Agriculture Class 8 Geography Chapter 4 Explanation


CBSE Class 8 Geography Chapter 4 Agriculture– Detailed explanation of the chapter ‘Agriculture’ along with question answers. Given here is the complete explanation of the lesson, along with all the exercises, Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson.

See Video Explanation of Class 8 Geography Chapter 4 Agriculture

Class 8 Geography Chapter 4 – Agriculture


In the process of agriculture, plants get transformed into different finished products. This process involves economic activities of three different types. These activities can be divided as Primary Activities, Secondary Activities and Tertiary Activities. 

Agriculture Class 8 Video Explanation


Under Primary Activity, all those jobs which are connected with production and extradition of natural resources are involved. Few of the examples of such activities are gathering, agriculture and fishing. 

Processing of these natural resources is classified under Secondary Activity. Weaving of clothes, manufacturing of steel along with baking of bread is an example of such activities.

With the help of services, tertiary activities provide service and support to primary and secondary activities. Advertising, Transport, banking, trade and insurance are examples of such activities.

A crucial example of primary activity is Agriculture. This activity involves processes such as growing flowers, fruits, vegetables and crops and rearing of different livestock animals such as sheep, camels, etc. Around 50% of the population across the globe is involved in agriculture activity. In India, two thirds of Indian population is still involved in agriculture. 

In order to carry out agriculture activity successfully, favorable topography involves climate and soil. Arable land is a type of land where crops of various types are grown. 

Following map illustrates different places across the world where the activity of agriculture is concentrated around those regions across the globe where required factors in order to carry out agriculture activity exists:

Do You Know?

  • Agriculture: The art and science of carrying out cultivation on the soil, rearing livestocks such as sheep and raising crops is known as agriculture. Farming is another name for agriculture.
  • Sericulture: The rearing of silkworms in order to carry out rearing for commercial purposes. It helps to supplement a farmer’s income.
  • Viticulture: When farmers rear grapes for commercial purposes.
  • Pisciculture: When fish are breeded in ponds and tanks especially for that purpose. 
  • Horticulture: When fruits, vegetables or flowers are grown for commercial purpose. 


Farm System

Farming or agriculture is also identified as a system. Few of the important inputs of agriculture are machinery, seeds, fertilizers and labour. Weeding, ploughing, sowing, harvesting and irrigation are some of the important operations involved in the process of agriculture. Dairy, crops, wool and poultry are some of the outputs of this system. 

Types of Farming

There are different ways to practise farming across the world. Based on the availability of technology and labour, geographical conditions, demand of produce; farming is classified into two categories:

  • Subsistence Farming
  • Commercial Farming

Subsistence Farming

In order to meet the needs of the family of a farmer, this type of farming is followed. Household labour along with the technology of low level are used to produce output on a small scale. This type of farming is further classified into two parts:

  1. Intensive Subsistence Agriculture: Here the farmer takes the help of more labour and tools of small size in order to cultivate his plot of land small in size. Few farmers are able to grow more than one crop in the same land in case the climate manages to have sunshine for a greater number of days and the soil manages to remain fertile. The most important crop is Rice. The example of other crops are maize, oilseeds, pulses and wheat. Intensive Subsistence agriculture is mainly practised in areas which have a thick population such as East, Southeast and South Asia. These areas mainly receive rainfall during the season of monsoon. 
  2. Primitive Subsistence Agriculture: It consists of Nomadic Herding and Shifting Cultivation. 

The practice of Nomadic Herding is prevalent in arid as well as semi arid regions of Central Asia and Sahara. In India, this system is prevalent in Jammu & Kashmir along with Rajasthan. In the process of nomadic farming, a herdsman travels with his livestock from one place to another in a well defined route in order to get water and fodder.

Some of the commonly reared livestock animals are yaks, sheep, camels and goats. Herders along with their families get hides, milk, wool, meat and other items from these livestock animals.

  • Farmers usually practise Shifting Cultivation in regions such as tropical Africa, Northeast India, Amazon Basin and certain parts of Southeast India. These regions have thick forests and get heavy rainfall and vegetation could be regenerated quickly. In this process, the herders clear a piece of land by cutting all the trees and then they burn it. Then they mix its ashes along with the soil of that region. Crops such as cassava, maize, potatoes and yams are mostly cultivated. 

As the soil starts losing its fertility after one or two crops are cultivated on that piece of land, farmers abandon that land. They move to a new piece of land. Another name for Shifting Cultivation is ‘Slash and Burn’ agriculture. It is known by different names in different places across the world. In Mexico, it is known as Milpa, in Brazil it is known as Roca, in North-East India it is known as Jhuming and in Malaysia, it is known as Ladang. 

Commercial Farming

In order to sell the products obtained from the rearing of animals and growing of certain crops, commercial farming is performed. The amount of capital involved in this process and the area where it is cultivated is in large amounts. Machines are used to carry out most of the work. There are three types of commercial farming:

  • Commercial Grain Farming: In this process, the farmers grow crops for commercial purposes. Few of the examples of the commercially grown grains are maize and wheat. Some of the major regions where farmers practice this type of farming on a large scale are temperate grasslands of Asia, Europe and North America. These areas have large farms that are spread over hundreds of acres and have sparse populations. However, the farming is restricted during the winter season as the winters are harsh. Due to this, the farmers grow only a single crop throughout the year.
  • Mixed Farming: The farmers use the land in order to grow fodder and food crops. Along with this, they also rear livestock. Mixed Farming is carried out in regions such as Argentina, Europe, southeast Asia, South Africa and New Zealand. 

Plantation Farming: In this type of commercial farming, the farmers grow a single crop of sugarcane, coffee, cashew, tea, cotton, rubber or banana. This process needs labour and capital in a large amount. One may process the products at the farm or even use the nearby factories. The areas where such farming  carried out need to have its transport network developed.

One can spot the major plantation regions around the tropical areas of the planet. Few of the examples of such plantation farming are tea in Sri-Lanka and India, Coffee in Brazil, and Rubber in Malaysia. 

Major Crops

The global population has seen a large growth rate in the last few decades. In order to feed the growing number of stomachs, farmers across the world grow different varieties of crops. The crops are also grown in order to get raw materials for those industries which are agro-based. Crops such as maize, rice, millets and wheat are some of the food crops grown on a large scale. Cotton and Jute are examples of fibre crops. The examples of widely used beverage crops are coffee and tea. 

Rice: A large section of the world population eats rice as their basic food. Hence, it is considered a major food crop. Usually, people residing in subtropical and tropical regions consume a lot of rice. In order to grow rice, a region must have high rainfall and humidity and high temperature as well. Usually, the alluvial clayey soil is best to grow rice as it is capable of retaining water. China is the leading producer of rice across the world. 

Other major countries that grow rice are India, Sri Lanka, Japan and Egypt. The regions such as Bangladesh and West Bengal have certain favorable climatic conditions due to which farmers are able to grow two to three crops in a year.

Wheat: A region must have moderate rainfall and temperature during the harvest season of this crop. Loamy soil which has been drained well is good for sowing wheat. Crops such as wheat can thrive well when sown in such a soil. The USA is the major producer of wheat followed by Ukraine, India, Canada, Australia and Argentina. Winter is the best season to grow wheat in India. 

Millets: These crops are an example of coarse grains. They can be easily grown in sandy soil or those soil which are less fertile. Millets need adequate temperature and less rainfall to grow. Ragi, Jowar and Bajra are examples of millet crops which are grown in our country. Niger, Nigeria and China are few of the other countries that grow millets. 

Maize: To grow maize, the farmers need moderate rainfall as well as temperature with sunshine in adequate amounts. The soil that is being utilized to grow maize should be fertile and drained well. Farmers from different countries such as Mexico, North America, India, Brazil, Russia, and Canada grow maize.

Cotton: Those farmers who grow cotton need to have light rainfall, bright sunshine, high temperature and at least two hundred and ten days should be free from frost. Alluvial soil and black soil are best for growing cotton. India, China, Egypt, Pakistan, USA and Brazil are the leading producers of cotton.

Jute: Earlier this plant used to be known as ‘Golden Fibre.’ Alluvial soil is considered best to grow jute. One needs heavy rainfall, high temperature and humid climate in order to cultivate jute as a crop. Bangladesh and India are two of the major producers of this crop. 

Coffee: A region needs to have wet and warm climate and loamy soil which is drained well in order to grow coffee. Coffee is mainly cultivated in the slopes of hills. It is mainly cultivated in Brazil. The other countries are India and Columbia. 

Tea: It is a type of Beverage crop that is hugely popular in our country. The cultivators grow it on plantations. The area where it is being cultivated needs to have rainfall in a well distributed amount and cool temperature. It helps the tender leaves of tea plants to grow properly. Gentle slopes along with well drained loamy soil are best locations to grow tea plantations. The owners of these plantations need trained labourers in huge numbers in order to pluck right tea leaves. Sri Lanka, India, Kenya and China are few of the countries that produce tea of high quality.

Agricultural Development

The collective efforts that are made in order to meet the increasing food demands of the growing population so that farm production could be increased is called Agriculture Development. The various ways to increase the agriculture development in a particular region are:

  • Number of crops grown.
  • Cropped areas are being increased.
  • Irrigation facilities are being improved.
  • Introduction of high yield variety of seeds.
  • Use of good quality fertilizers.

Another important aspect in order to boost agriculture development is mechanization of agriculture. Its ultimate goal is to increase food security. 

There are different ways to practise agriculture in different places across the world. Depending on temperature, climate, rainfall and type of soil found in an area – it is decided which crop would be grown. The developing countries mostly register a high growth rate in the population. In these places, intensive agriculture is practised at a high rate. Farmers grow different crops on small holdings for the purpose of subsistence mostly. Countries such as Australia, the USA and Canada are meant to have larger holdings to carry out commercial agriculture practises. Let’s take examples of agriculture practices in  a developed and developing country.

A Farm in India

In Uttar Pradesh’s Gazipur district, there is  a village named Adilabad. A farmer named Munna Lal resides in this village with farmland worth 1.5 hectares. His house is located on the mainland of Adilabad. He purchases seeds of high varieties from the market every alternate year. Basically his land is fertile due to which he is able to grow two crops every year. He takes the advice of his friends, elders and government officials regarding different practises of agriculture. Sometimes, he uses traditional methods such as taking the help of bullocks in order to plough his fields. On the other days, he rents a tractor which is a major method to carry out agriculture activities. Apart from that, he rents a tubewell from a nearby field in order to carry out the irrigation process.

Munna Lal also owns a few hens and two buffaloes. He sells the milk of these animals to a co-operative society for extra income. He also takes advice from experts regarding what kind of fodders should be served to animals. His animals have undergone artificial insemination and he takes steps to protect their health from time to time. 

His family members also help him in order to carry out different activities on the farm. He also takes loans from nearby banks to buy High Yield variety seeds. He sells his agriculture products in a nearby mandi. Farmers like Munna Lal do not have access to storage facilities. Hence, they are forced to sell their products even when the market is not favorable. 

The Government of India has come up with different storage facilities in order to help such farmers.

A Farm in the USA

A farm present in the USA is much larger as compared to the ones found in India. Typically, the US farms have a size of around 250 hectares. The owner of this farm resides here itself. Sugarbeat, soyabean, cotton and wheat are few of the major crops that are grown here. Joe Horan is a farmer from Iowa state’s midwest region. He owns a farm whose size is 300 hectares. Mainly he grows corn on this farm. He takes adequate steps to check the quality of fertilizers being used and water is supplied as per requirement. 

Joe also sends the soil sample from his farm to labs present in the region in order to check its nutrition value. With the help of this, he plans a scientific fertilizer program for his farm. He has linked his computer with a satellite. With its help, he can access a clear picture of his fields. He uses pesticides and fertilizers as per requirement. He takes the help of combined harvesters, tractors, levellers, seed drills, threshers and other tools in order to carry out different agriculture operations.  

Further, he stores the grains in an automated grain storage which is further dispatched to different market agencies for sale. 

The farmers of the USA work as businessmen and not like peasants and farmers. 

Questions and Answers

  1. Answer the following questions.

      (i) What is agriculture?

       Answer: Farming is another name for agriculture. It is the art and science of cultivation of soil,      raising of crops and rearing of livestocks. 

(ii) Name the factors influencing agriculture?

Answer: The factors that influence agriculture are as follows:

  1. Soil: It provides support and essential nutrients to the crops. Different types of soil are important to grow different types of crops. 
  2. Climate: It affects agriculture activities throughout the year. One can grow a particular crop in a particular climate only.
  3. Physical Features: Arable Land is required to grow crops. Rice grows more easily in alluvial soil than deserts.
  4. Socio-Economic Factors: One needs labour, capital, machinery, and availability of seeds in order to carry out farming. 

(iii) What is shifting cultivation? What are its disadvantages?

Answer: It is practised in those areas which constitute thick forests such as North East India. It is a type of agriculture practise where herders clear a patch of forest land and then burn it in order to carry out the farming process. They mix ashes with soil afterwards and grow crops such as potato, yams, corn and others. In India, this process is known as ‘Jhumming.’

The disadvantages of shifting cultivation are as follows:

  1. The soil of an area loses its fertility.
  2. Trees are cut on a large amount which causes loss to environment and biodiversity.
  3. The region becomes vulnerable to soil erosion.

(iv) What is plantation agriculture?

Answer: Plantation agriculture is a type of farming method where different crops are grown for commercial purposes. Banana, Tea, Coffee, Cashew, Rubber and Sugarcane are some of the crops that are grown under plantation agriculture. Extensive labour, capital and huge amount of plantland is needed in order to carry out plantation farming. 

(v) Name the fiber crops and name the climatic conditions required for their growth.

Answer: Cotton and Jute are some of the fiber crops.

In order to grow cotton, a region needs to have frost free days for a period of two hundred and ten days, bright sunshine and rainfall in light amounts. Alluvial and Black soils are best to grow it.

In order to grow jute, a region must have a humid climate, heavy rainfall and high temperature.

2. Tick the correct answer.

(i) Horticulture means

(a) growing of fruits and vegetables                     

(b) primitive farming

(c) growing of wheat

Answer: (a) growing of fruits and vegetables  

(ii) Golden fibre refers to

(a) tea   (b) cotton (c) jute

Answer: (c) Jute

(iii) Leading producers of coffee

(a) Brazil   (b) India (c) Russia

Answer: (a) Brazil

3. Give reasons.

(i) In India agriculture is a primary activity.

Answer: In India, more than two-thirds of the population is dependent on agriculture. It is a primary activity. Here, people are dependent on nature directly to carry out the farming process. As the unemployment rate is high and illiteracy rate is low, the majority of people carry out agriculture activity. 

 As India has a high rate of population growth, subsistence farming is practised on a large scale. It involves growing flowers, fruits and vegetables & rearing livestock animals such as cows, goats, sheep, etc. So, agriculture is the primary activity in India. 

(ii) Different crops are grown in different regions.

Answer: A number of factors are responsible to carry out the process of farming. Humidity, climate, rainfall, type of soil found in a particular region, availability of land, labour and capital are responsible for carrying out the process of farming. Hence, different crops are grown in different regions.

4. Distinguish between the following.

(i) Primary activities and tertiary activities

Primary Activity
Tertiary Activity
It involves direct production and extradition of natural resources.
It is involved with natural resources’ procession.
Hunting, gathering and Agriculture are examples of primary activity.
Baking of bread and Manufacturing of different items for daily use are few of the examples.


(ii) Subsistence farming and intensive farming

Subsistence Farming
Intensive Farming
Low amounts of technology and labour is involved.
Simple tools are involved. Farmers rely hugely on labour available.
The output produced is medium.
The output produced is low.