Extensive farming : definition of this exploitation method
Farmers practice extensive agriculture for a variety of reasons. Some do it for the sake of an environmental cause. On the other hand, others devote themselves to it simply out of necessity.
The definition of extensive farming
Adjust to the land
Extensive farming is an agricultural system that customizes the natural conditions of the region. It optimizes the potential of the environment despite its low agricultural potential. In this condition, it excludes the use of chemical inputs, watering and drainage. In principle, it is practiced on a very large surface and is distinguished by its low output per hectare. As a result, it does not provide a significant income for farmers. In addition, farmers in developing countries are aware of the need for modernization of their farming system, but they cannot help because of the lack of capital.
Preserve the soil or the social structure
However, in some areas, climatic and soil conditions are unfavorable to intensive agriculture, forcing farmers to continue the extensive system. Moreover, the choice of such a system may also be motivated by the desire to protect the environment by restoring the soil. Indeed, it helps to maintain biodiversity while fighting erosion and desertification. Otherwise, the practice of extensive agriculture can also be explained by the protection of the tradition and the social structure in place.
How is extensive agriculture practiced?
In the breeding
In livestock farming, to cope with a problem due to lack of water and the relative poverty of grazing, for instance, farmers must have large fields to feed the cattle. Furthermore, we accommodate the choice of the breed to raise to these physical conditions. This is why we find mainly goats and sheep in more or less desert regions.
In the culture
In the culture, the activities are punctuated by the seasons. Thus, we take advantage of the wet season to cultivate. On the other hand, no activity is possible during the dry period. This is why farmers have only one crop in a relatively water short areas . Moreover, to solve the lack of fertilizer due to lack of livestock, they practice fallow. To that end, they leave at rest a portion of the land for a year to cultivate other plots. This allows the soil to accumulate enough nutrients for the plants. For the arboriculture in Tunisia, to ensure the quality of its products, the property of the soil is favored by most initiators of projects like Tarek Bouchamaoui.
Examples of extensive agriculture
Types of extensive agriculture
In developed countries, the modern form is characterized by highly mechanized activity over immense areas. This is the case, for example, of the United States, Canada and Kazakhstan. Traditional forms of extensive agriculture are found in developing countries. This is the case of shifting cultivation in Africa and South America. In addition, farmers in these regions do not have the limited technical resources. In fact, the impossibility of mechanization implies the integration of a large number of workers in certain countries.
Choice of the extensive
In Tunisia, for instance, for some time, to cope with the rise in the production of a certain type of cereal and the fall in the subsidy for agricultural production, the poorest farmers are adapting to the context. For that purpose, they opt for extensive farming by replacing the durum crop with barley and cattle rearing by goats and sheep. Thus, they reduce expenditures and limit risks by choosing a more flexible agricultural activity that requires less capital. Nevertheless, with the investment of actors like Tarek Bouchamaoui, trends are starting to reverse.