Social factors also influence farming. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes:Agriculture:Factors influencing farming: Social and Political factors

  • These can also include socio-cultural factors.
  • The social factors include issues of the traditions of people together with consumption behavior.
  • This may include capabilities of the farmer which are controlled by economic and perhaps political issues.
  • For example, in much of rural Africa, people are used to subsistence farming and land sub-division (fragmentation) for so long that low production has become the norm rather than the rule.
  • On the other hand, farmers of European origin have always commercialized their farming following very strict capitalist rules.
  • Co-existence of such parallel farming economies in most former colonies has created economic dualism and political friction.
  • This has led to the Third Chimurenga commonly known as Hondo yeMinda in Zimbabwe.
  • Commercial capitalists have acquired large tracts of land through colonial constitutional means, marginalizing indigenous people in the process with the result that output on commercial farms has always been higher but ironically with the help of cheap indigenous labour.


  • In centrally planned governments it is the state not the individual that makes the farming decision.
  • EU quotas and subsidies can affect crop choice.
  • In countries like Zimbabwe, government determines producer prices for agricultural commodities in advance and farmers respond by growing the crops with profitable producer prices.
  • Traditionally in Zimbabwe there has been a major shift in communal areas from growing small grains such as rapoko, millet and sorghum to the growing of cash crops like cotton, tobacco, maize and in some areas, coffee, sugar cane and vegetables.
  • Some have commercially ventured into dairy farming in the form of co-operatives.

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page