Intensive Farming, Meaning, Characteristics, Advantages & Disadvantages

Intensive Farming

Intensive farming means a method of farming in which land is intensively cultivated, employing a large number of people and huge capital. Generally, this type of farming is practised in regions with high population density and limited land supply.

Intensive Farming is so intensive that double-cropping or triple cropping is practised. Several crops are grown on the same piece of land for a year in this farming. Very smallholdings and fragmented lands are the characteristic features of this type of cultivation.

Read More: Extensive Farming

Intensive Farming Examples of Crops Grown

Here are some examples of crops that are commonly grown using intensive farming methods:

  • Wheat
  • Rice
  • Corn
  • Soyabeans
  • Vegetables etc.

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Intensive Farming Areas of Practice

This type of farming is best developed and practically confined to the monsoon lands of Asia. It is practised in China, India, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and parts of insular South-East Asia (Indonesia, Java, Sumatra, and Malaysia. These regions also have the highest concentration of population in the world.

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Intensive Farming Characteristics

Intensive farming is characterized by the following features:

  • The very small landholding is one of the significant characteristics of this type of farming. It is because of the high population density and limited supply of labour.
  • Intensive farming is labour-intensive agriculture and is practised in regions of dense population.
  • It is found in developing countries of south-east Asia, where agriculture is the mainstay of the population.
  • In this type of farming, the use of maximum labour, fertilisers, and high-yielding seeds are used to grow more and more crops and preserve the land’s fertility.
  • Intensive farming brings about the highest yield per hectare.
  • The per capita production of crops is low due to the heavy pressure of the population on the land.
  • Cultivation is practised with the aid of irrigation where it is necessary.
  • Intensive farming is well developed in areas where the physical environment for crop production is highly conducive.
  • Due to heavy pressure on the land, emphasis is given to food crop production, such as rice, wheat, etc.
  • Other crops of high cash value, such as jute, cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, and oilseed, are also raised. They form an important part of this type of farming;
  • Intensive farmings also show the characteristics of mixed farming as it raises livestock and animals together with crop production.

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Intensive Farming Advantages

  • It presents the highest yield per hectarė.
  • A wide variety of crops are raised.
  • Both food crops and cash crops are grown. Hence, marginal profits increase.

Read More: Monsoon in India

Intensive Farming Disadvantages

  • The cost of cultivation is high; because it requires irrigation, manure, fertilizers, and high-yielding seeds.
  • Intensive farming may pose problems like soil erosion and soil exhaustion.

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Intensive Farming and Subsistence Farming

Intensive farming and subsistence farming are two very different types of agricultural practices that have different goals, inputs, and methods.

Intensive FarmingSubsistence Farming
  • Intensive farming is a type of agriculture that aims to maximize the output of crops or livestock using a smaller area of land.
  • This method typically involves high inputs of labor, capital, and technology to increase productivity and reduce costs. Intensive farming often uses modern technologies and practices, such as chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation, to increase yields and produce high-quality products for the market.
  • The goal of intensive farming is to produce as much food or other agricultural products as possible to meet the growing demand from consumers.
  • Subsistence Farming, on the other hand, is a type of agriculture that aims to produce enough food and other products to meet the basic needs of a family or community.
  • This type of farming typically involves low inputs of labor, capital, and technology and uses traditional methods and knowledge to manage crops and livestock.
  • The goal of subsistence farming is not to produce a surplus for the market, but rather to provide for the basic needs of the household or community, including food, fuel, and other necessities.

Intensive Rice Farming in South-East Asia

Rice is the principal foodgrain of the Tropical Monsoon region. There are various reasons for the concentration-intensive rice (paddy) farming in South-East Asia. It is grown in the following geographical environment:

Physical Conditions

  • Climatic Conditions: Rice thrives best under the tropical monsoon’s hot and moist climatic conditions.
    • Rainfall: It requires plenty of rain. The region gets rainfall between 150 cm to 200 cm and is most favourable for rice cultivation. From the time of planting, rice needs rainfall; heavy rainfall is also required during its growing period.
    • Temperature: Rice cultivation requires hot weather ranging between 16°C and 27°C. It needs an average temperature of 22°C.
    • Other climatic conditions: Moist weather favours the growth of rice. A dry and sunny climate is necessary during the ripening period and harvesting season. Rainfall during this period is harmful to crops.
  • Soil Condition: Rice grows best on fertile alluvial soil. The alluvial soil of river valleys and deltas is very much suitable for rice cultivation. It grows on a wide variety of soils, but alluvial loam with clayey subsoil is ideal because the clay-like impermeable sub-soil holds water in the field.
  • Nature of the land: Fertile-level plains are ideal for rice cultivation. Water can easily stand on lowlands, and rice thrives best in the water-logged area,s, particularly during its growing season, and that is why rice is produced on low-lying plains, valleys, and deltaic plains. Rice is also grown on step-wise terraces on hilly slopes.

Read More: Tropical Climate

Socio-Economic Conditions

  • Supply of Labour: Rice cultivation requires an abundant supply of cheap labour as it cannot be cultivated only with the aid of machines. Tractors can be used for tilling the land, but other works, such as transplanting, weeding, cutting, harvesting, boiling, drying, husking, etc., have to be carried out with hands. In these works, the machine is not useful. Therefore, rice is generally cultivated in densely populated areas.
  • Supply of Capital: At present, agriculture has become a capital-intensive industry. Rice cultivation requires an abundant supply of chemical fertilizer, manure, high-yielding seed, irrigation facilities, insecticides, and pesticides.
  • Demand & Market: Rice is produced in regions where it is the staple food of the people. It is more popular than other cereals, and hence it has heavy demand. Therefore, people prefer to cultivate rice.

Read More: Equatorial Climate Region

Intensive Farming UPSC

A sunny environment and fertile soil are necessary for intensive subsistence farming in order to cultivate more than one crop every year on the same plot. It is common in densely populated portions of Asia’s monsoon zones, particularly in the south, southeast, and east. Rice is the principal crop raised. Wheat, maize, lentils, and oilseeds are also farmed in addition to rice. There are two different types of intensive subsistence agriculture: wet paddy cultivation-dominated intensive subsistence agriculture and crop-dominated intensive subsistence agriculture.

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