Agricultural development refers to the steps taken to meet the increasing demands of people by improving and increasing farm production. Farm production can be increased by: improving irrigation facilities, promoting the use of high quality fertilizers and High Yield Value (HYV) seeds, increasing the farming area, increasing the number of crops grown on the farm in a year, and mechanization.
Mechanization is the use of machinery and equipment to perform various agricultural operations, like ploughing, irrigating, spraying pesticides, and harvesting.
Food security means when people across the world have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
Developing countries with large populations like India, farmers practice intensive subsistence agriculture on small farm holdings. While developed countries like the USA, Canada and Australia practice commercial agriculture on large farm holdings.
In India farmers have small farmlands of about 1.5 hectares on the outskirts of the village. Farmers buy high yielding seeds from the market to grow at least two crops a year which are usually food crops like rice, wheat and pulses.
The Indian farmer consults his elders and friends regarding the farming practices. However recently, they have started adopting farming practices suggested by local agricultural officers.
The new farming practices include using tractors for ploughing the fields which they can either purchase or take on rent. Some farmers can’t afford such facilities on rent as well and so continue faring with the traditional method i.e. bullocks for ploughing.
The main source of irrigation is a tube well near the field and they do not always take comprehensive pest control measures. Family members of the farmer help him in carrying out farming activities.
To supplement their income, some farmers also rear livestock, like buffaloes and hens and sell milk and eggs produced by these animals at the nearest available cooperative stores.
A cooperative society is a business owned and controlled equally by the people who use its services or who work at it. The cooperative society guides these member farmers in taking care of their livestock.
The agricultural co-operative society, along with banks, serves in lending funds to the farmers to buy HYV seeds and farming implements. The farmers in India have to sell the produce themselves. They do not have adequate storage facilities and hence sell their produce at low price as they cannot afford the produce to get spoilt otherwise.
Therefore, farmers in developing countries, like India, operate on a low scale, use traditional methods for agricultural operations and rely on indefinite and temporary sources for the supply of essentials.
A farmer in the USA operates on a much larger scale and is more like a businessman. The farms are big, ranging from 250 to 300 hectares in size with their house on the farm. The crops grown include wheat, maize or corn, soybean, cotton and sugar beet.
The farmers in the USA analyze the type of soil and the water resources available and decide which crop to grow. They take adequate steps to protect their crop from pests as well.
Farmers in the USA regularly test the soil to check its fertility and nutrition level and use their computer to plan a fertilizer programme as per the results.
The fertilizer plant enables him to choose the best pesticides to protect his crops. His computer is linked to a satellite providing a complete picture of the field. As a result, the need for supplementing farming income does not arise.
Farmers in the USA rely heavily on machines, like tractors, seed drillers and levelers. They also have the advantage of automated grain storage facilities, and dispatch facilities to marketing agencies. The farmers can, therefore, bide their time and wait for a good price for their farm produce.