Agriculture Information

Agriculture, or farming, is the simplification of nature's food webs and the rechanneling of energy for human planting and animal consumption. There is conventional agriculture and sustainable agriculture (agro-ecology).

Conventional agriculture, most commonly practiced usually involves the following criteria:

  • Altering or changing the natural environment (removing trees, tilling the soil, installing an irrigation system, etc.
  • Mono-cropping, or planting one crop (ex: only corn is grown in a plot).
  • The crops grown are nonrenewable- after harvesting, the plot is bare again and requires cultivation (tilling and plowing of the soil), fertilization, planting, irrigation (watering), and harvesting all over again.
  • diversity is eliminated in order to maintain uniformity
  • Using insecticides and pesticides to keep insects and animals from eating the crops; these chemicals are not only poisonous to insects, animals and humans, they also pollute ground water, streams, rivers, and oceans.
  • Using inorganic fertilizers to provide nutrients to the soil
  • A lot of energy and work for the farmer to maintain this unnatural farming system; nature is more aligned with diversity (it wants to be wild), rather than controlled and uniform.

Sustainable agriculture (agro-ecology)

 uses ecological principles to farm, hence the prefix agro- to farm and ecology- the science of the relationship between organisms and their environments. Agro-ecology involves:

  • Maintaining the natural environment and using ecological principles for sustained farming practices
  • Poly-cropping, or planting many crops together (ex: planting rows of corn, bean, and squash together rather than in separate plots, like in mono-cropping)
  • Poly-cropping, or planting many crops together (ex: planting rows of corn, bean, and squash together rather than in separate plots, like in mono-cropping)
  • Since many plants are planted together, and each one has a different harvesting period, the plot is never bare. This reduces soil erosion
  • diversity is maintained and even increased over time
  • A diverse system of plants may attract several species of herbivores. Some of these herbivores like to eat specific kinds of plants. Predator species usually do not have a preference for which herbivores to eat. This predation keeps the herbivore population in check, thus reducing predation of any one crop.
  • Plants- such as citrosa, are natural insect repellents. This eliminates the need to use insecticides.
  • Nutrients from each intercrop plant provide different nutrients to the soil, thus increasing its fertility (ability to sustain life).
  • Less energy is required from the farmer because the agriculture system sustains itself

In Pakistan, The Ministry of Food, Agriculture & Livestock is mainly responsible for policy formulation, economic coordination and planning in respect of food grain, agricultural & livestock. It also includes procurement of food grains, fertilizer, import price stabilization of agriculture produce, international liaison, economic studies for framing agricultural policies, fishing and fisheries beyond territorial waters, animal quarantine etc.. Ministry of Food, Agriculture & Livestock consists of one division; Food, Agriculture & Livestock Division. Please visit the web site of the Food, Agriculture & Livestock Division for a more comprehensive and detailed information about its Policies, Publications, Information and Services.