What is Agriculture? Definition or Meaning of Agriculture -

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When we say agriculture, what really is the meaning of agriculture? Agriculture is derived from the Latin word ‘Ager’ which means land or field and ‘Culture’ which means cultivation.

Agriculture is the cultivation of land or the soil for growing plants or crops and the rearing of animals or raising of livestock for human needs which includes but not limited to the basic needs of man (food, shelter and clothes). Simply put, agriculture involves farming ( crop farming and livestock farming or animal husbandry).

Difference Between Agriculture and Farming

Although agriculture and farming are synonymous it should be noted that they are not exactly the same despite their use interchangeably by people. While agriculture involves the cultivation of field or soil for growing plants/crops as well as animals, farming is simply the implementation of agriculture. In another perspective, agriculture includes  more topics while farming can be regarded as an aspect of agriculture. Agriculture covers a large subject area which includes genetic engineering of crops, plant breeding, production of resistant varieties, research and development on agriculture as well as others too numerous to mention.

Agriculture as Crop Production and Animal Production

In terms of crop farming (crop production or plant production) and livestock farming (animal production), the definition of agriculture can thus be seen as the art, science, practice and business of growing plants and other crops and the raising of animals for food, other human needs or economic gains. In other words, agriculture goes beyond the production of crops and animals. Agriculture also involves the preparation, processing, packaging, transportation and marketing of agricultural products.

As regards animal production, agriculture thus includes livestock(cattle, sheep, goat, poultry, piggery, etc), pets, fishery and other sea foods of animal origin. From the ongoing, we can therefore say that agriculture is the use of agricultural equipment and machinery(traditional or modern farm equipment and machinery) and agrochemicals for the production of agricultural products ( both plant products and animal products) for human consumption, commercial purposes and other numerous industrial applications.

Apart from the provision of the basic needs of man, agriculture over the years has been known to be a source of fibers, biofuels, medicines (drugs) and other products which are necessary for the enhancement of human life as well as sustain humans directly and indirectly.

Two main divisions of agriculture are crop production and animal production. Crop production includes agronomy (the science of soil management and crop production) and horticulture (the art or practice of garden cultivation and management). Horticulture is simply referred to as gardening. Forestry (the science or practice of planting, managing, and caring for forests) can also be classified as part of plant production. Another term for forestry is silviculture.

The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science which involves studying and acquiring the basic, intermediate and advanced knowledge of plants/crops and animals.

Agricultural history dates back to thousands of years. Men and women of old and their families were involved in agriculture using crude implements. The development of agriculture  has been greatly affected by different climates, cultures and technologies. Agriculture from origin till date  has many business opportunities (agricultural business opportunities) or investment opportunities (agricultural investment opportunities).

Besides, over the years and till date the food industry (food sector) and agricultural industry (agriculture sector) has been and is still creating jobs directly (agriculture jobs or agriculture services or jobs in agriculture or agricultural jobs) and indirectly through agro-allied industries and food industries both locally and internationally.

Other than animal products, according to wikipedia’s explanation of agriculture, the major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers, fuels, and raw materials. Specific foods include cereals (grains), vegetables, fruits, oils, meats and spices. Fibers include cotton, wool, hemp, silk and flax. Raw materials include lumber and bamboo. Other useful materials are produced by plants such as resins, dyes, drugs, perfumes, biofuels and ornamental products such as cut flowers and nursery plants.

It is reported that over one third of the world’s workers are employed in agriculture, second only to the services’ sector. The percentage of agricultural workers in developed countries has decreased significantly over the past several centuries. The reverse will most likely be the case because.

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