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Form 1 Agriculture Notes on Introduction to Agriculture

Grade/Class: Form 1

Subject: Agriculture

Term: Select Term

Document Type: PDF


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The art and science of crop and livestock production.
• As an art it involves the following:
- Tilling the land
- Construction of farm structures
- Measuring distances
- Machine operations
- Harvesting of crops
- Feeding and handling animals
- Marketing of agricultural produce
• As a science it involves the following
- Crop pathology – the study of crop diseases
- Entomology – study of insects and their control
- Soil science – the study of soils.
- Genetics
• Production refers to all the activities that increase the quality and quantity of something.
• In crop production they include the following: land preparation, planting, fertilizers and manure application, weeding, pest and diseases – control, and harvesting.
• In livestock production the activities involves the following: selection and breading, feeding ,rearing the young stock, parasite and diseases- control, housing and obtaining the products from the animals.

Branches of Agriculture
• Crop Farming ( Arable farming)

Production of crops in a cultivated land it involves the following:
Field crops
- Crops grown in a fairly large area of land.

Horticultural crops
- They are perishable crops.

Horticultural farming involves the following:
i. Olericulture - the growing of vegetables such as French beans, cabbages, tomatoes onions under both small scale and large scale.
ii. Pomoculture - growing of fruits such as citrus, mangoes, passion fruits and pineapples.
iii. Floriculture – growing of flowers such as tuberose

• Livestock farming
i. Pastoralism ( mammalian livestock Farming)
ii. Fish farming ( Aquaculture)
iii. Bee keeping ( Apiculture)
iv. Poultry keeping

Agricultural Economics
- Branch of agriculture dealing with utilization of scares resources

Agricultural engineering
- Deal with the use and maintains of farm tools, machinery and structures.

Farming system
- This is the organization of the farm and all the enterprises in relation to each other.

Types of farming system
• Extensive system
- Requires large tracts of land, low capital investment and low labour per unit area.
• Intensive system
- Requires high capital and high labour investment per unit area.

Intensive or extensive farming can be carried out under large scale or small scale farming. The scale of production depends on the level of technology, availability of land, capital and skilled labour.
• Large scale farming
- Use of large tracts of land
- Heavy capital investment
- Skilled labour and high level management.
- Carried out for commercial purposes
- Operation costs per unit of production are low
i.) Plantation Farming
- Large scale firm, characterized by the production of one crop.
ii. Ranching
- The keeping of livestock in marginal range areas.
• Small – scale Farming
- Practiced on a small piece of land.

Methods of Farming
• Mixed Farming
- Growing of crops and rearing of animals on the same farm.
• Nomadic pastoralism
- Pastoralism is the practice of rearing livestock on natural pasture while nomadism is the practice of moving from one place to another.
- The two practices when combined gives us nomadic pastoralism.
• Shifting cultivation
- Involves farming on a piece of land continuously until it is exhausted after which the farmer moves to a more fertile ground.
- Practiced where:
- Land is abundant
- Population is sparse
- Number of livestock per unit area is low
- Land is communally owned.

- It has low capital requirement.
- There is no pest and diseases build up
- Soil structure is maintained
- No land disputes as land ownership is not individualized.

- Low yields
- Time wasting
- Not applicable in high population density

• Organic Farming
- This is the growing of crops and rearing of animals without using agricultural chemicals.
- It is environmentally friendly and the products do not have any inorganic chemicals residues.

• Agroforestry
- This involves growing of trees and crops and keeping of animals on the same piece of land.

Roles of agriculture in the economy
• A source of food supply: This sector supplies food to the population. It ensures healthy and strong people who participate in economic development activities/money saved is used on other economic activities.
• It is a source of employment: This sector provides direct employment to over 70% of Kenya’s population. Some are directly employed as farmers or farm workers while others are indirectly employed in the agro-based industries.
• It is a foreign exchange earner for the country: Agriculture products such as coffee, tea, pyrethrum, horticultural products, and livestock products from Kenya are exported to other countries. After exporting these they earn the country foreign currency which in turn is used to import other products such as machinery/saves money which would have been used for buying these commodities.
• It is a source of raw materials for industries: Most of agricultural products require processing before use. Industries such as rice mills, breweries, canning factories and leather tanning have been set up to process such products.
• It provides a market for industrial goods: Agriculture sector provides a market for industrial goods such as chemicals, tools, and equipment.
• It is a source of income/revenue: This is used to purchase farms requirements such as tools, fertilizers, pesticides and machinery/government earns revenue from income tax from farmers to finance.
• Promotes international relationship: This creates jobs and foreign market.


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