The agriculture (of Latin will agricultura ) is the whole of knowledge-making and the activities having for object the culture of the Ground S, and, generally “, the whole of work of conservation and transformation of the natural environment making it possible to take vegetable and animal useful for the human being”.
From the point of view of the political economy, the agriculture is defined as the branch of industry whose function is to produce a returned financial starting from the exploitation of the grounds (cultures), of the Forêt S (sylviculture), of the product of the sea, lakes and rivers (Aquaculture, fishing), of the animals of farm (breeding) and of the wild animals (Chasse).
The man, became Omnivore approximately three million years ago, after having lived of the Chasse, the fishing and the Cueillette during thousands of years. If the wild seed collection is proven there is: 23000 years in current the Israel, agriculture itself appeared between VIe and thousand-year-old Ier before J. - C. It then deeply evolved/moved during the centuries, thanks to its adaptation to the natural conditions, the development of agricultural novel methods (the Houe, the harrow) and of new chemicals (the mineral manures, plant health produced ), and with the introduction of improved varieties (see Amélioration of the plants).
The agriculture, considered as the whole of knowledge biological, technical, cultural, economic and social, is considered, since the 19th century like a science called Agronomie.
Various types of agricultural production
The objective of the agricultural activity is to ensure the Food safety human S and animal of breeding while preserving balances of the natural environment. However, agriculture also produces a big number of products such as Peau X of animals, Engrais, intended products with the Industrie (ethanol, Fécule), Fiber S (Coton, flax, Laine, hemp), house plants and flowers, Bois. It represents an essential link in the chain Agroalimentaire, by ensuring the supply raw materials to him (starches, onions, cereals, fruits, etc)
The vegetable productions are often divided into great groups, such as the field crops (Blé, Maïs, Betterave, Riz, Soja), the Maraîchage (production of vegetables), the fruit-bearing Arboriculture, the Viticulture (production of the grape), the Sylviculture and the Horticulture.
The livestock productions consist with to raise animal, either for the direct Consommation (meat), or for their products (milk, eggs, wool, etc) the farms can for example direct their production towards the Bovin S, the Porcin S, the Ovin S Caprin S or the Granivore s.
The oxen, calves, pigs, chickens, rabbits, horses, lambs, ducks, turkeys, geese, snails constitute animals directly used for the Alimentation human or animal. Honey, the Milk and the dairy products, the Foie gras, the Silk, the Laine are secondary products resulting from the breeding.
In the developed countries, the precise delimitation of what enters the field of agriculture led to many conventions which are not the subject all of a consensus. Are not always included in agriculture the development of the Forêt S or Sylviculture, nor the organized breeding of live animals in water or Aquaculture. On the other hand, the breeding out-ground of certain animals (poultries and pigs mainly), starting from entirely bought elements, or the production of plants on the inert substrates in the cultures hydroponic S enters sometimes the field of agriculture.
Improvement of the plants
- animal Improvement
- Defense of the cultures, produced plant health
- agricultural Irrigation
- farming Rotation
- Technical farming simplified (TCS)
- Transfer of fertility
A agricultural System of production is the representation which approaches the reality which we have on the manner of thinking, to decide and act, of the farmers. One distinguishes several types of agricultural systems, for example, the Intensive agriculture, the Organic farming or the reasoned Agriculture.
History of agricultureAgriculture was born since the ground setting from first seeds by the man. For this day this last has sought the minimum to survive, just an agriculture of subsistence. Today the monopoly of the markets, the capacity and which gallops demography transformed this idea. Thus the technique, the knowledge to make and the application of high technologies are placed at the disposal of the farmer
See also: History of agriculture
Domestication and beginning of agriculture
The the Middle East was probably the first area where agriculture appeared. The Domestication consisted in observing, then to select the Espèce S being the most of interest, then to modify the behavior Naturel of those. The Figue is at the present time oldest Fruit domesticated, after the discovery in 2006, in the valley of the the Jordan (current Israel) of nine parthenocarpic figs, i.e. not producing a Graine S and whose intervention of the man was necessary to the culture by resorting to Bouture S. These figs would be old 11.400 years. For the Barley, the Corn and the Rye, the Domestication started between 9500 and 9000 av. J. - C. around the valley of the the Jordan, the oasis of Damas and the means Euphrate. Towards 8000 av. J. - C., the breeding develops and begin with the Domestication from the Chien.
The transition from a food economy (i.e. founded on the Hunting, the fishing and the Gathering), with an agricultural economics and of breeding, where the man intervenes in the natural cycles of the biomass (for example reproduction and selection of the Espèce S), is commonly called the Neolithic revolution
One distinguishes several large hearths from domestication. Thus in Central America developed cultures such as the Maïs, the Haricot, the Courge, the Tomate, the Potato, the Tabac, and of many other vegetable cultures. The Africa was the hearth of domestication of the Mil, Sorgho, millet, and the East Asia of the Riz.
The first stage of the development was that of agriculture on Brûlis, consisting in clearing a piece by fire (allowing an enrichment of the ground), then to cultivate it one or two years, before letting nature take again its rights. This process is reiterated, elsewhere, the following year.
Researchers of the university Vanderbilt (the United States) found old marrow cultivated seeds 9200 years, cotton of 5500 years and peanuts some 7600 year old in the north of the Peru. Thus the cultures of the new world would have begun as in the old world there is more than twenty thousand years.
Evolution of agriculture at the time traditionalSee also: Agriculture in Mésopotamie - Agriculture in ancient Greece - Agriculture in ancient Egypt - Agriculture of ancient Rome
The current use of the arson like method of clearing, in dry Mediterranean mediums, led to a degradation of the medium and made impossible the use of this method. Thus, under the Antiquity, other agricultural techniques were elaborate resting is on the arairage (surface tilling using a Araire, primitive plow) or on the Irrigation. Certain traditional civilizations, in Mésopotamie, China, Egypt or in the the Andes, particularly brilliant, thus developed systems of particularly clever irrigation, by generally using the rising of the large rivers.
The revolution of the year millet in Occident
Around the Year millet, the crisis of the preceding system involved a new agricultural revolution and the rise of a new system. It rests in particular on the use of the Charrue, which makes it possible to turn over grounds heavier than the Araire. It is also at that time that systems complex of Assolement like the triennial rotation appear: all the pieces of a village are divided into three Sole S, put in culture simultaneously, and which turn each year. These innovations allow in particular the development of the Forêt S of the moderate part of Europe: the clearings, essarts, densherings multiply as from the 10th century.
Agriculture and modernityIn the etymological sense of the term, agriculture means “culture of the fields”. It is indeed about a traditional, fundamental activity for humanity. Until the beginning of the 19th century, it was autonomous, and provided to the man the essence of sound Alimentation as well as sound energy. This agriculture was renewable, as long as there was not overexploitation. The chain of energy conversion animal plants → → energy was of very poor yield, but it generated also useful Sous-produits like the Fumier.
Starting from second half of the 19th century, this thousand-year-old system basically will evolve/move, with the use of the fossil energies (coal, Pétrole), progress of the inorganic Chemistry and the introduction of the mineral Engrais.
The increasing use of modern technologies, progress as regards mechanization, the Genetic improvements of the livestock productions and vegetable, progress as regards Input S (plant health manures and products), made it possible to very strongly increase the outputs during the 20th century.
As of 1946, agriculture becomes in many countries an industry, which not only ensures the needs for the owner, but provides a surplus intended to meet the needs for the nonagricultural population as well as export. One speaks about Agribusiness. Subsidized by the CAP, European agriculture is even victim of crises of Surproduction, while the agroalimentary Filière determines the future of the sector partly.
The intensification of agriculture dating from the Années 1960 with 1980 is also known under the term of Green revolution. Because of the profits of Productivity, the farming population was strongly reduced in the economically developed countries.
The Pays in the process of development often could not profit from the advantages of modern agriculture because in particular of a unfavourable Climat and a lack of Capital financier.
The agriculture of today rests on fundamental concepts, based on the reliability and the speed of action. Combined problems such as the unexpected fall of the output or the abrupt increase in the temperature is solved only with one good rational control of all the components of the system of production.
Agriculture and environment
See also: durable Agriculture
If there is not any doubt that modern agriculture made it possible to increase the agricultural production, while improving the food Sûreté overall, intensive industrial agriculture is criticized more and more because of degradations of the Environnement for which it is sometimes responsible, as well as the which has occurred recent one of rather serious food crises so that the Public opinion of inquiète.
In France, Rene Dumont, an engineer in agronomy and famous sociologist, was one of the first people to denounce the considerable damage of the green revolution, and to fight against the agricultural Productivisme.
From an environmental point of view, let us quote in particular the Pollution water due to the massive use of nitrate fertilizers, the pollution of the ground S due to the use of plant health Produits, the extinction of certain animal species (butterflies).
More discrete, other aspects such as the erosion of marine in cash grounds and impoverishment are also supervised. Lastly, agriculture also produces Déchet S, and this more especially as the mode of production intensive and is diversified little (plastic…). To stop the erosion of the ground, certain farmers give up the ploughing for the technique in direct drilling. It also makes it possible to limit the use of the machines and thus cause a drop in the emissions of CO2 in the atmosphere. With the United States in 2005, 15% of the arable lands are treated in this way.
The use of the genetically modified organizations (GMO) in certain countries, such as the the United States, the Canada, the Mexico or the China, and the possible hazards which are associated for them are also prone to many discussions.
The last years in Europe were also the object of several crises touching with the Food safety: ox with the Hormone S, chicken with dioxanes, Mad cow and disease of Kreutzfelt-Jakob, bacterial food contaminations (cheese by Listeria).
The majority of these diseases were already present in the previous centuries. “Trembling of the sheep” (the ovine alternative of the disease of the mad cow), the listeria or the Salmonelle is not recent problems. They appeared formerly in a way much more frequent and often more tragic than now. Indeed, of large progress were made as regards Hygiène and of bacterial control of the food products. But the massification of the manufacture and the sale of food make that only one incident can touch a very great number of anybody. The exceptional character of the problems, the number of potentially touched people, the alarmist mediatization tend to mark the spirits. Nevertheless, the number of died by intoxication or poisoning at the time of these “media” businesses is extremely weak.
These last events have as a consequence the increasing installation of systems of Traçabilité which would in the long term offer guarantees on the medical quality of the product.
The labelling should make it possible to the consumer to decide if it takes the supplement of inherent risks to a Intensive agriculture or accepts the higher price which accompanies emergence or the development by alternative agricultural techniques, such as the Organic farming, the Permaculture, the reasoned Agriculture and the Agriculture of precision.
Agriculture constitutes a multidisciplinary field, which recuts with fields the such Botanique, the animal husbandry, phytotechny, food sciences, the Géologie, the Pédologie, the Hydrologie, the Microbiologie, the Biotechnologie S, the economy, the Statistiques, the Sociologie…
Agricultural trade accounts for 8,8% of the world exchanges. They remain very marked by the impact of the agricultural grants of the developed countries. That known as this figure should be moderated: the exchanges related to the agribusiness industry, which is closely related to agriculture, are far from being negligible.
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