What is Plantation Farming? Meaning, Characteristics and Advantages

What is Plantation farming? Meaning, characteristics and advantages

Plantation Farming – Agriculture is a very interesting subject because of its importance. It has so many branches as well as types. Here, we are looking at plantation farming. Plantation Farming or Agriculture is a system of farming in which the farm units are large and compact and involves the planting of the same type of cash crop on the same piece of land. This farming practice encourages the use of mechanized equipments. One of the things that promotes plantation farming in West Africa is where the land ownership is not communal but vested on the government in such countries. The farms are usually owned by the government, cooperatives and at times, individuals.

Plantation farming is also a form of commercial farming. Though this farming system maybe prominent in other countries, a country like Nigeria where communal system of land ownership is largely practiced may have the limited need for this Farming practice. The crops mainly planted in this type of farming system includes; plantain, palm trees, Sugar, Cotton, Cocoa, Rubber and others. Some of the countries in West Africa where plantation farming is practiced includes; Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Liberia, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria. This farming system encourages export trade.

Characteristics or Features of Plantation Farming

Here are the basic characteristics of plantation farming;

1. Requires huge capital for start-up

Unlike other small scale farming system, plantation farming is capital intensive. In some cases, the farmer may need to acquire a piece of land that is big thereby requiring a reasonable amount of money. The seeds or seedlings to be planted, clearing of the farmland and other Agricultural processes will require a large sum of money due to its size.

2. Planting System

Plantation Agriculture features a planting system that consists of only a single crop type. This gives room for proper maintenance and greater output. Unlike in mixed cropping system whereby different crops of various species are being cultivated in the same piece of land making it difficult to maintain and giving rise to small harvests of various crops.

3. Involves the use of mechanized equipments and Implements

Due to the fact that the farm units are large and compact, manual system of labour is thus, difficult to implement in such farms. The various stages in this farms like planting, maintenance and harvesting of crops is done with the use of mechanized equipments.

4. It involves Skilled Labour

The presence of mechanized system of farming will equally require the services of skilled labour and experts. Also, the size of the farm and cost of other inputs will entail proper maintenance and management of the plantation so as to avoid the farmer or group of farmers running into heavy loss. This is among the reasons why they employ the right people who can conduct research about the crops and the best farming practices to adopt.

5. It entails the use of improved inputs

To increase productivity and output, inputs such as chemical fertilizer, better crop varieties or species are being used. The aim of anyone going into large scale farming is to maximize profit, and such, he or she will try to make use of the best things available to achieve this.

6. Large Scale Production

Plantation farming gives rise to large scale production of Agricultural products. This makes their outputs very large, having improved quality and affordable.

7. Production of Crops for Industrial Use

This large scale farming system produces crops such as Cotton, Palm trees, Coffee, Cocoa which are needed for industrial use. Others that are owned by state farms and cooperative can produce food crops like rice, yams and cassava.

Advantages of Plantation Farming

This farming system has a lot of advantages, and thus, here are the reasons why it should be promoted;

1. It creates more employment opportunity

The various steps involved in plantation farming requires a good number of labour force. Although mechanized system of farming is usually employed, the use of a good number of human labour force is inevitable at some stages.

2. Facilitates the production of export crops

Plantation farming like I said earlier promotes the production of export crops such as rubber, cocoa, coffee, palm produce, cotton and others. It therefore serves as a means of foreign exchange earnings to the nation which helps in economic development and growth.

3. Provides enough raw materials for industrial use

Due to the large scale production from plantation farming, it gives rise to the production of raw materials for domestic industries. Examples of industries that benefits from such production are textiles, tobacco, fruit canning, construction industries and others.

4. It encourages the cultivation of more arable lands

Plantation Farming has led to the discovery and cultivation of more arable land. Lands that would have been left uncultivated due to location and other environmental conditions can now be cultivated with mechanized equipments.

5. It attracts foreign investors

Plantation Farming method makes it possible for foreigners to invest in Agriculture in a country. This will lead to the introduction of new Implements, methods and techniques. It will also lead to a greater output.

Disadvantages of Plantation Farming

Despite its advantages, it also has its own disadvantages, which are;

1. A threat to the environment

Plantation Farming leads to the destruction of rain forest. Thus, some natural habitats and animal species are now endangered because of this system of farming. Some of these rain forests prevents erosion, harbours pests and other diseases causing organisms which may thus, relocate to the habitats of man. Some trees in these rain forests serves as wind breakers and this makes the environment prone to wind outbreak. A lot of medicinal trees are equally destroyed in this method of farming.

2. Output determines the prices of that particular Agricultural Produce

When farmers engaged in plantation farming incurs a huge loss, this will affect the overall prices of such commodity in the market. Thus, they have a large influence of the prices of these commodities.

3. Quality maybe compromised to quantity

At times, plantation farmers tends to focus more on quantity thereby giving less attention to quality. They go for higher yielding crops varieties and insect resistant ones, which at times, may not the best species.

4. Difficult to start

It is not everyone that can afford the cost of starting a plantation farming. This makes it limited to influential people, organization and the government.

Plantation Farming should be given great attention because its advantages is greater than its disadvantages. Hopes this article answers you question on “What is plantation farming?”

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