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Chapter 8 Livelihood and Economy - Primary Activities. Classification of Economic Activity Subsistence Agriculture Commercial Agriculture Other Primary Activities Trade in primary activities. Tea Plantation, Sri Lanka Copyright 2003 by Jon C Malinowski.

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chapter 8 livelihood and economy primary activities

Chapter 8 Livelihood and Economy - Primary Activities

Classification of Economic Activity

Subsistence Agriculture

Commercial Agriculture

Other Primary Activities

Trade in primary activities

Tea Plantation, Sri Lanka

Copyright 2003 by Jon C Malinowski

classification of economic activities economics
Classification of Economic Activities & Economics
  • Factors -
    • Physical environment and cultural considerations
    • Exploit resources dependent upon technology
    • Political decisions
    • Economic factors of demand
  • Categories of Activity
  • Quinary Activities
    • Executive Decision Maker
  • Quaternary Activities
    • Info/Research/Management
  • Tertiary Activities
    • Retail & Wholesale/Personal & Prof. services

Transportation & Comm.

  • Secondary Activities
    • Manufacturing/Processing/Construction/Power Production
  • Primary Activities
    • Agriculture/Gathering/Extractive Industries
types of economic systems
Types of Economic systems

Subsistence Economy

goods/services for the use of producers/family

  • Very few people are members of only one type of economic system
  • Commercial Economy
    • producers market goods/services,
    • supply-demand/competition
  • Planned Economy
    • government controlled/decided prices
  • Systems subject to change - market/globalization
  • Transportation is a key variable
  • Isolation restrict the access to outside world (Fig 8.4)
primary activities agriculture
Primary Activities: Agriculture
  • Def. : growing crops and tending livestock, for sale or subsistence. (Fig 8.5 - growing season)
  • 10% of the total earth land is for crop farming.
  • Declining trend in agriculture employment in developing countries (Fig 8.6 – Agricultural Employments)
  • Developed - 8% in most of W. Europe, < 3% in the US.
  • Agriculture is still the major components in developing countries (Fig 8.7 – Agriculture and GDP)

Periodic Market, India

Copyright 2003 by Jon C Malinowski

  • Paradox: Hunger in a World of Plenty?

Rice paddies in China

subsistence agriculture
Subsistence Agriculture
  • Involves nearly total self-sufficiency on the part of its members. No exchange (or minimal, if any). food for themselves only.
  • Two types
    • Extensive: large areas of land and minimal labor input per unit area. Production and pop density is low.
    • Intensive: cultivation of small landholdings through the expenditure of great amounts of labor per unit area. Production and pop density are both high. (Figure 8.8 Subsistence Agriculture Areas)
extensive subsistence agriculture
Extensive Subsistence Agriculture
  • Nomadic herding (Figure 8.8 – Subsistence agriculture) - wandering and controlled movement of livestock dependent on natural forage - the most extensive type of land use system.
  • Sheep, goat, and camels are most common and others such as cattle, horses and yaks are important too.
  • Animal provides milk, cheese, meat for food; hair, wool and skins for clothing; skin for shelter and excrement for fuel.
  • Nomadic herding is declining. Social/economic/culture changes are causing nomadic groups to alter their ways of life or disappear entirely.
  • Shifting cultivation - rotating field once soil lose fertility. Swidden and slash-and-burn. (8.9) Slash-and-Burn (or Shifting Cultivation)
    • No knowledge of soil chemistry, fertilizing, or irrigation, once the soil become infertile, they move to another parcel of land, clear the vegetation, turn the soil and try again. 150 to 200 million people in Africa, Middle America, tropical South America and parts of Southeast Asia.
shifting cultivation slash burn
Shifting cultivation/Slash-burn
  • Slash-and-burn : process of preparing low fertility soils for planting. Burning add minerals to the soils, in low level of population
  • Shifting - rotating the fields to keep soil fertile
  • After burning, plant crops such as maize (corn) millet (cereal grain), rice, manioc, yam, and sugarcane
intertillage practice of mixing different seeds and seedlings in the same swidden
Intertillage: practice of mixing different seeds and seedlings in the same swidden
  • To reduce the risk of disasters from crop failure, to increase the nutritional balance of the local diet, to prevent loss of soil moisture, control of soil erosion





WY:White yam

AP:Air potato

V:Bamara groundnut




swidden agriculture 279
Swidden Agriculture (279)
  • Low pop. density much land is needed to support few people
  • Shifting Cultivation is founded on the islands of Kalimantan (Borneo), New Guinea, and Sumatra in Indonesia. Now only in uplands of SE Asia in Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Philippines, Nearly the whole of Central and West Africa away from the coasts, Amazon basin, and large portions of Central America
  • Boserup thesis - pop increases necessitate increased inputs of labor and technology to compensate for reductions in the natural yields of swidden farming. The pop increase forces an increased used of tech in farming, converting from extensive to intensive subsistence agriculture.
intensive subsistence systems
Intensive Subsistence Systems
  • Half of the people of the world engaged in this activity
  • Exchange of farm commodities
  • Requires large inputs of labor, small plots and high reliance on fertilizers
  • Plant grain, vegetables, and raise animals…
  • Mostly in monsoon Asia. warm and moist river valleys and delta
  • Planting rice shoots by hand in standing fresh water is a tedious art (8.10)
  • Cooler/ drier Asia - wheat and millet is planted.
  • Rice provides 25 - 80% calories to over 2.8 billion pop.
  • Water management is crucial to the rice production
    • Rice Landscape - levees, reservoirs, canals, drainage channels, and terraces to extend level land to valley slopes
    • Swine, ducks and chickens are main meat. Cattle used for labor and produce fertilizers.
urban subsistence farming
Urban Subsistence Farming
  • Provide 1/7 of the world food production - mostly in Asia engaged in small garden plots, backyard livestock breeding and raising fish in ponds and streams.
  • China, Taiwan, Cuba, Kenya and many other countries residents engaged in urban subsistence farming.
  • In parts of the developing world, this has reduced the incidence of adult and child malnutrition in cities. Many rely on this as sole income
  • Advantages- convert waste from problem to resource by reducing run-off and erosion from open dumps and by avoiding costs of wastewater treatment and solid waste disposal. Examples - Sudan, Calcutta..
  • Disadvantage - diseases, water pollution
origin of green revolution
Origin of Green Revolution
  • Started in 1960s, Philippino research crossed a Chinese rice with Indonesian variety and produced IR8 rice with bigger head of grain and stronger stem. In 1982, they produced IR36, the most widely grown crop on Earth
  • IR36-mixed from 13 parents genetic resistance against 15 pests and growing cycle of 110 days which makes three crops per year possible.
  • Charting of genome (12 chromosomes) is ongoing, it will eventually increase the production and develop the resistance to diseases and pests
  • Green Revolution - 8.11 trends in food production 1961-1999. Saving an estimated one billion people from starvation. Increased calories per person, pop with adequate food in developing countries jumped from 55% to 80%.
green revolution
Green Revolution
  • Disadvantages - irrigation destroyed large tracts of land, groundwater depletion, water wars, loss of traditional/ subsistence farming, food production aiming at export, rural society destroyed, reduced variety of crops, rural pop moved to urban
  • Not all areas benefited from Green Revolution - reasons (belated research effort, great range of growing conditions)
  • Fig 8.12 - genetic diversity of crop varieties , fewer than 100 species provide most of the world’s food supply.
  • Asia - gains fell off - little prime land, less water, adverse ecol. and social consequences. Even biotech can’t help (consumers’ resistance..)
  • Loss of domestic food availability

Commercial Agriculture

Production Control

short supply should command an increased market price (after typhoon in Asia, vegetable price going up)

government control prices either too high or too low. (farm economy distorted while low food price is enforced, material distortion while stop importing and subsidizing)

Today’s contractual arrangement in the U.S. up to 1/3 from 10% within 50 years.

Older supply/demand market price mechanism is not totally valid

crop or livestock mix selected by commercial farmers reflects an assessment of market demands and prices

involves intensive land use near markets and extensive land use at more distant locations.

von thunen s model 8 14
von Thunen’s model (8.14)
  • intensity of land use, higher priced/more perishable goods are produced in land closer to the city. High shipping and high demand commodities found in inner rings.
  • “A portion of each crop is eaten by the wheels” - observed by von Thunen, distance between market and production site is the most important determination of the location
  • Transport gradients (8.15) - crops with highest transport cost and market values will be grown nearest to the market.
  • Transportation cost affect the shape of Rings (8.16)
  • Industrial and post-industrial economy, land use is determined by factors with urban expansion. von Thunen model is less predictable
intensive commercial agriculture
Intensive Commercial Agriculture
  • Characterized by high yields per unit of cultivated land
  • Large amount of input - justified by fruits, vegetable and dairy products. Truck Farm produces wide range of vegetable and fruits with refrigerated trucks and custom packaging. (distribution of truck farm 8.17)
  • Livestock-grain farming - growing grain for livestock feed. corn and livestock at same farm reducing transportation cost. Livestock price higher than feed, farmer convert their corn into meat on the farm by feeding it to the livestock. In W. Europe, ¾ cropland is for livestock grain farm. However, the value of its products per unit is less than that of the truck farm. They are farther from the main markets than are horticultural and dairy farms.
extensive commercial agriculture
Extensive Commercial Agriculture
  • Farmland values decline westward with increasing distance from the northeastern market of the US, but not increasing while near west coast. Climate and environmental considerations (increasing aridity and mountain ranges..) (8.18)
  • Large-scale wheat farming - requires large amount capital input. Spring wheat (Dakotas, e Montana, S Canada) winter wheat (Kansas..) Argentina in S hemisphere. Wheat is the most grain production in the world (8.20)
  • Livestock ranching - oriented to the urban market of industrialized countries. Confined to areas of European settlement., Caused destruction of tropical rain forests in Central America and the Amazon basin due to expanded cattle ranching. (in land with low quality, low pop density, and require low labor)
special crops mostly due to climate factor
Special Crops - mostly due to climate factor
  • Mediterranean agriculture - grapes, olives, oranges, figs, vegetables and similar commodities - needs warm temp. all year round plus summer sunshine. Summer drought and winter rain, irrigation system is needed. (8.21)
  • Plantation Crops - foreign to the areas (8.22)
    • tea in India and Sri Lanka, jute in India and Bangladesh, rubber in Malaysia and Indonesia, cacao in Ghana and Nigeria, can sugar in Cuba...., coffee in Brazil and Colombia, banana in central America.
    • Most plantation in coastal area, easy for export.
primary activities resource exploitation
Primary Activities: Resource Exploitation
  • Gathering industries - fishing and forestry
  • Extractive industries - mining and quarrying
  • Renewable resources - materials can be consumed and then replenished quickly by natural or by human-assisted processes. such as forest, fish, grasslands, and animals. Maximum sustainable yield - max. rate of use that will not impair its ability to be renewed or to maintain the same future productivity. If exceeded, renewable will become nonrenewable.
  • Nonrenewable resources - exist in finite amount and are not replaced by natural processes.
fishing provide 19 of all animal protein in the human diet 5 in all protein
Fishing - provide 19% of all animal protein in the human diet (5% in all protein)
  • steady fish harvest increase (8.26) except in 1998 (El Nino)
  • 99% fish are from coastal wetlands, estuaries,and continental shelf. 1% from open sea. Commercial capture fishing for market only in northern hemisphere, tropical fish do not school and contain higher oil content, only for local use (fig 8.27 annual fish harvests – El nino, 1993, 1998 and Chinese over-reporting)
  • Overfishing - due to the accepted view of “open seas” (fig 8.28)
  • Tragedy of the Commons - a open resource without collective controls being exploited to the max. (Japanese Whaling?)
  • Aquaculture - farm ponds, catfish and crayfish ponds in SE US (Sea Aquaculture)
  • Mariculture - coastal lagoon
  • 30% of worlds’ fish harvest from aquaculture and mariculture production.
amazon clear cut http news mongabay com 2008 0831 brazil html
Amazon Clear-cut (
  • Roundwood production -
    • 45% for industrial consumption and 55% for fuelwood and charcoal. Developing countries rely on fuelwood and charcoal resulting in the serious depletion of tropical forest stands. In tropical areas, deforestation rates exceeds reforestation by 10 to 15 times.
    • since 1970s, 25 to 30 million acres of tropical forestland have been converted to agricultural land and in S and Central America additional millions of acres been cleared for beef cattle for the N American market (8.31)
    • Half of roundwood production (for industrial markets) are from US,Canada and Russia and less than 20% from developing countries due to the transportation cost, explained by von Thunen’s model.
the end of cheap oil
The End of Cheap Oil
  • Oil reserve - 1020 gbo (gigga-barrels of oil) 25 gbo/yr consumption, but with 2% increase of consumption, it won’t last 40 yrs. …..New discoveries - 7 gbo/yr
  • US gasoline price -
  • Americans consumed 19 million barrels/day=2.9 g/p/d=1000 g/person/yr, production=2.6 bbls in 2000. Reserves can only last 5 years if without import.
  • Gulf of Mexico holds 15 bb of oil, high cost required to exploit.

Oil discoveries and Production







data source: Scientific American, March 1998