A tea estate. Image credit blogspot.com

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes:Agriculture:Farming types in Africa: Plantation (estate) farming

  • This is the large-scale production, usually of one crop on a large piece of land called an estate, for an extended period of time.
  • The crop grown here may be perennial, that is, grown over one year on the land or annual, that is, grown in one season during the course of the year.
  • Plantation farming is a specialized type of commercial farming undertaken on a larger scale than the commercial farming.

Characteristics of estates

  • The following are some of the general characteristics which apply to the majority of estates;
  1. There is a tendency of monoculture as one crop is grown on the same land for many years, usually applicable for tree crops.
  2. Most estates are owned by transnational corporations (TNCs) or by government because that large capital outlay required for their starting and running cannot be raised by individual farmers.
  3. Land is leased by a host country to a TNC which will be working on the land while paying commissions or royalties to the government of the host country.
  4. There is specialistaion of production with specialists and research centres on the estates.
  5. Each estate is self-contained and very efficiently run. There are factories, workers’ houses, schools, clinics and recreational facilities on the estates. Some have power and radio stations.
  6. Production is market-oriented. Produce is sold on both the home and external markets.
  7. There is production of both industrial raw materials and food crops.
  8. Attached to them are local outgrower farmers which benefit considerably from the estates.

Importance of estates to countries such as Zimbabwe, Malawi and Liberia.

  • Given the size of operation of estates, they play an important role in countries where they are located in.
  • They create employment to thousands of people both local and expatriate.
  • They produce raw materials for industries.
  • They build their own factories, processing and manufacturing plants leading to industrial growth of a country.
  • They produce food for local people.
  • They produce cheap goods for local people.
  • They build roads and rails, developing transport and communications in remote areas.
  • They provide services to their workers and to the local communities, for example, schools, clinics, hospitals, pubs and stadiums.
  • Some provide technology, research and training and bursaries to local farmers and people.
  • They provide revenue to the government through taxes, commissions and royalties.

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

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