to reduce costs of inputs and outputs.
  • In order to accommodate as many farmers as possible, farm sizes must be small and this forces farmers to practice intensive farming.
  • However, because the demand for land is so high close to the market, this land is generally expensive.
  • Market demand depends on size and affluence of the market population.
  • It also depends on religious and cultural beliefs.
  • For example the anti-tobacco lobby is internationally so successful that tobacco production in Zimbabwe in under threat.
  • Changes in behavioural patterns of consumers economically affect production on farms.
  • As distance from the market increases, farm size increases and there is a change from intensive to semi-intensive, semi-extensive and finally extensive farming.

Technology and capital

  • Technological developments such as new strains of seed, cross-breeding of animals, improved machinery and irrigation may extend the areas for optimal conditions and the limits of production (Green Revolution).
  • Green revolution is a large increase in crop production in developing countries achieved by the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and high-yield crop varieties.
  • Lack of capital may mean that countries are unable to take advantage of these developments.
  • Where capital is available, productivity is high but where it is scarce, it is low.

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