Plantation Farming & its Benefits
Have you ever been to Assam?
If yes, then I am sure you must have seen the famous tea plantation there. Indians are very fond of tea as a beverage and Assam is the largest producer of tea in the whole world. Other famous plantations in India are Coffee, Rubber, Sugarcane, Banana, etc. Plantations are a type of commercial farming and it is planted in a large space of land.
Agriculture is a very important sector in India and about two third of the total population is engaged in agricultural activities. Besides producing food, it also produces raw materials for various industries such as cotton textile, food processing, vegetable oil, leather industries, dairy products, etc. Agriculture has seen significant changes from subsistence farming to commercial farming.
Some Commercial crops such as Tea, Coffee, Spices, etc are exported as well and are often grown in large areas as a single crop. Commercial farming focuses on commercial crops that produce good returns and can be grown in all seasons. This type of farming is an example of Plantation Farming.
So, What is Plantation Farming and how is it beneficial ? We will see in this article.
Plantationation farming is a type of commercial farming in which a single crop is grown for the entire year for the purpose of making profits and for making profits it requires a large tract of land to make it successful.
This farming is mainly found in tropical climate areas and requires large capital and labour and the production of crops can be processed on the farm itself where it is grown or in the factories which are nearby or in small scale industries so network of transport is an essential factor for this type of farming.
Plantation farming is an export oriented specialised farming method where the major emphasis is given to raise a single crop specially meant for exporting it to overseas countries,with a sole objective of earning profit. Plantation farming not only involves the cultivation of crops but it also includes the processing, packaging, transporting and exporting of the product.
Plantation farming is majoly confined within the tropical areas on both sides of the equator and it can exist on every such continent which possesses a tropical type of climate. The tropical areas of Latin America, Asia and Africa are some of the areas where plantation agriculture has been developed.
Major Crops grown
The major crops that are grown in plantation farming are Coffee, Sugarcane, Cashew, Rubber, Banana and Cotton.
Some of the important and famous plantation farming in the world are:
- Coffee plantation in Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Tanzania and Kenya.
- Sugarcane plantation in Cuba, Brazil, Peru and Philippines.
- Tea plantation in India, Sri Lanka Indonesia
- Cocoa farming in the West Indies, Ecuador, Brazil, Nigeria, Ghana.
- Rubber plantation in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar, India.
- Banana plantations are in Mexico, Jamaica, Colombia, Brazil, Panama and Costa Rica.
Characteristics of Plantation Farming
Let’s discuss the important features of plantation farming.
- Plantation farming requires a large space of land covering thousands of hectares which are run by huge foreign or local private companies.
- The plantations are labour intensive in which a large number of workers are employed who belong to neighbouring countries and societies.
- The plantations require a lot of money for the investments and they need their own factories for processing the crops and they also have their own infrastructure for transporting the harvested crops to the factory and the markets.
- The plantations are specialised in producing a single crop which is known as ‘monoculture’ and in few cases two or more than two crops are also grown.
- The plantation crops are normally intended or grown for commercial purposes and export.
- The management of the plantation provides housing, food and medical facilities to their employees within the plantation and sometimes elementary education as well.
- Plantation agriculture is mostly found in sparse population areas.
- The method of plantation farming is scientific and based on research.
- It provides an interface for agriculture and industry.
- Plantation agriculture is generally for the purpose of exporting it to the international market, so it requires a better communication network and better packaging and processing facilities as well.
- Most of the crops in plantation agriculture have a life cycle of more than 2 years.
- Plantation farming is executed with specialised skill and it applies machinery and fertilisers wherever possible. It aims at producing high yields with quality production, most of which is exported to other countries. It requires scientific management to carefully process and standardise the final product so as to meet the world’s demand and specification.
In short, we can say that this type of farming requires a large capital investment, cheap labour, scientific methods of cultivation, large estates or plantations, some technical and management support, specialisation of single crop and a good system of transportation.
Uniqueness of Plantation Farming
People often get confused between plantation farming and other types of farming and most of the people usually think that they are the same but it is not so. Here we will see some of the major differences between plantation farming and other types of farming.
- The yields produced in plantation farming are mostly for commercial purposes and it is not the case with other types of farming because they are generally used for personal or small commercial use. Plantation farming is majorly aimed to serve the large market.
- Plantation farming is a specialisation in growing only one type of crop which is usually done to enhance the specialisation and productivity and it also reduces the cost of production.
- As the plantation farming is grown for commercial purpose so to make it successful it requires large capital investment. The farming is basically labour intensive and it is highly mechanised. Other types of farming require low capital outlays.
- Plantation farming requires a large space of land and to manage huge tracts of land is not easy, so it requires an efficient management system in order to be successful. So this type of farming is highly organised and is scientifically managed which helps to boost the efficiency and production of crops which is not the case with other types of farming.
- Plantation farming requires large tracts of land because it is meant to sustain a huge population, so it requires more than 40 hectares of land and we can say that plantation farms are very large which is not the case with other types of farming in order to be successful.
Benefits of Plantation Farming
The crops in plantation farming grow on a larger scale which are specified for commercial purposes. Some of the benefits included in the farming are:
- It has led to the development of infrastructure such as roads, schools, colleges, housing bodies, administrative organisations and hospitals, due to the strong need of a transport system leading to ‘urbanisation’.
- Plantation farming employs a huge number of workers which has improved the standard of living and it also reduces the growing unemployment problem.
- They increase the tax base for the government system in increasing the revenue used for developing roads.
- Plantation farming is totally export oriented, so the net volume and the national export value increases which adds value to the foreign exchequer.
- It totally depends on the International market.
- The entrepreneurs invest substantial capital to the underdeveloped economy which converts it into a vibrant and dynamic economy.
- The provision of raw materials especially to Agro based industries such as kakira sugar works has led to industrial growth.
- It ensures a constant flow of income to the outgrowers as it provides a market for them also.
- It ensures improved and better quality crops because it is based on research and many plantations have their own research centre that focuses on developing high yield crops and disease resistant seeds.
- The workers are acquainted with specialised skills that help them serve the community as a whole.
Some other benefits of Plantation Farming are:
- Reduced Climatic changes
- Purification of Air
- Cooling down the streets
- Natural Air Conditioner
- Saves Water
- Prevents Water pollution
- Provides Shelter for Wildlife
- Renewable Source of Energy
Despite its several benefits it has some restrictions and it adversely affects the regional economy because of it.
- It has been developed by the outsiders so the local inhabitants won’t entertain it for the long run.
- It is specialised in one crop that is also for export, so it can lead to food shortages in local communities.
- The profit goes to the foreign lands which are not beneficial to the local economy.
- The labourers and technicians are collected from faraway lands at a cheap rate, so it fails to improve the employment scenario of the local residents adding social tensions.
- For expanding the business, the planters grab the lands of the farmers creating more and more landless and uprooted people.
- It depends on the International market so the price fluctuations can jeopardise the system.
- Over exploitation and absence of Crop rotation can lead to soil erosion and depletion of soil fertility.
Plantation farming is a good option for commercial purposes and it produces great profits and returns, providing employment opportunities to a large number of workers. It also establishes a great infrastructure such as roads, hospitals, etc but it also has certain disadvantages due to which it is not a flawless type of farming. It majorly affects the local community in terms of disadvantages.
Basically, everything has its own pros and cons, so it requires understanding and providing solutions to the issues and can work for the betterment of local communities as well. Providing employment to the local residents instead of outsiders could also be beneficial to some extent.