It is difficult to conceive agriculture without soil , we
have overpassed 7000 million people all over the
world and population need to be fed.
Science and technology have made it possible with
technics like hydrophonics: it is a method of growing
plants without soil but using nutrients that are
fundamental for life: water, oxygen, carbon dioxide
and enough light for photoshynthesis.
Today Israel leads this
type of agricultural
cultivation. Most of
Israel is arid and has
little water available
for crop production
I personally beleive this
kind of products do not
taste the same as if they
had been grown
naturally, why? Because
they do not follow an
ordinary proccess and
they can also be the
cause of some of the
most common diseases
1. THE PRIMARY SECTOR: Agriculture
Economic activities are grouped into three main
sectors: primary, secondary and tertiary.
The primary sector includes the economic activities
related to obtain resources directly from nature
Although agriculture is the main activity
that belongs to this sector, there are other
economic actvities involved in the primary
sector such as livestock farming, fishing
There are three activities in the primary sector
which use land to obtain natural resources:
AGRICULTURE: cultivation of land in order to obtain different
kind of plants: grasses (cereals); vegetables, bushes (vines); or
trees (olive, fruit trees). They provide food for people, fodder
for cattle and raw materials for industry.
LIVESTOCK FARMING is the breeding of animals in order to
obtain products for human use. A great variety of animal
species are bred, but the most common are
cows, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry*. Livestock farming
provides food and raw materials for industry
(meat, milk, leather, wool, fertilizer). In some cases, animals are
also put to work (in agriculture, transportation, etc.). This is
common in underdeveloped countries or poor families living in
Poultry: aves de
FORESTRY consists of managing forests in order to obtain
natural products such as wood (used to make furniture and
paper), rubberand resins.
2. AGRICULTURE DEPENDS ON A VARIETY
• The influence of the climate
• The influence of the land relief
• The influence of the soil and the vegetation
a. The influence of the
The growth of plants depends
on the temperature, the
humidity of the land and the
amount of ligth received. It is
impossible to practice
agriculture at temperatures
lower than 0°C or higher than
45°C, or in areas of very
b. The influence of the land
Farmers prefer to cultivate flat
land on plains and in valley
They avoid mountainous areas
because it is much harder to
cultivate land on slopes as
machines can’t be used and it is
necessary to cut terraces. In
addition, above a certain
altitude, the low temperatures
prevent the growth of crops.
Livestock farming and
forestry, on the other hand, are
better able to adapt to
c. The influence of the soil
and the vegetation
The soil provides the nutrients
necessary for plants to grow.
Their fertility depends on the
depth, the texture, which
influences water retention, and
its acidity or alkalinity, because
very acid or very alkaline soils
are toxic for plants.
Activities such as livestock
farming and forestry depend to
a great extent on the natural
3. HUMAN FACTORS IN AGRICULTURE
Agricultural landscapes are
the result of human activities.
Both natural and human factors
determine agricultural activity,
but the latter makes it possible
to compensate for the natural
Demographic growth and
certain advances in technology
have contributed to the
overexploitation of natural
resources, which causes serious
ecological and environmental
The human factors that influence
a. Population growth
An increase in the population means that a
more space is needed to grow crops and
to be used for pasture.
• Natural land is used and vegetation is
• In some cases deforestation has serious
impacts on the environment
• In some areas animal species are in
danger of extinction.
b. Technological progress
The evolution of technology influences the
cultivation of the land. In traditional
societies, farmers use very simple tools, such as the
digging* stick*, the hoe*, the sickle* and the
plough*. In developed societies, modern
equipment and materials are used, such as
tractors, harvesters, chemical
fertilisers, computers, etc.
Technology makes it is possible to modify
unfavourable natural conditions. Fertilisers are
used to increase nutrients in the soil or part of the
land is left uncultivated (fallow land*) to regain
fertility; crops can be watered* to produce more;
chemicals are used to kill pests*; greenhouses are
built to protect crops; and the livestock are kept
c. Social and economic organisation
The agricultural economy is reflected in the choice of
crops cultivated. In a subsistence economy, which
produces food for its now needs, several crops may be
planted, whereas in a market economy, which produces
surpluses* to sell, the tendency is towards specialisation in
a single crop. Social organisation affects agriculture
through the systems of ownership and use of the land:
• Ownership can be private, a cooperative or a
company; or collective, if it belongs to a community
(tribe, municipality, state (Comunism). Land is also
categorized according to size and called either large
estates, medium-sized concerns or smallholdings.
• The agricultural production system refers to the people
who work the land. In the direct system, the owner works
the land or hires workers; in the indirect system or tenant
farming, the land is cultivated by another person in
exchange for payment (rental) or a percentage of the
production (share farming).
oferta, suministro, v
specialisation in a single crop
4. FEATURES OF AGRICULTURAL
The agricultural landscape
Agriculture transforms the natural
environment greatly and in different
ways. Agricultural landscapes have
three elements in common which are:
fields, rural settlement and the
Small, irregular fields and ones
enclosed by hedges or trees are
usually the result of the natural
land relief or long historical
and open fields
are usually the
a. Agricultural plots fields
Fields are the basic divisions of
agricultural land. Each field is an area
of land dedicated to one particular
crop and separated from other fields
by borders. They vary according to:
• Size. They can be small (less than 10
hectares), medium-sized (between 10
and 100 hectares) or large (more than
• Shape. They can be regular or
• Limits. They can be open or
enclosed (by hedges*, trees or
b. The systems of cultivation
The cultivation systems are the techniques
system used to obtain the agricultural
products. Classified according to:
• The variety of crops.
* monoculture (monocultivo) or
single-crop farming when the fields are
dedicated to just one crop.
*polyculture (policultivo)or mixed
farming if they are dedicated to several
• The water the plants receive.
*Dry farming (agricultura de
secano) is when the crops only receive the
*Irrigation* farming (agricultura de
regadío) is when the farmer provides
additional water from rivers, wells or springs
• The use of the land.
There may be constant cultivation of the
land without rest, or rotation (periodic
change of crops). Rotation may include
fallow land, leaving part of the land
uncultivated, or it may be continuous, i.e.
alternating between crops which exhaust
the land to different extents. Depending on
the duration of the rotation, we talk about
two-year rotation, three-year rotation, etc.
• The working of the land.
Agriculture can be intensive (intensiva) if
the maximum use is made of the land (high
yield), or extensive (extensiva) (low yield).
• The destination of the produce.
In subsistence agriculture (agricultura de
subsistencia), the products are used to feed
the farmer and his/her family, and in
commercial agriculture (agricultura de
mercado), they are sold on the domestic or
mercado nacional o
Rural settlement is the way the
agricultural population is distributed in
the area. There are three types:
disperse, concentrated and
• In disperse rural settlement, the
farmers’/workers’ houses are
separated from each other and
surrounded by agricultural land.
• In concentrated settlement, they are
grouped together in a village, which
may be lineal, when the houses are
arranged in a line along a river, a
path or a road; or clustered, when
the houses are arranged around a
• In intermediate rural settlement the
population is distributed in a
combination of these two, some
houses are isolated and others are
grouped together in villages.
c. Rural settlement
5. TRADITIONAL AGRICULTURAL
In traditional agriculture farmers practise subsistence agriculture, they use primitive
technology and it involves a great deal of labour. The production is low and it is used for
A. Itinerant or ‘slash and burn’ agriculture
This type of agriculture is typical in the equatorial and
tropical climates of Africa, Central and South America.
Trees are cut down and burnt along with the weeds*.
Mixed farming is practiced, with cereals and other
products (sorghum, millet, maize, cassava, yam, sweet
potato, etc.), for self-consumption. The soil is cultivated
continuously, so it becomes exhausted after two or three
years. Then, the farmer moves to another place and
repeats the process.
B. Dry sedentary agriculture
This type of agriculture is found in the tropical savannah
areas of Africa and in certain regions of South America
The agricultural landscape is composed of vegetable
plots and small fields, near the houses, which are fertilised
with waste and animal manure*. This permits the
continuous cultivation of vegetables, beans or maize. The
land around the village is divided into three areas where
a main crop (millet or maize) is rotated with
another, complementary one (peanut or tubers) and
fallow land (where cattle feed and fertilise it with their
dung*). With this system, the soil is not exhausted, which
allows the permanent settlement of the population.
C. Monsoon irrigation agriculture
This type of agriculture is found in the monsoon tropical
climate zone of south and south-east Asia, in countries
such as China, Vietnam, Cambodia or the Philippines.
The typical agricultural landscape is rice paddies*, on the
alluvial* plains and the river deltas. TDeveloped
landscapeshe main activity is the cultivation of rice in
small, floodable paddies, separated by dykes*.
The cultivation technique consists of firstly planting rice in
a nursery treated with manure. While it grows, the
paddies are ploughed, fertilized and flooded. When the
plants have grown a little, they are transplanted into the
paddy and they begin to mature. Later the water is
drained off and the rice is harvested, threshed* and
collected. This system permits continuous
production, with two or three harvests a year.
separate the shell from
6. DEVELOPED AGRICULTURAL
What are the main characteristics and geographical distribution?
Developed agricultural landscapes are those where farmers practice market
agriculture, use advanced technology and require less intensive labour than traditional
Production is abundant and farmers specialise in the products best adapted to the
physical environment or those which are most profitable.
A. The agriculture of new-world countries
New-world countries are those which were
colonised by Europeans between the 16th
and 19th centuries in North and South
America (USA,Canada, Argentina) and
The agricultural landscape is characterised
by large, regular fields, with the use of the
most advanced technology and very little
labour. The land normally belongs to highly-
trained farmers or large companies which
also control the processing, distribution and
sale of the products.
Production is massive and specialised, and
it is intended for sale on the international
market. In the United States, for
example, agricultural land forms belts
in the production of one crop
(wheat*, maize*, tobacco, cotton, etc.). In
drier areas, extensive livestock farming is
common (cattle or sheep), for the
production of meat, wool and leather
How is the European agriculture
Agriculture extends throughout the
European continent, though there is a
great variety of agricultural
landscapes. In some areas there are
large estates (Paris basin, Po and
Guadalquivir valleys); in
others, medium-sized concerns* are
more common (Western Europe and
the Mediterranean), and also
smallholdings (some countries in East
The Common Agricultural Policy: CAP (Política
Agraria Comunitaria PAC)
The countries that form part of the European Union
have adopted a common agricultural policy, the
CAP, whose aims are:
1. To establish fair prices for farmers and consumers,
setting* maximum and minimum levels for each
2. To achieve competitive agriculture, reducing
production surpluses. In order to avoid to the
overexplotation of the land.
3. To achieve sustainable agriculture by helpng in
rural development, promotyng organic agriculture
and setting environmental and food health
7. LIVESTOCK FARMING
Which animals are most commonly
reared in the region where you live?
7.1 The evolution of livestock farming
Traditionally, livestock farming has performed two functions:
• The perfect complement of agriculture, providing food, animals to
work and manure for fields.
• And sometimes livestock farming was the dominant
activity, especially in those areas where the natural characteristics
were not favourable for agriculture:
• on the edges of deserts
• temperate prairies, tropical savannahs
• cool, humid areas of the oceanic climate.
Today, the market has forced many farmers to modernise and
introduce technical innovations. This explains why there are
different livestock farming systems.
7.2 Traditional livestock farming
Traditional livestock farming follows two
• A)Nomadic livestock farming is typical
in the dry areas at the edge of deserts
(bordes de los desiertos). Farmers move
constantly with their herds of
camels, goats and sheep, for example
the Tuaregs in the Sahara .
•B) Transhumant livestock farming is
found in some mountainous regions of
America, Asia and North Africa. Farmers
migrate seasonally with their goats and
They sometimes travel large distances
between the plains (winter pasture) and
the mountains (summer pasture).
7.3 Market livestock farming systems
Market livestock farming is characteristic of
developed areas with temperate climates.
There are two types:
• A) In extensive livestock farming, the
livestock graze* (pastorea) in the open air
on pasture land, so it does not require
much investment in labour and capital:
North American and Australian ranches, or
the Argentinean Pampas.
• B) In intensive livestock farming, cattle
are sheltered in stables or enclosed farms. It
requires investment in facilities, selection of
breeds, technology, food and veterinary
8. FISHING. USING THE
RESOURCES OF THE SEA
Which is your favourite fish or
8.1 Fishing and fishing grounds
Fishing is any activity which obtains natural
products from the sea. It is used to obtain food
and raw materials for industry:
canned* goods, frozen goods, oils, fish meals,
The areas of the sea in which fish are abundant
are called fishing grounds or banks. (bancos de
The main fishing areas are found where plankton
is abundant, such as the continental platforms,
and where warm currents meet cold currents.
the Pacific Ocean, the Northern Atlantic and the
western coasts of Africa.
The leading fishing countries are:
China, Peru, United States, Indonesia
8.2 Types of fishing and techniques
Depending on the level of development, fishing can be artisanal or
• Artisanal fishing uses small boats and ships, traditional techniques and
little labour, so production is small and is intended for the local market.
• Industrial fishing uses large factory ships with modern technology
(radar, sonar) and a great deal of labour, the production is abundant
and is intended for sale on the domestic or international market.
Fishing also depends on the distance from the coast and the duration
of the trips. It can be:
• Coastal fishing (pesca de bajura), is when fishermen go out and return
• Offshore fishing (pesca de altura), is when ships typically remain out at
sea for days; and deep-sea or high-sea fishing, far from the coast.