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2.1: Small scale Agriculture


·       Describe characteristics of small-scale agriculture at subsistence level.

·       Explain the effect of rapid population growth on small scale agriculture

·       Describe advantages and disadvantages of small-scale agriculture

·       Explain ways of improving small scale agriculture

The concept of agriculture

Agriculture is a science which deals with crop cultivation and livestock keeping.

Agriculture is also influenced by availability of capital, technology, transport and communication and markets.

Types of agriculture

(i) small scale agriculture

(ii) Large scale agriculture


Small scale agriculture

Small scale agriculture is the growing of crops in small piece of land.

Shifting cultivation – This is type of agriculture where by farmers are moving to another piece of land because of low production of crops and waiting for land to regain the fertility.

Crop rotation- refers to the growing different crops on the same land at different time.

Bush fallowing – is a type of farming system where by a farmer cultivate for two or more years and leave the piece of land to regain the fertility while they have permanent settlement.

Characteristics of small-scale agriculture at subsistence level

                           (i)            Harvest are used for family consumption.

                         (ii)            It is practiced in small piece of land

                       (iii)            Simple tools are used. For example, hoes.

                       (iv)            Intercropping is common. It means planting of different crops on the same farm

                         (v)            Labours are family members

                       (vi)            The production is low.

                     (vii)            Farmers conflict is common

                   (viii)            They invest low capital

Effect of rapid population growth on small scale agriculture.

      (i)            Reduction in size of the farm.

    (ii)            It leads to infertile soil. This is caused by over exploitation.

  (iii)            Changes from subsistence farming to commercial farming to meet the demand of people.

  (iv)            Cheap labour are available. Due to the presence of high population

    (v)            Shortage of foods. Small scale agriculture do not able to feed huge number of people in a certain area.

Advantages of small-scale agriculture

      (i)            It is cheap to operate.

    (ii)            It provides biomass

  (iii)            Farmers get fresh food

  (iv)            There is little or no use of chemical

    (v)            Mixed farming is practiced.

  (vi)            It gives income to the farmer

Disadvantages of small-scale agriculture

      (i)            It depends on weather condition

    (ii)            There is low production of crops

  (iii)            It is associated with loss of fertility.

  (iv)            It is difficult to use machine

    (v)            It is affected by pests and diseases.

Ways of improving small scale agriculture

      (i)            Provision of education

    (ii)            Provision of loans

  (iii)            To encourage production of cash crops

  (iv)            To form various cooperative

    (v)            To ensure market availability

  (vi)            To control population growth

(vii)            To ensure the use of high science and technology.

Sample of questions from this subtopic

1. Define the term agriculture

2. Name two types of agriculture

3. Explain any four characteristics of small-scale crop cultivation.

4. List any three advantages and disadvantages of small-scale crop cultivation.

5. Mention the effect of rapid population growth on small scale crop cultivation

6. List down ways of improving small scale agriculture.

2.2 large scale agriculture

Concepts from this subtopic

a.      To name types of large-scale agriculture in the world

b.      List the major crops grown in each type of large-scale agriculture

c.       Describe characteristics of large-scale agriculture

d.      Describe the requirements for growth, farm preparation, planting, care, harvesting, processing, storage and transport

Types of large-scale agriculture in the world

Large scale agriculture is a farming system that covers a large area of land for producing one type of crops for commercial purpose.

The following are types of large-scale agriculture in the world

a.      Plantation agriculture

b.      Extensive mechanized grains cultivation

Plantation agriculture

This is cultivation of crops on large tracts of land. The farms are called estates or plantation

The major crops grown in on plantation includes coffee, sisal, cotton, tea and sugar cane

Extensive mechanized grains cultivation (Extensive food cultivation)

This is cultivation of grain crops in large tracts of land. For example, beans, maize and wheat.

The major crops grown in each type of large-scale agriculture

(i) Coffee

Coffee has three types which are Arabica, Robusta. and Liberica

Coffee is important crops for export. In Tanzania coffee is grown in Kagera, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Mbeya, Katavi, Iringa, Tanga, Morogoro, Kigoma, Njombe and Ruvuma regions.

In other countries are Zambia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia

Condition for growth

      (i)            It requires rainfall about 1800mm that is well distributed throughout the year.

    (ii)            Sunny weather for 6 to 10 months is essential for the ripening of barriers and for harvesting

  (iii)            It requires altitudes about 900 to 2100 m above sea level. In Tanzania coffee grow from 1200 to 1800 m above sea level.

  (iv)            It grows well in mildy acid with P5.3 to 6.0

    (v)            The soil should be rich in minerals nutrients and soil structure and texture should allow air circulation.

  (vi)            It grows well in moderate temperature about 14C to 26C

(vii)            Direct sunlight is harmful for coffee plants. Therefore, these are planted under shade of taller trees like banana.

Farm preparation, planting and care of coffee

-Coffe farm needs preparation for at least six months

-To remove all star grass and couch grass

-holes for coffee plants are dug at least three months in advance.

- Should measure at least 0.6×0.6 m and 0.6m deep.

-The row are normally 2.7 m apart.

- Spraying of coffee plants is done in cases of leaf rusting and coffee berry disease.

- The use of fertilizer such as nitrogen, phosphates, potassium and magnesium in area of infertile soil.

Harvesting, processing, storage and transportation.

- Harvesting of coffee is done by hand.

- To harvest coffee takes 3 to 4 Years

- Only the red ripe berries are picked.

-Berries are dried in the sun then are sorted, weighed and transported to the processing mills

- Coffe must be stored in cool, dark and dry places to ensure freshness.

Uses of coffee

(i) It used as beverage at home and hotel.

(ii) It prevent type 2 diabetes

(iii) It increases mental alertness

(iv) It used to treat headache, low blood pressure and obesity

(v) Coffee pulp is used as fertilizer on farm.

(ii) Cotton

Cotton is flowering plant which is growing for making cotton fabric and threads.

it is grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions includes America and Africa.

Major producing countries are China, USA, India, Pakistani, Brazil, Cameroon, Mali and Tanzania.

In Tanzania cotton is grown in Mwanza, Tabora, Simiyu, Mara, Shinyanga and Geita.

It is second largest export crop after coffee and fourth largest produced cash crops in Africa.

Condition necessary for growing of cotton

      (i)            It grows in warm temperature of about 25C.

    (ii)            It requires moderate rainfall of about 500mm to 1000mm.

   (iii)            It requires well drained fertile soil

Farm preparation and, planting and care of cotton

Ø  Farmers are prepared before rainy season and planting of cotton seeds take place during rainy season

Ø  Cotton flowering occurs after two to three months after planting.

Ø  There is need for regular spraying of cotton plants with pesticides. This helps to avoid attack of pests.

Harvesting, processing, storage and transportation

Ø  Cotton is ready to be harvested between five and seven months after planting.

Ø  Harvesting in Tanzania is done by hands. Other large-scale use machine like combine harvester.

Ø  After picking dirty or spoilt cotton is removed

Ø  Then cotton is packed into sacks and transported to ginneries for removing seeds from lint.

Ø  The lint is transported is transported to industry in bales.

Uses of cotton

a)       Cotton fibres are used for making clothes

b)      Seeds are used for making oil used for cooking

c)       It used for making mattress and pillows

d)      It used for making soap

(iii) Oil palm

Oil palm is plant growing in tropical specifically for producing oil.

In Tanzania palm oil is grown in Kigoma and Mbeya.

Other countries growing in the world are Malaysia, Nigeria, Indonesia and Democratic republic of Congo.

Condition necessary for growing of oil palm

      (i)            It grows well high temperature with average of 21⁰C monthly.

    (ii)            Presence of heavy rainfall about 1500mm to 2040mm

Farm preparation and, planting and care of oil palm

Ø  Palm oil seeds are sown in nurseries which are later transplanted to a farm when they are 12 to 14 months old.

Ø  Palm oil plants begin fruit after 5 yeas and maximum production after 8 to 10 years

Harvesting, processing, storage and transportation of oil palm

Ø  The fruits turn red when they are ripe and ready for harvesting.

Ø  Each fruits consist of fleshy pericarp surrounding a nut

Ø  Fruits are boiled at high temperature

Ø  Then inside of pericarp there is kernel which is source of oil that is compressed.

Ø  The extracted oil is packed in container for domestic use

Uses of palm oil

v  It used as oil for cooking

v  It used for making soap and candles

v  Processed kernel can be used as manure and fodder

(iv) Tea

This is plant whose leaves are used for making beverage. In Tanzania tea is grown in Mbeya, Iringa, Njombe, Kagera, Kilimanjaro and Tanga regions.

Condition for growing tea

a)      It grows well in temperature between 15°C to 29°C

b)      It need distributed rainfall about 1400mm to 1750mm

c)      The soil should be slight acid with little calcium.

Farm preparation, planting and caring of tea

v  The raw space for tea plantation is 100 to 110 cm with planting space of 65 to 75cm. This space make to plant 1500 plants in an acre

v  Protection of tea depends from other plants which helps from not destroyed by wind

Harvesting, processing, storage and transportation

v  It takes two years for tea plants to be harvested

v  Tea plants needs experience for harvesting quality tea

v  The plucked tea leaves undergo fermentation under regulated regulated moisture to ensure quality tea product.

v  Then leaves are rolled to enhance the break-up of leaf cells and fibres  under temperature of 105°C. This helps to reduce moisture.

v  Cool and dried tea is sorted in different size and ready for consumption.

Uses of tea

Tea is used as beverage and also a person with sore throat and hoarse voice can get better if take few cup of strong tea

(iv) Sisal

This is tropical plants whose leaves produce strong threads which are used for various purpose such as rope and carpet making.

 In Tanzania sisal is cultivated in Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Morogoro, Lindi and Mtwara

Condition necessary for growing sisal

a)      It grows in temperature between 25°C and 30°C

b)      It needs slight rainfall between 650mm and 1500mm

c)      It grow well in drained loamy soil

Farm preparation, planting and caring of sisal

a)      Ploughing the land depth of 30cm

b)      In nursery the bulbils should be planted in bed at 10Cm X 10 Cm apart.

c)      They are shifted to a second bed and planted at 30cm X 30cm apart.

d)      After 12 to 18 months the young sisal are ready to be planted in the field

e)      This crops does not need much care like other crops

Harvesting, processing and transportation,

·       Harvesting beginnl when thorn tips change from dark colour to light brown.

·       The processing leaves should take place 48 hours after being harvested

·       Processed leaves are dried by machine or sunlight energy

·       Graded fibres are packed into bales and then transported

Uses of sisal

a)      It used for making clothes

b)      It used for making carpet, ropes and mattresses

c)      It used for making biogas

Cereal crops

This are crops which produce grain that can be eaten or used to make bread or floor. The major cereals in the world are maize, rice, wheat and sorghum.


Major producing regions in Tanzania are Rukwa, Njombe, Ruvuma, Katavi, Songwe, Iringa and Morogoro.

Other countries are China, Brazil, South Africa and Russia

Condition for growing maize

a)      Maize grows in summer temperature between 18°C and 27°C

b)      Annual precipitation is ranging 635mm to 1145mm.

c)      It grows in wide range of soil type. However the best deep soil of the sub tropics with abundant of nitrogen

d)      Dry sunny is important for plants to grow. It enables cobs to ripen and the seed to dry

Farm preparation, planting and caring of maize

a)      Maize requires deep tillage which is done by hand hoe and using tractor in large scale agriculture.

b)      Planting is done by burying seeds directly in the soil in depth at least 10cm with spacing of 75cm between rows and 30cm between plants

c)      Germination takes place under warm and moist condition about temperature 20°C and 30°C.

d)      Seedlings emerge afer 6 to 10 days

e)      Maize needs care of wedding, thinning and pest and disease management

f)       After three weeks of planting is better to weed in the farm

Harvesting, processing and transportation of maize

a)      Maize can be harvested after 3 to 6 months

b)      It can harvested by hand cut or combine harvester.

c)      Harvesting system involves removing of husk from the plant and grains from cob.

d)      Removing of unwanted and low products grain then prepared in bags ready for transportation to homestead or market

Uses of maize

a)      Maize is staple food in Africa and Asia

b)      It used to feed domestic animals such as pigs and chicken

c)      It used to make industrial products such as vegetable oil and alcohol.

d)      It used to generate heat for cooking especially the use of cobs.

e)      Maize stalks are ised to make manure

Characteristics of large scale agriculture

a)      It takes place in large area. The area can be more than 10 acres.

b)      It uses high level of science and technology. Large scale agriculture employs the use tractors and combine harvester to ensure sufficiency production.

c)      It employee few skills people. This is caused by machine to replace manual work that supposed to be done by human being

d)      It is invested with intensive capital fo support the production.

e)      There are use of chemicals fertilizer to ensure high production

f)       It is source of raw materials for different manufacturing industry.

Contribution of crop production to the economy of Tanzania and Tanzania

a)      Growth of industry. Cash crops provides material for industries for example cotton used in factories like Mbeyatex in Tanzania

b)      It source of income. Income produced by farmers from selling crops help them to develop their living and improve their life standard.

c)      It is source of foreign exchange. Cash crops encourages interaction of business between countries which enable the country to earn from other countries.

d)      It creates employment opportunities. Many people are employed in agro-related industries and others are self-employed.

e)      It encourages to development of transport and communication.

f)       It improves international relationship. Through business of crops enables a country to wide other businesses with other countries.

Challenges(problems) facing large scale agriculture in Tanzania and USA

        i.            Expensive input. Especially Tanzania, Large scale needs intensive capital to buy machine and farm inputs for farm preparation and payment of labours. That make farmers to take loans and fail to repay

       ii.            It is affected by pest and diseases. There is outbreak of crops diseases that affect plant growth.

     iii.            Climatic problem. Most of crops are being affected by lack of enough rainfall and strong winds which destroy crops

     iv.            Poor management. Involves embezzlement of funds for example Tanzania

       v.            Market flooding. Due to large amount of product from large scale farms the market sometimes flooded by product. There is high supply than demands.

     vi.            Deterioration of soil fertility. Presence of high rainfall washing down soil nutrients that cause the soil to lose its fertility and also monoculture affect the soil of a place.

   vii.            Land encroachment. Lage scale agriculture is cultivated in large area that cause to invade farmers which may cause conflict among theme.

Ways of improving large scale agriculture in Tanzania

        i.            To improve storage facilities. Tanzania needs to improve storage facilities when the market is flooded and the price is low, the farmers can store their products without being spoilage when they are waiting for price

       ii.            To improve management system. Managers should be trained to work hard and correctly for betterment of production.

     iii.            To control pest and disease.

     iv.            To improve soil fertility.  It is better to use manure and fertilizer to improve the soil fertility and applying intercropping

       v.            To prevent land encroachment. This can be protected by proper fencing. And also provisions of employment to those people who are living nearby large scale

2.3: livestock keeping

Concepts from this subtopic

a.      Describes how pastoralism, sedentary and commercial livestock keeping are practiced

b.      Explain the benefits and constraints of livestock keeping practices

c.       Compare livestock keeping between Australia and Tanzania

d.      Describe livestock keeping as practiced in different communities in Tanzania

Livestock keeping refers to rearing of animals and bird.

-They includes cattle, goats, sheep and birds

There are three major forms of livestock keeping

a.      Pastoralism

b.      Sedentary livestock keeping

c.       Commercial livestock keeping

(a) Pastoralism is practice of rearing pasture depend animals. For example, cattle, goats and sheep

Nomadic pastoralism refers to keeping large number of animals and moving from place to another searching for pastures and water. For example, Kwavi, Maasai and Kurya.

Semi- nomadic pastoralism refers to keeping animals in permanent area but moves from one place to another during dry season and return to their home when pasture grows.

Transhumance is seasonal movement of herdsmen between low land and high land in searching pastures and water.

(b) Sedentary livestock keeping refers to the keeping of animals in a permanent area.

- A farmer plants grasses and feed animal in a same area. In other case animals are left to feed in the farm.

Zero grazing refers to the keeping of animals without moving from anywhere for feeding.

(c) commercial livestock keeping refers to the rearing animals for selling livestock products. For example, meet, milk and wool.

These activities can be done in small scale or large scale.

In small scale the farmer rears fewer animal in small piece of land.

While in large scale there are two methods those are common in keeping animals which are Ranching and dairy farming

Ranching is rearing of livestock in extensive piece of land.

Dairy farming is rearing of livestock for milk production

Benefits of livestock keeping

      (i)            It is source of food. Such as milk and meat

    (ii)            It provides raw materials. For example, skin and wool for making clothes

   (iii)            It encourages growth of industries. Especially those industries processing animal products

   (iv)            It promotes growth of trade

     (v)            It increases government revenue

   (vi)            It creates employment opportunity

Problems(constraints) facing livestock keeping

        (i)            Insufficient capital for buying input. For example, pesticides

      (ii)            Low use of science and technology

    (iii)            Climatic change. Prence of drought such as Dodoma and singida

     (iv)            Price fluctuation. (decrease of price from market)

      (v)            Poor storage facilities. For example, lack of refrigerator

     (vi)            Lack of proper education

Livestock keeping as practiced by different communities in Tanzania

a)       Pastoralism. It practiced in area where have a lot of pastures. Communities practice these activities are Maasai, Sukuma, kwavi and Nyamwezi.

b)      Sedentary livestock keeping. It practiced in area with high population and land scarcity.  For example, Chagga in Mountain Kilimanjaro

c)       Commercial livestock keeping. It is practiced in extensive piece of land and carried out both fertile highland and dry areas

d)      Subsistence livestock keeping refers to the keeping of animals for consumption by farmer and his family.

The economic importance of livestock keeping in Tanzania

                  (i)            Source of food. Such as meat and milk

                (ii)            Industrial development. Livestock provides materials in processing industries like those producing milk

              (iii)            Employment opportunity.

               (iv)            Development of transport and communication

                (v)            Use of marginal land. Those areas are not usable for other activities are being used for grazing

               (vi)            Source of government revenue

             (vii)            It improves living standard of the people

Comparative study of livestock keeping in Tanzania and Australia


      (i)            Both countries there are common types of livestock kept. Such as goat and sheep.

    (ii)            Ranching in Tanzania and Australia are carried out.

   (iii)            Both countries practice subsistence and commercial level.

   (iv)            Dairy farming is practiced to both countries.

     (v)            Both countries sell animals product.

   (vi)            Sedentary livestock is practiced to both countries.


      (i)            Australia uses high level of science and technology than Tanzania.

    (ii)            Livestock product produced in Australia is based in export while Tanzania bases on meeting local demands

   (iii)            Ranching is more practiced in Australia while pastoralism and sedentary livestock keeping are more practiced in Tanzania.

   (iv)            In Tanzania, the more animals kept cattle while in Australia the main animals kept are sheep.

Sample of questions

1.       Mention four crops grown in plantations

2.       Explain what nomadic pastoralism means

3.       Describe primary purpose for keeping cattle

4.       Outline main challenges facing livestock keeping in Tanzania

5.       Suggest ways of solving challenges facing livestock keeping in Tanzania

6.       Elaborate challenges facing livestock keeping in Australia


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