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Factors affecting intensity of food production
Transcript of Factors affecting intensity of food production
Physical Factors About the relief or the shape of land, soil and climate. Relief of Land Some crops can only be grown in a particular
altitude (The higher the altitude, the lower
the temperature and vice versa).
In tropical areas, increasing altitude also
makes it possible to grow crops that cannot
be grown in the hotter lowlands.
Increasing intensity of food production.
E.g, in Java, Indonesia, there are extensive tea and
coffee plantations 400 - 600 metres above sea level.
In temperate areas however, (e.g, USA, Europe
et cetera) increasing altitude restricts the
number of types of crops that can be grown, as
growing seasons for the plants become shorter in
areas of hight altitude, therefore reducing the
intensity of food production. Climate In the tropics, most crops can be grown due to
the area's warm and sunny weather, helping
plants to grow and develop successfully, thus
increasing the intensity of food production.
E.g, In the Southern Provinces, farmers may be
able to grow two or three rice crops a year.
In the temperate areas however, temperatures
vary with the seasons and thus restricts the
number of crops that can be grown due to the
long winter period, thus decreasing intensity of
E.g, in North-Easter China, only a single wheat
or soya bean crop can be grown due to the
long winter periods.
Tropical areas with high rainfall or farmers with
irrigation facillities give crops sufficient water to
grow, increasing the intensity of food production.
High rainfall also allows grass to grow rapidly, thus
allowing more animals to be raised, increasing the
intensity of livestock production.
In dry areas however, where there is low rainfall,
farmers must rely on the rain that falls in their
immediate area for plant growth, which is usually
minimal, thus reducing the intensity of food
E.g, in some semi-arid parts of Australia only
support low grass cover. Soil Sandy soil drain well and makes the land become
dry very easily and infertile, thus reducing the
intensity of food production.
E.g, Sandy soil can plant a crop like coconut.
Clayey soil however can retain water and makes
the land wet and fertile, thus increasing the
intensity of food production.
E.g, Clayey can plant a crop like wet rice.
Soil with high nutrients will also allow more types
of crops to be grown and harvested, hence
increasing the intensity of food production. Lowland areas such as floodplains are
gently sloping and are able to retain water
for crops to grow successfully, increasing
the intensity of food production.
Steep slopes however are unable to retain
water but instead causes soil to erode due
to surface runoff, thus less crops can be
grown on it, thus decreasing the intensity
of food production. Social Factors Factors that involve the social
side of food production.
(e.g, farmers and ther families. Land Tenure Farmers who own land have greater
incentives to make a profit and are
more likely to invest in new equipment
and technologies and techniques to
improve efficiency and quality of food
These families have a strong profit
motive for selling surpluses at local
markets, hence resulting in the increase
of food production.
For example, countries like China and
Vietnam allow farming families to own
Farmland that is rented out may or may
not be successful for farmers.
This is because tenant farming may involve
the farmer paying either a cash amount or
a share in crops produced to the landlord as
This as a result makes farmers have low
incentives to improve the land and will
cause reduction in the productivity of land.
Land Fragmentation Land that is subdived amongst the farmer's
heirs can cause a reduction in farm size and
also the intensity of its productivity.
For example, a small parcel of land is usually
given as a marraige gift or sold off to richer
farmers to pay off debts.
Consolidation of fragmented land allows
farmers however, to cultivate crops
extensively and also enjoy economies of scale
when it comes to purchasing human inputs,
hence helping to increase the intensity of
But still, it can give rise to conflicts between
farmers, causing them to negotiate over field
boundaries. It will also impose restrictions on
farming innovations such as constructing
irrigation canals, thus restricting large scale
arming and reducing the intensity of food
production. Economic Factors Factors involving how money
and the economy can affect
farm productivity. Pricing of food products Substinence farmers (farmers that grow food for
self consumption and surpluses), are usually
irregular and quantity is small, thus the price
factor does not affect these farmers much. This
reduces the intensity of food production.
Commercial farmers grow crops for sale and the
price they hope to recieve determines what they
grow, how much they grow and whether they
should invest in new plant types, irrigation systems
or change the types of animals they raise.
They are driven by profits and thus prices help to
increase the intensity of food production.
Natural disasters might affect the supply of food
in the world markets. For example, if food becomes
scarce, prices will increase, so farmers will grow
more food for sale to earn profits, increasing the
intensity of food production.
Changing tastes in food can also affect farm prices
and thus not all farmers will continue to produce
these types of crop. For example, when there is a
demand for a particular crop produce and the supply
is limited, the price of the produce will increase,
causing farmers to grow more of the type of crop
to suit the consumers' tastes, thus increasing the
intensity of food production.
Marketing and advertising can help change the
demand for a particular food item / crop.
Modern Transportation, along with processing and
storage techonologies are also ways that help
promote demand of them.
This will as a result cause consumers to pay premiums
for high quality products on sale and this could trigger
farmers to grow more of these food products, thus
increasing intensity of food production. Capital Capital involves the money, equipment, buildings
et cetera, used by farmers to grow crops and raise animals.
The availability of capital for example, easy access
of loans, allow farmers to upgrade their farming
methods and buy more land, hence increasing the
productivity of farmland and food production.
However, farmers in LDCs do not have government
loans readily available for them.
This leads to borrowing from local moneylenders
which can lead to greater debt due to high interest rates.
These farmers are unable to pay back the loans and
are constantly caught in the vicious cycle of poverty,
thus this reduces the intensity of food production. Political Factors Factors relating to the goverment
and how it affects intensity of food
production. Policies and Decisions Government body can help to build infrastuctures such as dams for irrigation,
draining of wetlands to create new
farmland and constructing roads and ports
to transport surplus produce.
This helps to increase the production of crops.
Government body can also subsidise food
production by paying farmers to produce
a certain crop or by paying some of their
costs can help to increase food production.
Some governments tend to control the trade in certain food items by prohibiting products from certain countries, or favouring imports from others.
Prohibiting imports of certain food products can protect local farmers' interests and lead to farmers' decision to grow more of this produce, thus increasing the intensity of food production.
Governments can also provide low cost loans, grants or tax advantages for farmers and the money which they borrow can be used to purchase machinery, repair eroded land, change the type of animals raised or build infrastructures.
Governments can also set up agricultural training colleges for new farmers, forming advisory groups to deal with problems such as soil erosion and running research centres can help farmers produce better plants and animals, increasing the production of food products.
Technological Factors Involving the use of technology in
farming. Wide range of development Some farmers whose farmalnds are steeply sloping
may be able to change the slopes by employing modern farming methods such as terracing and contour ploughing.
Terracing invloves cutting almost flat steps into the sides of hills and mountains to provide farming land.
Bunds built at the edges of the steps control the flow of water so as to reduce soil erosion due to surface runoff and also the ability to retain water for plant growth, thus increasing food production.
Contour Ploughing is a method of ploughing that follows natural contours of land instead of straight up and down the slopes. This method reduces surface runoff and improves infiltration of water into the soil and allow s lnad once considered too steep for ploughing to be farmed, thus increasing food production. The End