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for CSEC Examinations
Ronald Ramharacksingh
MACMILLAN Series Editor: Dr Mike Taylor

for CSEG hmutigHs

Ronald Ramharacksingh

CSEC is a registered trade mark of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).

Agricultural Science jr CSEC Examinations is an independent publication and has not been
authorised, sponsored, or otherwise approved by CXC.

Series preface ix

About this book x

Section A: The Business of Farming

1 The role and importance of agriculture 1
1.1 The importance of agriculture in national, regional and international economies 2
1.2 Career opportunities in agriculture 3
1.3 Institutions concerned with agricultural development in the Caribbean 7

2 Challenges confronting agriculture 15

2.1 Local and regional challenges 16
2.2 Issues affecting global agriculture 21
2.3 Terminology used in food safety, importation and certification 26

3 Alternatives to conventional farming 31

3.1 Non-conventional farming systems 32
3.2 The principles of organic farming 35

4 Economic factors of production 41

4.1 The economic functions of production, consumption and marketing 42
4.2 The factors of production 44
4.3 Factors of production related to agriculture 45
4.4 The 'law of diminishing returns' 47
4.5 Demand, supply and price relationships 51

5 Trade agreements 61
5.1 The effect of international trade agreements 62

6 Farm financing and support services 68

6.1 Sources of capital 69
6.2 Co-operatives 72
6.3 Incentives given to farming 75

7 Farm organisation and planning 80

7.1 Farm management and farm records 81
7.2 Income and expenditure 84
7.3 Partial and complete budgets 86
7.4 The relationship between budgeting and decision-making 87

Section B: Crop Production

8 Soil and soil fertility 91
8.1 Soil formation 92
8.2 The soil profile 95
8.3 The major components of soil 96
8.4 The physical and chemical properties of major soil types 98
8.5 The carbon and nitrogen cycles 104


8.6 The factors affecting soil fertility 106

8.7 Importance of minor nutrients in crop production 108
8.8 Fertiliser ratio 109
8.9 Maintaining soil fertility 110
8.10 Composting 113
8.11 Soil erosion 114
8.12 Different types of soil erosion 114
8.13 The causes of soil erosion 115
8.14 Soil and water conservation methods 116

9 Land preparation 125

9.1 The relationship between climate and agricultural production 126
9.2 Measuring rainfall and temperature 127
9.3 Interpreting weather records 129
9.4 Weather records and farming decisions 131
9.5 Land preparation methods 131
9.6 Machinery used in crop husbandry 135
9.7 Care and maintenance 138
9.8 Safety precautions when operating tools, machinery and equipment 139

10 Plant morphology and physiology 144

10.1 The structure of plants 145
10.2 Sexual and asexual reproduction in plants 151
10.3 Sexual and asexual reproduction in relation to crop production 156
10.4 Seed germination 157
10.5 Plant processes 164
10.6 Environmental factors and plant growth and development 167

11 Plant genetics, breeding and biotechnology 174

11.1 The principles of genetic inheritance 175
11.2 Plant breeding 178
11.3 Biotechnology in plant improvement 181

12 Crop husbandry 186

12.1 Cropping systems 187
12.2 Cultural practices associated with crop production 189
12.3 The effects of weeds on crops 190
12.4 Methods of weed control 191
12.5 Pests and crop damage 193
12.6 Major crop diseases 195
12.7 Pest and disease management 197
12.8 Chemicals in the environment 198
12.9 Cultivation of vegetable crops 200
12.10 Plant quarantine 203

13 Harvesting and post-harvest practices 208

13.1 Post-harvest technology 209
13.2 Harvesting crops 209
13.3 Harvesting methods 210
13.4 Harvest and post-harvest practices for ornamentals 211
13.5 From the farm to the table 212

14 Processing and utilisation 216

14.1 Reasons for processing crops 217
14.2 Food processing techniques 217
14.3 Utilisation of processed products 222


Section C: Animal Production

15 Morphology and physiology 225
15.1 The digestive system of a bird 226
15.2 Ruminant and non-ruminant digestive systems 228
15.3 Functions of the digestive system parts 228
15.4 The process of digestion 229
15.5 Digestion in rabbits 231
15.6 The structure of an egg 231

16 Nutrition 235
16.1 Nutrients in animal nutrition 236
16.2 The balanced ration 238
16.3 Appropriate rations for livestock 239
16.4 Feed conversion ratio (FCR) 240
16.5 The importance of FCR 240
16.6 Systems of grazing 241
16.7 The advantages and disadvantages of different grazing systems 243
16.8 The importance of forages in livestock feeding 244
16.9 Forage conservation 247

17 Housing 252
17.1 Housing requirements for farm animals 253
17.2 Housing for broilers, layers and rabbits 254
17.3 Bee production and fish farming 256

18 Animal genetics, breeding and reproduction 263

18.1 Breeds of farm animals 264
18.2 Uses of different breeds of farm animals 265
18.3 Animal genetics 266
18.4 Breeding systems in animal production 267
18.5 The advantages of cross-breeding 268
18.6 The principles of genetic improvement 269
18.7 Artificial insemination in farm animals 270
18.8 Advantages and disadvantages of artificial insemination 271
18.9 Terms used in animal reproduction 272
18.10 Egg formation and incubation in poultry 274
18.11 Embryo transfer 276
18.12 Genetic engineering in livestock production 278

19 Animal husbandry 285

19.1 The care of young chicks and rabbits 286
19.2 Management practices associated with rearing broilers, layers and rabbits 288
19.3 Rearing a batch of broilers 289
19.4 Animal health 289
19.5 Pests and diseases of poultry and rabbits: symptoms, prevention and control 290
19.6 The economic importance of bees 291
19.7 The types of bees in a hive 292
19.8 The social activities of bees 292
19.9 Pests and diseases of bees 293
19.10 Honey and other bee products 294

20 Animal products technology 300

20.1 Animal products and by-products 301
20.2 The dressing percentage of farm animals 304
20.3 The slaughter of broilers 305
20.4 The marketing of eggs and meat 306


Section D: Horticulture (Double Award only)

21 Horticulture 310
21.1 What is meant by horticulture? 311
21.2 The importance of horticultural plants 312
21.3 The cultivation of horticultural plants 312
21.4 Harvesting techniques of horticultural plants 316
21.5 Quality requirements for flowers 316
21.6 The establishment of lawn and turf grasses 317

Section E: Animal Management (Double Award only)

22 Animal management 321
22.1 Management practices in the rearing of livestock 322
22.2 Preventing food spoilage 330
22.3 Principal cuts of meat 332
22.4 The quality requirements of meat 332
22.5 Safety requirements in the processing of food 333
22.6 Value-added products 333
22.7 The role of biotechnology in animal production 335

School-based Assessment (SBA) component 339

Answers to multiple choice questions 372

Index 373

This book isn't just words on a page. Here are some important features. Each
will help you, if you take advantage of it.

There are two columns. The bigger column has the text and some really large
diagrams; you can read straight down it without interruption. The smaller
column has other diagrams which the text mentions. Look at them carefully
as you need them. You may find that looking at a diagram for a few seconds
is worth a few minutes of reading.

The first time that an important new word occurs, it is repeated in the smaller
column. If you want to check what a word means, you can find it quickly.

There are questions called ITQs (In-Text Questions). When you have read the
nearby text, try to answer the question, in your head or on paper. If you can,
you're on the road to understanding. If you can't, just go back and read that
bit again. Answers to ITQs are at the end of each chapter, so you can tell how
good your answer was.
At the end of each chapter there are some examination-style questions. Your
teacher will suggest how you can use them. Some are multiple choice ques-
tions, and the answers to these can be found at the end of the book.

Whether for the Single or the Double Award, you have to present an SBA
involving practical work and the production of a record of what you have
done, including a financial analysis. The last chapter has a detailed expla-
nation of what is expected, an explanation of how you might set about the
practical work and what is important in it.

There is a detailed index. Don't be afraid to use it to find what you want! r

111111110fflus ..........

e and IrilOndi10E Of


By the end of 3 understand that agriculture is important in national, regional and international
this chapter economies
you should be 3 li st the various career opportunities and levels of training in the agricultural
able to: sector
3 know and understand the functions of local, regional and international
institutions concerned with agricultural development in the Caribbean.

Concept map
Role of agriculture

Economic importance Career opportunities Agricultural development

Regional National International Local Regional International

[-employnt contribution -foreign exchange Ministry of -CARICOM -EU

-food security to GNP -trade liberalisation Agriculture -CFNI -IICA

journalism agro-processing certification quality control engineering

food production education sales and marketing management food inspection services

Section A: The Business of Farming

1.1 The importance of agriculture in national,

regional and international economies
agriculture The word agriculture comes from the Latin agri cultura, meaning 'cultivation of
the field'. It covers all the arts, skills, sciences, industries and services used by
humans to obtain food from the land. This includes the cultivation of crops and the
rearing of livestock, together with the related industries supplying seeds, chemical
fertilisers, machinery, finance and technology. In addition, agriculture involves
marketing and processing.
Often 'agriculture' is used to mean the same as 'farming' and 'husbandry'. But
farming and husbandry have more to do with specific activities such as dairy
Distinguish between 'agriculture', 'farming' and farming, crop husbandry, organic farming, livestock husbandry, mixed farming
'husbandry'. and exotic farming.
Traditionally, agriculture has been recognised as the art of tilling the soil and a
way of life for families in rural communities. With modern technology and a rising
List as many different types of agricultural world population, agriculture today is seen as an art, a skill, an applied science,
production as you can think of, focusing on those a multi-faceted discipline, a business and a vocation, focused primarily on food
found in the Caribbean. production.

Foreign exchange earnings

Agriculture is very important to the economies of all Caribbean countries, both
regionally and internationally.
When Caribbean agricultural goods and services are sold to other countries,
foreign exchange foreign exchange is earned. For example, the export of bananas and coffee
earns foreign currency. However, when foreign agricultural goods and services
are imported, Caribbean currency is converted to foreign exchange; importing
agricultural machinery from abroad is therefore a loss to the local community.

Contribution to Gross National Product

Gross National Product (GNP) The Gross National Product (GNP) is a measure of the current value of goods and
services from all sectors of the national economy. Agriculture is a vital sector of the
national economy and contributes to the GNP.

Food security
food security Food security means being self-sufficient in food. Most Caribbean countries are
now boosting their local food production and reducing food imports.
In the Caribbean, food security is affected by:
low agricultural productivity, resulting from inefficient use of water and other
a decline in earnings from traditional crops resulting from the loss of trade
a dependency on imported food resulting from the inability to produce food
locally at competitive prices
increased poverty in many countries because of a loss of agricultural jobs.

Food security can be promoted by initiatives to improve food production and

marketing, expand trade opportunities, increase income and improve nutrition.

Employment ratio of imported food to local produce

The agricultural sector can provide employment for many people. There is a wide
range of job opportunities, such as farming, agricultural education, marketing,
engineering and farm management. Improved agricultural production improves
the employment prospects of a region if more food is grown locally then more jobs

1 - The role and importance of agriculture

are created. Impo rt ing food from abroad reduces the number of local ag ri cultural
There is also concern about the quality of some of the food impo rt ed into the
Ca ribbean. It is thought that some impo rt ed food may be responsible for an obesity
problem within the population.

National and regional plans for agricultural development

agricultural plans Agricultural plans are policy documents, prepared by governments, private firms
or international organisations, setting out plans for agricultural development.
Normally, local or national plans are prepared by the government of each
Caribbean country for a five-year period. The plan for each country identifies
the areas of agriculture which need attention and may specify the current status,
constraints, strategies and resources required for the development of each area.
Carefully prepared plans can bring about agricultural development and national
Regional plans for agricultural development are produced through the co-
operative effo rt s of Caribbean countries, based on the agricultural needs of the
region. Specific goals, objectives, constraints, strategies, resources and evaluation
procedures help to put the plans into practice.

Trade liberalisation
Trade liberalisation helps global competitiveness. A fair trade in goods and services
tariff develops through removing tariffs and non-tariff bar ri ers. A tariff is a tax levied by a
government on imports (or occasionally expo rt s) for purposes of protection, suppo rt
trade liberalisation of the balance of payments, or the raising of revenue. Global trade liberalisation
initiatives encourage greater efficiency in marketing and trade by restructuring
trade policy regimes to reduce the level of protection from competition.
^+y'7 Trade liberalisation does not just depend on the removal of barriers and the
Make a list of the major roles of agriculture in the negotiation of better access conditions. It requires rules which define the framework
economy of a count ryfor each government in the formulation of their trade policies. This should result in
each country being encouraged to improve productivity in agriculture and making
greater efforts to improve the quality of agricultural products.
Explain what is meant by food security'.

' 1.2 Career opportunities in agriculture

How does importing food reduce the number of
job oppo rt unities? Careers in agriculture include:
food production
sales and marketing
Practical activity: services
food inspection and quality control
Look at some national, regional
and international statistical repo rt s
about food production, impo rt s or
expo rt s. journalism
management and administration

Some career areas extend beyond the agricultural sector: sales and marketing,
services, engineering, management and administration can all be associated with
many other industries.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Food production
The most specialised careers in agriculture are associated with the production of
crops and the raising of livestock (see Table 1.1).

Occupation Job description Qualifications needed

Labourers Unskilled workers who work for farmers; involved in A basic knowledge of tools and machinery is
ploughing, planting, harvesting, looking after animals, useful to gain employment. An NVQ level 1
qualification could be helpful.
Farmers Farmers cultivate their land, grow crops, raise livestock and Farmers need a basic knowledge of
sell their produce. They liaise with advisors and are aware of agriculture, the use of tools and machinery
new developments and methods of production so that they and the ability to keep records and to
can make efficient use of land and resources, control their finances. They need training to
secondary level, studying to NVQ level 2 or
CXC in Agricultural Science.
Overseers/ Have responsibilities for specific areas on large farms. They Overseers and managers need the same skills
Managers may do the same work as farmers, but will be in charge of as farmers, together with the ability to deal
teams of labourers and may specialise in crop production or fairly with the workforce (the labourers).
raising animals.
Extension Extension officers are advisors who inform farmers about the Diploma, Associate Degree or Bachelors
officers latest developments in machinery, equipment and farming Degree in Agriculture.
techniques. They work with researchers to tell them what
farmers need to be more productive. They provide a means of
communication between researchers and farmers.
Research These include: engineers developing new farm machinery; Usually a research worker will have a
workers chemists developing new fertilisers and pesticides; biologists university degree in a science subject, e.g.
researching new breeds of animals and new types of crop Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Engineering.
plants. Research is carried out in laboratories and institutes, Laboratory staff are trained to secondary
employing other staff such as laboratory technicians, level and have good grades in CXC science
Figure 1.1 shows research workers in the field. subjects.
Veterinarians Vets care for sick animals and are also responsible for testing Vets need a university degree in Veterinary
(vets) for diseases in animals. Veterinary nurses help the vets in Medicine.
their work. Veterinary nurses need qualifications: at least
CXC in science subjects.
Agricultural Plan, supervise and manage the building of agricultural A university degree in Engineering.
engineers projects, including drainage schemes, food processing
plants and structures for housing livestock. Many work for
government agencies or are involved in research which
involves designing new agricultural equipment.
Viticulturists Specialists in managing vineyards; require a knowledge of Need a basic knowledge of agriculture, with
grapes, their growing conditions, when to harvest and prune. specialist knowledge of grapes. Qualifications
Can be involved in research developing new techniques for vary from diploma level to a university
culturing vines and breeding new varieties, degree in Horticulture or an agricultural
subject, depending on level of responsibility.

Table 1.1 Some careers in food production.

Sales and marketing

Agricultural produce is sold in shops, supermarkets or on market stalls (see
Figure 1.2). It usually has to be transported from farms to the wholesalers and
from there to retailers and other outlets. All this involves loaders and drivers.
At the wholesalers, produce may be stored for some time, providing employment
for storekeepers, clerks and security officers.
Managers, cashiers and sales personnel become involved when produce reaches
the shops.

Figure 1.1 Agricultural scientists

carrying out some field tests on plants.

1 The role and importance of agriculture

The jobs associated with servicing any industry include technicians, drivers,
electricians, plumbers and mechanics. Very few of these jobs require specialist
knowledge of agriculture, although some mechanics and technicians may develop
expertise in dealing with agricultural machinery.

Food inspection and quality control

These are very important aspects of food production, both for fresh produce and
for processed food. Lack of inspection and poor quality control procedures result
in inferior produce and health hazards. Careers in these areas require training
and qualifications to at least NVQ or equivalent level. Qualified people may be
employed in agro-processing or by government agencies.

Figure 1.2 An agricultural market
Agro-processing involves turning agricultural produce into products (preserved
fruits, jams, wines and sauces), which can be marketed locally, nationally or
exported. The employment opportunities are numerous. They range from unskilled
labour (in processing and packaging plants) to biochemists and quality assurance
officers who have professional qualifications.

Agriculture depends on mechanisation to become more efficient. Transport of
produce and animals from farms to processing plants is essential and increasingly
processes are becoming mechanised. Harvesting of many crops is done by
machinery, rather than by hand. Ploughing, sowing, spreading fertilisers and
spraying with pesticides can all be done mechanically, thus saving time and
reducing the cost of labour.
Engineers are employed to develop and maintain machines. New techniques
in processing and preserving food require machines which are designed and
manufactured by engineers.

Education is vital to agriculture at all levels
from schools to colleges and institutes,
through to university. In schools, pupils
are made aware of agriculture and
the environment (see Figures 1.3 and
1.4). Figure 1.4 on page 6 shows a land
laboratory in a school. This is an area
where many different types of crops are

Figure 1.3 An agriculture teacher and her students examining a mango tree.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Agricultural Science is a core subject

in junior secondary schools, laying
a foundation for further agricultural
training. In senior secondary schools,
different agricultural courses are offered.
Some students prepare for Agricultural
Craft subjects; others prepare for the
Caribbean Examination Council (CXC)
Agricultural Science qualifications.
Vocational courses, such as associate
degrees in Agriculture and Forestry,
are offered at the Eastern Caribbean
Institute of Agriculture and Forestry
(ECIAF) in Trinidad and Tobago and at
other institutions in Jamaica, Guyana
and St Lucia. In Trinidad and Tobago,
the Ministry of Agriculture, through the
Extension Services, offers a wide range of
short courses for farmers.
The University of the West Indies
( UWI) offers degree courses in many
agricultural and associated topics. There
are also opportunities for postgraduate
training leading to higher degrees. There
are job opportunities for well-trained
teachers, together with support staff, in
Figure 1.4 A land laboratory (secondary school). all these institutions.

Journalism in the agricultural sector can suit those who write clearly and have an
interest in agriculture and the environment. Journalists contribute to agricultural
journals and magazines, government documents, information leaflets and
instructions. Photography and graphic design also provide rewarding careers.
Qualifications vary, but experience and a detailed knowledge of the subject matter
are essential.

Management and administration

Businesses and organisations require good management, so managers and
Make a list of the personnel required to organise
and run a retail outlet selling agricultural produce. administrators are needed in all sectors of agriculture. Small farms can be run by
a farmer, but large farms employ managers to take charge of the organisation of
labour and resources. There will be employment opportunities for administrators
and managers in all other aspects of the industries and institutions associated with
A farmer has a contract to supply a supermarket
the agricultural sector. For example, wholesale and retail outlets, schools and
chain with salad vegetables. Make a list of the
colleges need administrative staff at all levels, including secretaries and accountants.
different jobs involved in harvesting, packaging
and transporting his produce to the supermarket.
Qualifications are important in any career and can lead to employment at a higher
Practical activity: level. Many schools and colleges organise courses leading to qualifications in the
Choose a career or career area agricultural sector. On completion of the course and following an examination,
that interests you. Investigate these institutions issue certificates, diplomas or degrees stating the level of expertise
the qualifications required and reached. In schools, examinations are organised by the Caribbean Examinations
Council. In other institutions, the examinations are organised by the college or
employment opportunities
university. All these examinations are set and judged by experts with a good
knowledge of their subject. To gain employment in this area, years of experience
of teaching the subject are required.

1 The role and importance of agriculture

1.3 Institutions concerned with agricultural

development in the Caribbean
Local institutions
Local institutions, both governmental and non-governmental, are essential for any
modem agricultural economy. The quality of the support mechanisms determines
the quality of the agricultural output. More importantly, it creates a sound
foundation for new initiatives, growth and expansion in the agricultural sector.
Each Ministry of Agriculture is divided into several divisions which work in
collaboration with affiliated agencies, farmers' organisations and commercial agri-
businesses to provide support services to farmers and agriculturalists for agricultural
In Trinidad and Tobago, the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources
consists of 11 divisions (see Table 1.2, overleaf), each having responsibilities for
different aspects of agriculture, planning and training.

What are the functions of the Forestry Division of
the Ministry of Agriculture? (see Table 1.2)

What are the functions of the Extension, Training

and Information Division? (see Table 1.2)

Practical activity:
Visit your local regional
administration office and find out
how it helps the farmers in your
area. You could ask for advice
on irrigation schemes, or how to
prevent and control diseases in
crops grown locally.
Figure 1.5 An agricultural research station dealing with livestock improvement.

Figure 1.6 A demonstration -

farmers are shown how to carry out
a procedure.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Name of Division Functions

Planning Division identify goals and objectives
determine the Ministry's vision and mission
formulate plans and policies
collaborate with other Ministries and agricultural organisations
Project identify major agricultural projects
Implementation determine the order of priority and cost projects
Unit implement agricultural projects systematically
co-ordinate the implementation process and keep records
Land Administration provide advice and information on agricultural state lands
Division handle lease assignments and transfers
collaborate with the Lands and Surveys Department
monitor the terms and conditions of leased lands through visits and record-keeping
repossess and re-advertise state lands for lease
Research Division conduct laboratory tests and analysis of soils, pests, diseases and livestock feeds
(see Figure 1.5, provide technical advice, information and solutions to farming problems
overleaf) conduct trials on improved crop varieties and exotic farm animals
issue import permits and quarantine plants and animals for observation, treatment and certification
Agricultural provide advice and information on agricultural machinery and equipment
Engineering advise farmers on designs of farm ponds, livestock buildings, irrigation and drainage projects and
Division access roads
Agricultural Services propagate and sell planting materials (plants, seeds, cuttings, tubers, rhizomes) to farmers
Division cultivate and sell farm produce: wet cocoa beans, bananas, citrus, mango, avocado, sapodilla and
produce and sell honey, queen bees and starter colonies
Forestry Division propagate and sell forest plants (teak, Caribbean pine, mahogany, cedar) to farmers
manage forest reserves, parks, forested recreational areas and wildlife
maintain demonstration areas of agro-forestry and silviculture
undertake reafforestation of watersheds and deforested areas
issue permits for hunting and keep records of animals caught
provide technical advice and information to farmers on forestry establishment and management
sell forest trees to sawmillers and supervise harvesting operations
Fisheries Division conduct registration of fishermen and aquaculturalists
process applications for the importation, registration and transfer of commercial fishing vessels and
issue permits for the import/export of fish (ornamental and food) and seafood
provide technical advice, assistance, information and training courses for fishermen and
Extension, Training organise and conduct technical training on a wide range of agricultural courses at the Farmers'
and Information Training Centre, Centeno
Division provide technical advice and information to farmers
(see Figure 1.6, publish and supply technical information bulletins and factsheets on crops and livestock
overleaf) conduct extension training at all agricultural county offices
Animal Production provide surveillance of livestock farms for the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control of
and Health Division animal diseases
conduct laboratory tests and post-mortem examinations (necropsy) of farm animals
control vampire bats against the transmission of paralytic rabies in livestock
develop and implement preventive medicine programmes for animals
provide technical advice, information and artificial insemination of cattle
produce and sell farm animals, goats, cattle (culled, injured) to interested persons
Regional process applications for farmers' identification and agricultural incentives at agricultural county
Administration offices
Divisions (North/ provide advice, information and assistance on access roads and designs of farm ponds, irrigation,
South) drainage and livestock buildings
monitor and control destructive agricultural pests and diseases
provide technical assistance in managing apiaries and bee abatement (nuisance, swarms)
sell seeds produced lo cally at Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Table 1.2 The functions of the divisions of the Ministry of Agriculture, Trinidad and Tobago.

1 The role and importance of agriculture

Regional institutions
There are many institutions in the Caribbean concerned with agricultural
development. Some give advice and support, whilst others provide specialised
training for careers in the agricultural sector.

The Caribbean Community

Caribbean Community The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is an organisation of 15 Caribbean nations
(CARICOM) and dependencies. It promotes economic integration and co-operation.
CARICOM carries out these functions:
co-ordinates economic policies and development planning
sets up special projects for less-developed countries
operates as a regional single market for many of its members (Caricom Single
handles regional trade disputes.

The Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute

Caribbean Food and Nutrition The Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI) aims to describe, manage and
Institute (CFNI)
prevent nutritional problems facing Caribbean countries. It runs training courses,
conducts research programmes on food and nutrition and maintains a library.
Research areas include:
reduction of under-nutrition in children
prevention and control of diet-related chronic diseases
control of iron deficiency anaemia
i mprovement of household food security.

The Caribbean Development Bank

Caribbean Development Bank The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) assists Caribbean nations in financing
projects for its members. Its purpose is to contribute to the economic growth and
development of member countries and to promote economic co-operation and
Its main functions are to:
assist members in the co-ordination of their development programmes with a
view to achieving better utilisation of their resources, making their economies
more complementary, and promoting the orderly expansion of their
international trade
mobilise additional financial resources for the development of the region
finance projects and programmes contributing to the development of the
provide technical assistance to regional members
promote private and public investment in development projects
stimulate and encourage the development of capital markets within the

The University of the West Indies

University of the West IndiesThe University of the West Indies (UWI), Faculty of Science and Agriculture,
(UWI) offers a wide range of courses leading to qualifications (from diplomas to post-
graduate degrees). Qualifications can be obtained in Natural Sciences, such as
Life Sciences and Chemistry, and aspects of agriculture, such as Animal Science,
Food Production, Economics and Extension Services. In addition, research units
investigate specific problems relating to crop and livestock production.

Section A: The B usiness of

Section A: The Business of Farming

The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute

Caribbean Agricultural Research The Caribbean Agricultural
and Development Institute Research and Development
(CARDI) Institute (CARDI) conducts
research and demonstrates
appropriate technologies to
CARDI provides technical
assistance in areas such as:
crop production,
integrated pest
management (IPM) and
farming systems
livestock and forages
environmental and soils
technology services, e.g.
Figure 1.7 Goat rearing (a CARDI project).
the supply of quality
plant products and
genetic products and services
market research and statistical services
business development and consultancy.

The College of Agriculture, Science and Education

College of Agriculture, Science and The College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), in Jamaica, is a multi-
Education (CASE) disciplinary tertiary level educational institution offering diplomas, associate
degrees and Bachelor degrees. Of particular relevance are its Bachelor degree
courses in Business Studies, Environmental Science and Agri-production and Food
Systems Management. There are associate degree courses in General Agriculture,
Agricultural Education, Natural Science and Business Studies. There are also
courses leading to diplomas in Agriculture and teaching qualifications.
Practical activity: The Department of Animal Science helps to increase productivity of livestock,
Imagine that you are an and the Department of Plant, Soil Sciences and Engineering provides training
entrepreneur and wish to establish in Agronomy, Plant Science, Soil Science, Horticulture, Land Surveying, Plant
a forestry business. Work out Protection and Crop Production. The diploma in Agriculture was designed to train
which institutions you would need skilled practitioners in specific areas of agriculture, who would put their training
to consult in order to finance it into practice on farms and in other agricultural enterprises. An Associate of
Science degree trains students to be highly competent farmers and 'agri-preneurs'.
and find suitably qualified staff.
This qualification enables graduates to enter most jobs that require a knowledge
of agriculture.

The Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry

Eastern Caribbean Institute of The Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry (ECIAF) provides
Agriculture and Forestry (ECIAF) courses that last two years and lead to diplomas in Agriculture, Forestry and
Agricultural Education. Completion of a diploma enables students to gain
employment in agriculture, forestry or education, or to enter other courses in
higher education if they wish to.

The Guyana School of Agriculture

Guyana School of Agriculture The Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) provides training to certificate anc
( GSA) diploma level in agriculture. The one-year course leading to a certificate in Forest
trains students to become forestry technicians and teaches them the principle
of sustainable forestry. A two-year certificate course equips young people fo
careers in farming. The diploma courses last for two years and lead to careers a
What is the role of the University of the West Agricultural Science teachers or agricultural field assistants. These courses are ii
Indies in agricultural development in the Agriculture, Animal Health, Veterinary Public Health and Livestock Productio
8 Caribbean? and Management.

1 The role and importance of agriculture

International institutions
The Caribbean nations are part of the global economy agricultural development
therefore depends on international institutions as well as local and regional

The European Union

European Union (EU) In October 2008, the 27 members of the European Union (EU) and 15 Caribbean
nations signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). It included measures
to stimulate trade, investment and innovation, and to promote sustainable
development, build a regional market among Caribbean countries and help
eliminate poverty. The effect will be to open up markets for produce from the
Caribbean countries by removing tariffs and encouraging trade liberalisation. The
agreement is important for the economies of Caribbean countries and encourages
fair trade for commodities such as sugar, coffee and bananas.

The Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture

Inter-American Institute for The Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture (IICA) is an
Co-operation on Agriculture institution for agricultural research and graduate training in tropical agriculture.
(IICA) It was founded in response to changing needs in the Americas and has evolved
into an agency for technical co-operation in the field of agriculture, promoting
agricultural development and rural well-being.
The IICA supports and encourages:
agro-energy and bio-fuels
biotechnology and bio-safety
rural communities
trade and agribusiness
trade negotiations
institutional modernisation
technology and innovation
environmental management
agricultural health
organic agriculture.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation

Food and Agriculture Organisation The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations leads
(FAO) international efforts to defeat hunger. It helps countries to modernise and improve
agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensures good nutrition for all.
Within the organisation, there are departments for:
agriculture and consumer protection
economic and social development
fisheries and aquaculture
natural resources management and environment
technical co-operation.

There are regional, sub-regional, country and liaison offices worldwide. There is
a sub-regional office for the Caribbean in Barbados and country offices in many
Caribbean countries.
The Organisation of American States
Organisation of American States The Organisation of American States (OAS) is made up of 35 independent nations
( OAS) of the Americas. It was founded in 1948 with 21 members, but expanded to include
the independent Caribbean nations. The goal of member nations was to 'achieve an
order of peace and justice, to promote solidarity, to strengthen collaboration, and
to defend sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence'. It seeks to promote
economic, social and cultural development and to eradicate extreme poverty.

Section A: The Business of Farming

The Inter-American Development Bank

Inter-American Development Bank The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is an international organisation
(IDB) established to support Latin American and Caribbean economic and social
development and regional integration. It is the largest multilateral source of
financing and lends money mainly to governments and government agencies.
The bank is owned by 47 member states of which 26, including the Caribbean
countries, can borrow money and 21 others cannot. There are some criticisms of
the way in which it works. Some of the projects are considered to be damaging to
local environments and local people.
The Canadian International Development Agency
Canadian International The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is the federal body that
Development Agency (CIDA) funds assistance to developing countries in the form of goods, services, the transfer
of knowledge and skills, and humanitarian relief in emergencies and for natural
CIDA advises on many topics including:
food nutrition
agriculture rural development
co-operatives fisheries
forestry water management
the environment health and population.

r Experts broaden the scope of the CIDA beyond financial support and help
developing countries to take charge of their own economies. In addition, skilled
Explain what the following sets of initials workers and technicians are sent to developing countries. Trainees may also take
represent: II CA; FAO; CIDA. 1 up scholarships in Canada.
CIDA funds many projects, such as:
providing supplements to children with vitamin A deficiency
How is the European Union concerned with global immunisation programmes
agricultural development in the Caribbean? supporting HIV/AIDS prevention, education and care.

Practical activity:
Choose one of the international Agriculture covers a wide range of subject areas and is therefore a 'multi-faceted
institutions and find out more discipline'.
about its impact on agricultural Agriculture is a key sector of the Caribbean economy. It makes a significant
contribution to the GNP and to foreign exchange earnings.
development in the Caribbean
The production of food locally is encouraged so that more opportunities for
using the Internet. Design a poster employment are created.
that could be displayed in the Careful planning is needed to bring about agricultural development and boost
local agricultural county office the national economy and regional economy.
informing farmers of the functions Global trade liberalisation encourages improvement in agricultural productivity,
of the institution and how it greater efficiency in marketing and fair trade for goods and services.
affects them. There are many career choices in the agricultural sector; there are employment
opportunities for skilled and unskilled people in all aspects of food production
and marketing.
The Ministry of Agriculture in each Caribbean country, together with other
agencies and institutions, provides support services for agricultural development.
In the Caribbean, there are institutions providing advice and support to the
agricultural sector, as well as some which provide specialised careers training.
Caribbean countries are part of the global economy; their agricultural
development depends on contributions from international organisations.

1 The role and importance of agriculture

ITQl 'Agriculture' is the general term used for food production and its
associated activities. Traditionally, the term was used to describe the
tilling of the soil, but it now includes the cultivation of crops, the rearing
of livestock and related industries such as technology, processing and
marketing. 'Farming' is also used as a general term, but is usually
qualified to describe the type of farming: dairy farming, organic farming,
mixed farming. 'Husbandry' describes a specialisation in growing crops
(crop husbandry) or raising animals (livestock husbandry).
ITQ2 This list can be extensive: bananas, maize, sugar cane, etc. It would be
useful to make a list for your area of the Caribbean.
1103 The major roles of agriculture in the economy of a country are: food
security, foreign exchange earnings, contribution to GNP, employment,
trade liberalisation.
ITQ4 Food security is encouraging self-sufficiency by promoting and improving
food production and marketing. This will expand trade opportunities,
increase the national income and improve nutrition. Food security should
reduce dependence on imported foods by promoting the development of
food production locally.
ITQ5 Growing food locally reduces the need for imported foods. It provides
employment for farmers, labourers, engineers and in agro-processing.
Importing food cuts down on the number of jobs in farming and
associated industries.
ITQ6 Running a retail outlet selling agricultural produce will require: a
manager, an accountant, cashiers, sales assistants, cleaners and drivers.
IT07 Supplying a supermarket chain with salad vegetables would involve:
labourers to harvest vegetables, personnel to sort, clean and grade the
produce, packers, drivers to transport the produce, engineers to service
the vehicles and machinery needed, office personnel to take and process
the orders.
ITQ8 The Forestry Division manages forest reserves, carries out reafforestation,
issues permits for hunting, sells forest plants and harvested timber,
provides technical advice and information to farmers.
ITQ9 The Extension Training and Information Division runs agricultural courses
at Farmers' Training Centres, provides technical advice to farmers, and
publishes technical information bulletins and factsheets on crops and
ITI:11 0 The University of the West Indies provides a number of courses which
lead to qualifications in agriculture and agricultural development. It
trains scientists and engineers and there are research units investigating
problems relating to crop and livestock production.
IT011 HCA is the Inter-American Institute for Co-operation on Agriculture.
It carries out agricultural research and graduate training in tropical
FAO is the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. It
helps countries to improve their agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
CIDA is the Canadian International Development Agency which funds
assistance to developing countries. It provides technical assistance and
advice on a wide range of issues.
IT012 The European Union has an agreement with 15 Caribbean nations (the
EPA or Economic Partnership Agreement) to stimulate trade. It should
open up markets for produce from the Caribbean countries by removing
tariffs and encouraging trade liberalisation.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Examination-style Multiple Choice Questions

Write down the number of the question followed by the letter of the correct
answer. You can check your answers on page 372.
1. An extension officer:
A carries out research on new pesticides
B treats sick animals
C is a direct link between the farmer and the agricultural research centre
D cultivates land for growing crops
2. An example of agro-processing is:
A the manufacture of new fertilisers
B producing jam from fruit
C ploughing the land
D the butchering of domestic livestock
3. Trade liberalisation means that:
A fair trade in goods and services is encouraged
B market access is restricted
C local farmers produce fewer crops
D more people are buying locally produced crops
4. The movement of goods and services from the agricultural producer to
the consumer is:
A transportation
B marketing
C export
D management

Short answer and essay-type questions

5. Explain how foreign exchange can be earned from agriculture in the
6. Describe the job of a farmer and outline the desirable qualifications.
7. Explain why food inspection and quality control are important aspects of
food production.
8. Outline the work of the Animal Production and Health Division of the
Ministry of Agriculture.
9. What are the functions of CARICOM?
10.Describe how regional agricultural projects are funded.

1100 1011

21g03 Confron

dgilnIt m
By the end of 3 explain the factors which affect local and regional agriculture
this chapter 3 understand the major issues that could possibly affect global agriculture
you should be
3 know the terminology used in food safety, importation and certification
able to:

Concept maj.D

Local and regional issues Global issues Food safety

Climate Biodiversity Good Agricultural

Practices (GAPS)

Topography Global warming

Good Manufacturing
Infrastructure Practices (GMPs)

- Extension services HACCP (Hazard

Food security
Analysis Critical
Control Point)
Land tenure
- Praedial larceny

Food safety


Natural disasters

- Gender issues

Sustainable land use

Section A: The Business of Farming

2.1 Local and regional challenges

The major challenge confronting agriculture is to feed an ever-increasing global
population whilst preserving, as far as possible, the natural environment. Improved
methods of crop production and livestock husbandry can result in higher yields,
but these have to be balanced against environmental degradation. In this chapter,
local and regional issues are considered together with worldwide challenges such
as global warming and maintaining biodiversity.
In the Caribbean, agriculture is an important part of the economy and a major
activity. It is the main livelihood of people in rural districts. Traditional methods
of agriculture are labour intensive and time consuming. Any movement towards
mechanisation will result in a more financially rewarding industry. In this chapter,
we consider some issues which affect the progress of agriculture in our area.

climatic conditions Agricultural production is directly affected by climatic conditions. For any period,
production may be high or low depending on the weather conditions. There
are two distinct seasons: a dry season and a wet season, although the months
comprising the two seasonal periods vary slightly in some Caribbean states.
In the dry season, there is plenty of sunshine, high temperatures and a shortage
of water, especially for crop irrigation. As a result, crop cultivation is not possible
in areas where there is no water.
The wet season has heavy rainfall, cool temperatures, high humidity. and strong
winds, including hurricanes. Farmers are challenged to control pests and diseases,
which are more common during the rainy season. In addition, crops and livestock
are damaged by floods and strong winds.

Strategies for coping with climate

In the dry season, farmers conserve soil water by cultural practices, such as
organic mulching, incorporating pen manure and other organic matter into
the soil, and transplanting seedlings into concave 'pockets' to keep soil water
within the root zone.
In the rainy season, drainage systems are essential. Farmers use cambered beds
How can farmers conserve water during the dry
season? and ridges for crop cultivation, and practise pruning and staking of crops.
Governments can assist farmers, by means of subsidies, to establish ponds
to reduce the disastrous effects of flooding and to store water during the dry
Describe THREE ways in which crops can be Similarly, governments, through the Forestry Division, can help farmers to
protected from wind disasters. establish wind-breaks in areas where crops are prone to wind disasters.

topography The topography, or external features of the land, affects methods of cultivation
and crop production. Farmers prefer to cultivate land which is flat or undulating
because movement of machinery and equipment for land preparation, crop
harvesting and transportation of produce is easier. However, most of the Caribbean

Figure 2.1 Hilly terrain machines are difficult to operate in these areas.

2 Challenges confronting agriculture

is hilly or mountainous. There are no alternatives to the use of manual methods

for most field operations in hilly areas.
Explain why farming in mountainous areas is
Mountainous areas have shallow topsoil and are prone to soil erosion and
more difficult than farming in flat countryside.
landslips. Farmers can carry out strip cropping, cover cropping, contouring and
terracing (see Chapter 12). However, these options are not always easy. The
erection of barriers of stone, wood or grass is expensive, although these can help
Explain why the mechanisation of farming in the to control soil erosion.
Caribbean is limited.
Mechanisation in hilly areas
Mechanisation allows farmers to complete agricultural tasks more speedily and
efficiently. This increases their production and profitability. However, in the
Caribbean there is limited use of mechanisation due to hills and mountains.
Practical ivity: There is some use of machinery: the sugar cane and rice industries in Guyana and
Visit a local farm and list all the Trinidad and Tobago are fully mechanised. Limited use is also made of machinery
machinery available and in use. in land preparation, milking cows, plucking chickens, application of pesticides,
Make another list of jobs which weed control and crop irrigation.
could be done more efficiently if Across the Caribbean, regional governments and private firms need to introduce
the farmer was able to purchase a mechanisation. This mechanisation should be appropriate for the terrain and
reasonably priced for farmers.
machine to perform the task.

Rural infrastructure
In the Caribbean, rural communities have often developed into villages and towns
infrastructure as a result of agriculture. Sometimes the infrastructure has been developed on a
planned basis to help farming communities. Infrastructure refers to the basic services
and installations needed for a community to function, such as transportation and
communications systems, water and power lines, and public institutions including
However, nationally and regionally, many rural areas still lack an essential
infrastructure. Often there is no incentive for farmers to continue living in these
areas, where they experience hardship because of few basic amenities. Roads, a
water supply, electricity and telephones, educational, medical and recreational
facilities all need to be available. Many rural areas lack shops and public transport
Farmers want their families to have a better lifestyle and therefore they often
rural-to-urban drift migrate to urban areas. This rural-to-urban drift causes abandonment of agricultural
land, absentee farmers, a shortage of agricultural labour and a lowering of
agricultural production. The governments of Caribbean countries need to address
What basic facilities does a rural community need the needs of farmers in rural communities. Investment in rural infrastructure is the
to provide a satisfactory lifestyle for farmers and
pathway to greater agricultural productivity and food security.
their families?

Figure 2.2 An example of rural infrastructure modern buildings in a rural area.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Extension services
There is a worldwide pool of technical knowledge about agriculture, gained
from developments in science. This knowledge can be used to help agricultural
Why are the extension officers important to development and food security. With modern communication links and internet
farmers? services, many regional territories have websites from which farmers can access
technical agricultural information.
extension officers Throughout the Caribbean, extension officers make farmers aware of the latest
developments in agriculture and encourage them to adopt modem technology.
In some countries there are not enough extension officers. In addition,
training centres are not always equipped to provide the training and practical
Why are farmers reluctant to use new technical demonstrations needed to convince farmers of the benefits of new practices. This
knowledge? How can the problem be resolved?
results in reluctance to use new technical knowledge without first seeing whether
it will really work. Local and regional governments need to train more extension
officers and provide well-equipped training centres.

Praedial larceny
praedial larceny Praedial larceny is stealing agricultural produce, such as crops and livestock, and
it causes severe economic losses to farmers. This crime deprives farmers of the
opportunity of harvesting what they have planted and nurtured and robs them
of hard-earned dollars. This is a problem, especially for farmers who cultivate
crops which are easy to harvest (for example, bananas, watermelons, pumpkins,
cabbages, corn and cucumbers). Often, farmers or other family members have to
stay on the farm day and night, or hire a security officer.
The culprits are not always caught. In addition, complaints to the police do
not always yield a desirable response. It may be difficult to identify offenders and
bring them to justice. The few who have been caught in the act have had low
fines imposed by the courts. As a result, some farmers, especially those regularly
targeted, have given up commercial farming.

Figure 2.3 Guarding produce against praedial larceny (top); the thief makes his
escape (below).

2 Challenges confronting agriculture

Local and regional governments need to address the problem with strategies
such as:
What is praedial larceny? hiring praedial larceny officers (estate police) or encouraging farmers'
co-operatives to hire praedial larceny officers
conducting regular police checks in rural districts
imposing more severe fines on offenders
Suggest THREE ways by which praedial larceny raising public awareness of this crime.
can be reduced.
Land tenure systems large parcel
of land
land tenure Land tenure refers to the rights and
conditions under which people hold,
parce' smaller
own, use, control and enjoy property parcel parcel
(land). For the farmer, land is necessary
for agricultural production and is a
vital resource. Traditionally, parents
have handed down land as a legacy to
their children. With each generation,
sub-division of the land has resulted
non-economically viable farming units
in fragmentation (see Figure 2.4).
Often parcels of land have become too Figure 2.4 Land fragmentation
small to be run as economically viable (land is handed down through the
farming units. generations).
Some landowners are not interested in farming the land themselves, but allow
farmers to rent it or enter into a share-cropping arrangement. The farmers who
tenant farmers rent the land are known as tenant farmers. Tenant farmers are not always keen on
managing the land properly or carrying out soil improvements, because the land is
not their own and they can be evicted at short notice.

Loss of agricultural land

In the Caribbean, land is a symbol of economic power. As time passes, land often
appreciates (rises) in value; it may be used for commercial purposes and housing,
provided that approval is granted by the government. Land is a scarce resource: it
warrants careful use and land reform policies for state lands and areas that are idle
or abandoned by their owners.
Each Caribbean state needs to ensure that agricultural lands are identified and
mapped out, and also allocated by means of a land tenure system to farmers 'for
agricultural production and national food security. In some countries, tougher
measures are needed to ensure that good agricultural land is not used for the
Explain the meaning of land tenure', development of residential areas.

Sustainable land use

More sustainable management of land can reverse land degradation and
desertification. But management of land resources needs to be improved if it is
to address the following problems: loss of soil fertility, reduction in freshwater
resources, loss of biological diversity and degradation of coastal ecosystems.
sustainable land use Sustainable land use is a term which means planning and managing land for
agriculture, settlement development, tourism, forestry and livestock. To increase
sustainable land use within the region, a partnership of national, regional and
international organisations with farming and forestry communities has been
State THREE ways in which management of land proposed. The partnership will look at integrated land use management, appropriate
resources needs to be improved, technologies, food security, economic development, and environmental protection.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Environmental issues
Farmers interact with the natural environment by removing vegetation, tilling the
soil, introducing new plant species, spraying with pesticides and modifying micro-
climatic conditions. Although necessary for food production, environmentalists
worry about the harmful effects of these farming practices.
The major concerns relevant to agriculture are:
destruction of ecosystems
loss of biodiversity
build up of pollution
pesticide resistance.

Food safety
More people now travel within the Caribbean region and all over the world for
business and pleasure. Some may visit farms abroad and inadvertently bring
seed, plant, soil or animal materials into their home country. These materials may
harbour pests and diseases which can spread rapidly and cause havoc to domestic
Nationally and regionally, sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) certification pro-
cedures govern the import and export of plants, animals and their products.
Normally, licences are issued for import and export purposes. Incoming plants and
animals are quarantined for observation, testing and certification of their disease-
free status before release for propagation in the country.
Governments sometimes impose restrictions on the import of certain agricultural
products, such as poultry (chickens, eggs) and beef, from countries which have
experienced 'bird flu' or 'mad cow' disease. Agricultural workers associated with
these outbreaks are also monitored to ensure that diseases are not transmitted to
Explain why food safety is a major challenge other farms and that no agricultural pests or diseases are brought into their home
affecting agriculture. country.

Natural disasters
Each year, Caribbean countries are threatened by loss of life, property damage and
social disruption as a result of natural disasters. Tropical storms, hurricanes, tidal
waves, heavy rains and droughts have occurred in the last 30 years. Disasters have
cost the region billions of dollars and damaged economic health and development.
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) has developed
a strateg for the management of such disasters, known as the CDM (Com-
prehensive Disaster Management) strategy. This
places emphasis on the benefits of strengthening
the infrastructure so that installations are as storm-
resistant as possible. Investment in roads, drainage
systems, electrical and water services, schools and
hospitals saves money in the long term, as the cost of
clean-up procedures is usually greater and involves
rehabilitation and total rebuilding. This strategy
depends on persuading individual governments to
make investments this is always a challenge.

Gender issues and agriculture

During the colonial era, women in Caribbean
countries were paid lower agricultural wages than
men (for the same number of hours and type
of work). In addition, women were barred from
holding managerial positions in the agricultural
Figure 2.5 Damage to maize and palm trees following a hurricane. sector as well as in other occupations. At that time,

2 - Challenges confronting agriculture

men saw themselves as being superior to women, who played subservient roles in
the home and workplace. Most men felt that it was demeaning to take orders from
a woman boss or to work under her leadership.
In most Caribbean territories, gender issues have been addressed. Although
What do you understand by the term gender resistance still exists, gender equality is advocated with respect to all occupations,
equality? including those which were formerly thought of as exclusive to women, such
as nursing, home economics, dressmaking and cosmetology. In the agricultural
sector, jobs are advertised seeking persons who possess the requisite qualifications,
knowledge, skills and experience, regardless of gender. Of course, where heavy
Describe ONE way in which women might be
manual labour is concerned the employer is free to select the best person for the
discriminated against in agricultural jobs.
particular job.

2.2 Issues affecting global agriculture

globalisation Globalisation has revolutionised agriculture. It is the process of increasing
the connectivity and interdependence of the world's markets and businesses.
Globalisation offers farmers access to world markets. Aircraft can now deliver fresh
agricultural produce to the industrialised countries from almost anywhere in the
world in a single day. In addition to trading opportunities, globalisation allows
What are the benefits of globalisation to farmers? farmers to access information about new production techniques.
Many issues affect agriculture worldwide. Some of these also affect countries of
the Caribbean and they are outlined below. -

biodiversity Biodiversity is the variation of life forms (plants and animals) on Earth and the
many different habitats (ecosystems) in which plants and animals live together.
It is often used as a measure of the health of biological systems. The biodiversity
found on Earth today is made up of many millions of biological species, the product
of nearly 3.5 billion years of evolution.
Three levels of biodiversity have been identified:
genetic diversity the diversity of genes and organisms
species diversity the populations of organisms in an ecosystem
ecosystem diversity the range of habitats on Earth.

Natural vegetation, such as forest, is often cleared for agricultural purposes; this
results in loss of ecosystems with their associated plants and animals. There is
worldwide concern about the loss of natural ecosystems in the quest to increase
food production and clear land for building. Loss of biodiversity results from
Distinguish between genetic, species and changes in terrestrial (land), marine and freshwater ecosystems.
ecosystem diversity. Biodiversity also affects air quality, climate and erosion. It is important for
countries to conserve biodiversity through public education and awareness.

Global warming
The Earth is surrounded by a blanket of air known as the atmosphere, which is
made up of many gases. Two of these, carbon dioxide and methane, are called
greenhouse gases greenhouse gases. In a greenhouse, the glass roof and walls trap the heat energy
of the sun and keep it within the greenhouse. A warm temperature is maintained
and the enclosed plants thrive.
Carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere act rather like a greenhouse,
greenhouse effect producing what is known as the greenhouse effect. When the sun's rays strike
the Earth, some heat energy is absorbed and some is radiated back into space. The
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap the energy and keep it in, warming the
air beneath and enabling all forms of life to survive. If this energy was not trapped,
it would be too cold to sustain life on Earth.

Section A: The Business of Farming

heat energy radiated into space

atmosphere energy
I methane
greenhouse gases
carbon dioxide
trapped heat energy

creased production of greenhouse gases

(carbon dioxide and methane) by:
combustion engines
industry, bush fires some heat energy some heat
farm animals, hu absorbed by the Earth energy
burning fossil re-radiated
back from
Earth's surface

Earth warmed: global warming

Figure 2.6 The greenhouse effect and global warming.

Within the last century, there has been an increase in the production of greenhouse
gases due to human activities. Increased industrialisation, motor transport,
aeroplanes, the burning of garbage, bush fires and deforestation all contribute to
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This means that more heat energy is trapped
within the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in global warming.
Global warming can produce these effects:
a rise in sea level, causing loss of coastal land areas and affecting agriculture,
fishing and community life
increased temperatures, which favour the growth of some crops but harm
Explain what is meant by global warming. more drought, affecting water availability for both domestic and agricultural
more hurricanes, which may have greater strength and cause havoc to crops
and livestock
What is the relationship between global warming a rise in sea temperature, causing changes to coral reefs, fisheries and other
and greenhouse gases? marine organisms
loss of habitats and diversity, with loss of plants and animals due to more
stormy weather.

bio-terrorism Bio-terrorism is the intentional use of micro-organisms to bring about ill-effects or
death to humans, livestock or crops. Agriculture is a perfect target for bio-terrorism
because an attack on food supplies affects food stores, restaurants, suppliers and
consumers as well as farmers. All countries need to be prepared for the possibility
of an attack on crops, livestock or humans.

Diseases useful to bio-terrorists

Smallpox is a viral disease that can be fatal. In 1980, the disease was eradicated
due to worldwide vaccination programmes. Some stocks of the virus are kept
in high-security laboratories. If smallpox is deliberately released, it could cause
a public health catastrophe.
Anthrax is a disease caused by a spore-forming bacterium called Bacillus
anthracis. It is caught by humans after contact with infected animals or infected
animal products. It is has the potential to be used as a biological warfare agent.

2 Challenges confronting agriculture

Crop diseases, such as smuts and blights caused by fungi, can be spread easily
by fungal spores. If large areas of cereal crops are destroyed, less grain is
Ricin is a toxin made from waste left over from processing castor beans. It is
easily made and very toxic. As little as 500 micrograms, about the size of the
head of a pin, injected into a human is lethal. Ricin has been used as a bio-
terrorist weapon and is a serious threat.

Bio-terrorism is hard to protect against or to prevent because small quantities of

the organisms are easy to hide and can be spread quickly. Sometimes pathogenic
organisms can be spread by mistake or by people unaware of the consequences.
The rules which govern the import and export of plants and animals are designed
Why are smuts and blights a hazard? I to protect against diseases being transported around the world.

Food security
food security Food security refers to the availability of food and access to it. As defined by the
FAO, 'food security exists when people have physical and economic access to
sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their needs for an active and healthy
life'. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that food security
for a household means access to enough food for an active, healthy life. It includes
the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods and an ability to acquire
these foods in socially acceptable ways (without resorting to emergency food
supplies, scavenging or stealing).
Worldwide, up to 2 billion people lack food security due to:
global population growth
climate change
increased production of biofuels on agricultural land
loss of agricultural land to industry and residential areas.

There are direct relationships between agricultural productivity, hunger and

poverty. 75% of the world's poor live in rural areas and make their living from
agriculture. Hunger and child malnutrition are greater than in urban areas. In
rural areas, there is greater dependence on subsistence farming so improvements
in agricultural productivity aimed at small-scale farmers will benefit the rural poor
Increased agricultural productivity enables farmers to grow more food, which
leads to better diets. Market conditions that offer a level playing field also lead to
higher farm incomes; and raised incomes often result in farmers growing higher-
What does food security mean to a household? value crops, benefiting themselves and the economy.

Environmental degradation
environmental degradation Environmental degradation refers to the environment being damaged in any way.
Environmental degradation is brought about by:
natural hazards
atmospheric pollution
water pollution
land pollution
global warming
coral reef destruction

Section A: The Business of Farming

Natural hazards
natural hazards Natural hazards are hazards which are not man-made. They occur at the surface of
the Earth, causing loss of life, damage to property and land. They can cause short-
term or long-term changes.
The most common natural hazards in the Caribbean are volcanic eruptions,
earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. Some of their effects are shown in Table 2.1.

Natural hazard Effect on the environment

Volcanic eruptions Eruptions deposit ash on the surrounding countryside and
fires caused by burning gas and hot lava destroy vegetation.
Deposits of debris are left on land. The most recent eruptions
on Montserrat have left much of the island uninhabitable.
Earthquakes Minor earthquakes are not uncommon in the Eastern
Caribbean, and Jamaica lies on an active fault zone. Modern
Kingston dates from the destruction of Port Royal in 1907.
Submarine earthquakes may trigger tsunamis which flood
coastal areas and destroy buildings and infrastructure.
Floods Flooding is widespread as storms bring torrential rainfall in
a short time. Mountainous islands are most vulnerable; low-
lying land floods to several metres as water drains from high
ground. Water destroys crops, kills animals and brings about
soil erosion. Areas at risk have been identified and early
warnings can be given. Apart from tropical storms, flooding
can be caused by deforestation, mining and silting up of
Hurricanes Hurricanes cause wind damage, wave damage, storm surges
in coastal areas and flooding. Crops and trees are damaged
by high winds and storm surges mean that salt water pollutes
inland areas. Sea water is poisonous to plants and livestock
and soil remains contaminated until the salt is removed by

Table 2.1 Natural hazards and their effects on the environment.

Atmospheric pollution
Pollution occurs when the environment is contaminated by toxic substances.
atmospheric pollution Atmospheric pollution is pollution of the air. It is caused mainly by burning fossil
fuels (often for the generation of electricity). Smoke, dust particles and gases
(carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxides) are released. Sulphur dioxide is
Explain how acid rain is caused and what effects poisonous and dissolves in rainwater to form acid rain, which damages crops. An
it has. increase in carbon dioxide contributes to global warming. Atmospheric pollution is
difficult to control, other than by reducing dependence on fossil fuels and reducing
'carbon footprints'.

Water pollution
water pollution Water pollution describes toxic substances getting into streams, rivers and oceans.
Some of these substances come from pollutants in the atmosphere. Others result
from sewage, excessive use of fertilisers and pesticide run-off. Organic matter and
nutrients in freshwater can cause algae to grow rapidly and crowd out other water
plants. When the algae die, they are broken down by bacteria which use up oxygen
in the water. The result is that other aquatic organisms die through lack of oxygen.
What are the consequences of the leakage of In marine ecosystems, agricultural run-off can upset the food webs. Oil spillage
sewage into freshwater? kills sea birds and affects plankton on which marine organisms are dependent.

Land pollution
land pollution Land pollution can be caused by agricultural activities, urban waste disposal and
mineral extraction. Land that is severely polluted cannot grow crops and poisonous
substances will affect the biodiversity of habitats. Waste from crops and animals
should be composted and recycled for use as fertiliser. Excessive use of fertilisers
and pesticides should be discouraged, so that run-off is minimised.

2 - Challenges confronting agriculture

Coral reef destruction

Coral reefs are fragile ecosystems and easily damaged by pollution. Polluted water
runs off the land, enters the sea and increases the growth of algae which live on
the reef. This kills the coral underneath the algae.
Corals can be smothered by sediments washed into the sea from rivers and
coastal dredging activities. Over-fishing and tourist activities upset the ecological
balance so that the physical structure of the reefs, as well as the plants and animals
that live in them, suffer damage.
r! If sea temperatures rise, due to global warming, the coral is weakened and
Why might global warming contribute to the becomes paler in colour. This is called coral bleaching. Weakened coral can be
destruction of coral reefs? attacked by bacterial and viral diseases. The invasion of coral reefs in the Caribbean
by species such as the Indo-Pacific lionfish could also alter the ecosystem.

For thousands of years, forests have been cleared to provide agricultural land
for crop production and rearing animals. The clearance of trees is known as
deforestation deforestation. Five hundred years ago, most of the Caribbean was covered in
dense tropical forest. There are still many areas covered in natural forest, but rising
population means that there is pressure to clear land for crop production, industry
and houses. Forests are cleared and wood is used for fuel, but there is no policy for
replanting trees. The forested areas that remain are in mountainous regions with
high rainfall. These are less accessible to the machinery needed to clear the land
for farming.
Natural hazards, such as forest fires and tropical storms, also destroy forests.
Hurricanes uproot forests and strip leaves, leaving the trees bare. Volcanic activity,
producing poisonous gases and hot lava, has affected forests in Montserrat and
St Vincent.
r^ It is important to retain forests as they:
Why should deforestation be controlled? provide areas for recreation, such as nature reserves and National Parks, with
facilities for hiking and other forms of relaxation
control soil erosion by providing cover to break up the force of the rain on the
absorb carbon dioxide and provide oxygen through photosynthesis
are an important source of timber for building and furniture.

Within protected areas of forest, replanting and maintenance work can be carried
out to avoid over-exploitation.

Figure 2.7 Deforestation in the


Section A: The Business of Farming

2.3 Terminology used in food safety,

i mportation and certification
The procedures described in this section are used internationally to ensure that
Good Agricultural Practices food is produced and processed in a safe way. Good Agricultural Practices (GAPS)
( GAPS) are applied to crop production and animal husbandry, whereas HACCP and GMPs
relate to the manufacture and processing of food.

Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs)

As defined by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations,
GAPs are principles applied to crop production and processing, which result in
safe and healthy food, taking into account economic, social and environmental
GAPs can be applied to a wide range of farming systems and rely on four
the economic and efficient production of enough safe and nutritious food
sustaining natural resources
maintaining farming enterprises and jobs
meeting the cultural and social demands of society.

GAPs provide opportunities to decide which farming practices to follow to achieve

higher production.
Some GAPs relate to soil:
reduction of erosion by hedging and ditching
the correct application of fertilisers
the use of manure, grazing and crop rotation in restoring and maintaining the
organic content of the soil
How does the use of heavy machinery destroy the green manuring by growing leguminous crops
soil structure? protection of soil structure by limiting use of heavy machinery (this compacts
the soil).

Some GAPs relate to water:

careful use of irrigation
avoiding drainage and fertiliser run-off
planting of suitable crops in areas of low rainfall
maintaining plant cover to avoid water run-off in the wet season.

Some GAPs relate to animal production, health and welfare:

respect for animals
avoidance of procedures such as tail docking and de-beaking
reducing use of antibiotics and hormones unless needed for treatment of
avoidance of animal waste in any feed given to stock
reducing the transport of live animals, thus cutting down on the risks of
keeping records so that all animals and their treatments can be traced.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)

HACCP HACCP is a systematic approach to food safety used to identify potential hazards
in the food industry. It is used at all stages of food production and preparation,
particularly the production of juice, seafood, meat and poultry products. It ensures
that food is fit for human consumption by monitoring the stages in its production.

2 Challenges confronting agriculture

There are seven HACCP principles:

hazard analysis
1. Conduct a hazard analysis to identify measures that can be taken to control
any biological, chemical or physical hazard that could cause food to be unsafe
for human consumption.
2. Identify Critical Control Points (CCPs) in a food manufacturing process at
which a hazard can be prevented, removed or reduced.
3. Establish critical limits for each critical control point. A critical limit sets a
value at which a hazard must be controlled at each point.
4. Establish critical control point monitoring requirements to ensure that the
manufacturing process is under control.
i ^5.
Establish corrective actions to be taken when the monitoring process indicates
that a critical limit is not being met this means that products harmful to
What do the initials HACCP stand for
health do not become available for human consumption.
6. Establish record-keeping procedures so that it can be seen that all steps of the
process have been monitored for hazards.
What is a CCP? 7. Establish procedures for ensuring that the HACCP system is working as it
should and that the products from any manufacturing process are safe.

Food processing plants must ensure that their products are safe. They are required
to validate their own HACCP plans, which have to be verified to make sure that
they are adequate. Verification includes reviewing of plans, inspection of critical
control point records and microbial sampling.

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)

GMPs GMPs regulate the manufacture and testing of food products, drugs and medicines.
Every aspect of a process is documented so that products can be traced and
recalled if unsatisfactory. GMPs are particularly important in the manufacture of
pharmaceutical products (medicines).
GMPs in the food industry identify and prevent the contamination of raw
materials. They also deal with poor design of processing plants and procedures and
deficiencies in training employees. Refrigerated foods, meat and dairy foods have
a high risk of safety problems as they may become contaminated with pathogens.
Another problem is that allergens may be introduced into foods (some people,
for example, are allergic to nuts). Food safety experts recommend that training
Suggest reasons why there are safety problems of employees is important in maintaining quality control of materials, adequate
with refrigerated and dairy foods.. cleaning of equipment and documentation of procedures. GMPs, together with
HACCP, ensure that manufactured food products are fit for human consumption.

The major challenge for agriculture is to feed an ever-increasing global

population whilst preserving the natural environment.
Agriculture is a very important part of the economy of the Caribbean.
Agricultural productivity is affected by climatic conditions. There is a dry season,
when water is short, and a wet season with hurricanes and high winds.
In the dry season, soil water needs to be conserved and used more efficiently.
In the wet season, good drainage is important. Pests and diseases of crops are
more abundant in the rainy season.
Hilly areas are more difficult to farm because of the lack of infrastructure and
problems with the use of heavy machinery and transportation of produce.
Agriculture in the Caribbean needs to be more mechanised to be more efficient.
Investment in rural infrastructural development is the key to agricultural
development and food security.
More trained extension officers are needed to spread information on technical
developments to farmers.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Praedial larceny is a problem, especially for farmers who produce fruit and
vegetables which are easily picked and stolen.
Some farmers own land, but many are landless and rent, lease or enter into a
share-cropping agreement with landlords.
More stringent government policies are required in the Caribbean to ensure
that good agricultural land is not used for housing.
Farming has an impact on the environment and there are concerns about the
destruction of ecosystems, loss of biodiversity and pollution.
Plant, soil and animal material brought into the country illegally by travellers
may contain pests and diseases which could cause havoc to domestic agriculture.
Natural disasters, such as floods and hurricanes, can damage crops and livestock
in the Caribbean.
Previously, women were paid lower wages than men and were not appointed to
managerial positions. Nowadays, gender equality is the norm for all occupations.
World agriculture has been revolutionised by globalisation which has opened
up world trade and financial markets.
There is worldwide concern that ecosystems are destroyed and biodiversity is
lost as a result of clearing land to increase food production.
Global warming resulting from an increase in greenhouse gases can speed up
climatic and environmental changes.
All countries need to be aware of the dangers of bio-terrorism in which micro-
organisms can cause death or disease to crops and livestock.
Increased agricultural efficiency means that farmers can grow more food,
leading to better diets and higherincomes for farmers.
Environmental degradation, resulting from pollution, deforestation and natural
disasters, affects agriculture. Measures can be taken to minimise these effects
without reducing the efficiency of agriculture.
Good Agricultural Practices (GAPS) are recommendations by the FAO for the
production of safe and healthy food whilst sustaining natural resources.
There are strict guidelines for the safe production of processed food, so that the
contamination of raw materials and manufactured food products is prevented.

Answers to ITQs can be conserved by using organic matter as a mulch. Seedlings can
be transplanted into concave areas so soil water is kept around the roots.
IT02 Establishing wind-breaks to protect crops; staking crops so that they have
support; pruning trees so that they have a compact shape.
ITQ3 Farming in mountainous areas is more difficult because the use of heavy
machinery may be restricted, cultivating the land is not easy and the
harvesting of the crops can take longer. Farmers may have to use contour
terracing. The topsoil is shallower and liable to erosion.
ITQ4 Mechanisation of farming is limited because many farms are on hilly
or mountainous terrain so that the use of machinery for cultivation is
difficult. In addition, machines are costly and the poorer farmers cannot
afford them.
ITQ5 The basic facilities required are: roads, a water supply, electricity and
telephones, shopping areas, markets, public transport, schools, medical
1T06 Extension officers advise farmers on the latest developments in
agriculture and modern technology as it relates to agriculture.
ITQ7 Farmers are not sure that modern ways of doing things will work. The
problem can be overcome by demonstrations of any new techniques at
training centres.

2 Challenges confronting agriculture

1108 Praedial larceny is the theft of agricultural produce, such as crops and
ITQ9 The hiring of estate police by farmers' co-operatives; the imposing of
more severe fines; regular police checks in rural areas.
11010 Land tenure is the right to hold or own land.
11011 The management of land resources needs to be improved by increasing
soil fertility, conserving freshwater resources and maintaining biological
11012 It is important that pests and diseases are not spread from country
to country when food products are imported or exported. Incoming
plants and animals are quarantined and the export of food products
is controlled. If diseases do spread rapidly then there could be serious
consequences to crop production and the raising of livestock.
11013 Gender equality means that all jobs are open to people with suitable
qualifications, regardless of whether they are male or female.
ITQ14 Women could be discriminated against where heavy manual labour was
involved. Also, women might not be considered for managerial positions
where they were in charge of a number of male employees.
11015 Globalisation opens up access to world markets for farmers' produce and
allows them to learn about new production techniques.
11016 Genetic diversity is the diversity of genes and organisms; species diversity
refers to the populations of organisms in an ecosystem; ecosystem
diversity is the range of habitats on Earth.
11017 Global warming is the increase in temperature of the Earth's atmosphere
due to more heat energy being trapped by carbon dioxide and methane.
11018 Carbon dioxide and methane are called greenhouse gases; as they
increase in the atmosphere, due to the burning of fossil fuels and the
internal combustion engine, they trap more heat energy. Any increase in
these gases will result in a rise in the global temperature.
11019 Smuts and blights are fungal diseases of cereal crops. They are spread
by spores and can cause the failure of a whole crop. They are potential
weapons of bio-terrorists because a small quantity of the fungus can
spread quickly through a crop. The crop can be infected easily without
attracting attention.
11020 Food security means that the household has enough nutritionally
adequate and safe food in order to lead an active, healthy life.
17421 Acid rain is caused by sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere dissolving in
rainwater. It damages crop plants, causes leaves to drop from trees, and
gets into freshwater where it makes ponds and lakes more acid affecting
fish and other wildlife.
11022 When sewage leaks into freshwater, it causes algae to grow more rapidly.
Their growth deprives other plants of light. When algae die, they are
broken down by bacteria. The bacteria use up oxygen in the water and
other organisms, such as fish, die.
11023 If sea temperatures rise as a result of global warming, the structure of the
coral is weakened. The reef organisms are more susceptible to bacterial
and viral diseases.
ITQ24 Deforestation needs to be controlled so that there are forest areas for
recreational purposes. Also, deforestation causes soil erosion, less oxygen
is produced if the trees are removed and there is less biodiversity.
IT025 Heavy machinery compacts soil, making it difficult to cultivate; this could
contribute to soil erosion if there is heavy rainfall.

Section A: The Business of Farming

11026 HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point.

ITQ27 A CCP is a Critical Control Point. It is a stage in a manufacturing process
at which a hazard can be removed, reduced or prevented.
11028 Refrigerated and dairy foods may be contaminated with bacteria. For food
safety the correct temperature must be maintained. This prevents growth
of bacteria.

Examination-style Multiple Choice Questions

1. Mountainous areas in the Caribbean are difficult to farm because:
A it is too windy
B the terrain is too steep to use tractors
C few people live there
D there is insufficient rainfall
2. The main greenhouse gases are:
A carbon dioxide and oxygen
B sulphur dioxide and methane
C carbon dioxide and methane
D methane and sulphur dioxide
3. Global warming may cause:
A a fall in sea level
B a rise in sea temperature
C fewer hurricanes
D a longer wet season
4. Species diversity is:
A the range of habitats
B the diversity of genes
C the diversity of organisms
D the populations of organisms in an ecosystem
5. Which of the following is NOT a cause of environmental degradation?
A forest fires
B overfishing
C land fragmentation
D atmospheric pollution

Short answer and essay-type questions

6. (a) Explain the meaning of land tenure.
(b) Describe how it can affect local and regional agriculture.
7. (a) Describe the importance of mechanisation in agriculture.
(b) Why is mechanisation limited in scope and usage in most Caribbean
8. (a) What is praedial larceny?
(b) How does it affect Caribbean farmers?
(c) Suggest THREE ways in which the problem can be solved.
9. (a) List FOUR environmental issues that affect the Caribbean region.
(b) Discuss how each of the issues you have listed affect fanning in the
10. (a) Define 'globalisation' as applied to farming.
(b) Show how progressive farmers in the Caribbean can benefit from
11.Discuss the problems which face farmers who cultivate crops on hilly or
mountainous terrain.
12. Consider the effects of global warming and how farming in the Caribbean
could be affected.

AlIEIld1111ES to C0111111110[1d1

idfirl q

By the end of 3 explain what is meant by 'non-conventional' farming systems

this chapter 3 describe organic farming and hydroponics
you should be 3 discuss urban and pen-urban farming
able to: ,/ explain the principles of organic farming
3 state how organic farms are certificated.

Concept map
Non-conventional farming systems

Organic arming Other systems

I mportance
Trough culture



- Grow box


Urban and peri-

urban farming

Weeds Nutrient film



Section A: The Business of Farming

3.1 Non-conventional farming systems

Modern farming methods
conventional farming By conventional farming methods we mean modem farming methods, which
are designed to produce large quantities of food to be sold for profit. Farming is
now a large-scale industry and relies on the use of machinery and chemicals. Few
people are required to operate the machinery, which prepares the land, sows the
seeds and harvests the crops. This trend in farming has occurred in response to
increasing populations and the demand for cheaper food.
monoculture Monoculture, where large areas of land are planted with the same crop year
after year, is a feature of modem farming. It often leads to greater farm profits as a
much greater quantity of a crop can be grown. However, monoculture also leads
to loss of natural ecosystems and habitats.
Explain what is meant by monoculture.
Modem farming relies on artificial fertilisers to improve soil fertility and increase
crop yields. Diseases are prevented by pesticides, weeds are destroyed by herbicides
and chemicals are fed to animals to promote growth.
However, there is now concern that modem agricultural practices damage the
Why are traditional methods of agriculture more
environment and soil structure, reduce biodiversity and introduce health hazards
sustainable than monoculture?
to both humans and animals.

Figure 3.1 An example of monoculture: growing tobacco.

Traditional farming methods

In contrast to modern fanning, traditional methods of agriculture cause less
damage to the environment. An example of traditional fanning is small-scale
mixed farming mixed farming, where there is recycling of waste materials. The waste from
animals is used as manure, so nutrients are returned to the soil via the carbon
and nitrogen cycles (see pages 103-106). By growing a wide range of crops and
using crop rotation, both soil structure and fertility can be maintained. Traditional
farming methods are more sustainable than modem methods.

3 Alternatives to conventional farming

Non-conventional farming systems

non-conventional farming Non-conventional farming systems have developed in response to concerns
systems about the effects of intensive systems on the environment and the quality of food
produced. Most non-conventional systems are labour-intensive (they employ more
people than conventional systems). Also, yields are lower than in conventional
systems. However, the food produced by non-conventional farming is likely to be
of better quality and so command a higher market price.

Organic farming
organic farming Organic farming is a form of non-conventional agriculture that excludes, or
strictly limits, the use of artificial fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides, plant growth
regulators and animal feed additives. Biological pest control is used instead to get
rid of pests. Compost, green manure and crop rotation are used to maintain soil
fertility. Techniques may vary from country to country, but the principles and
practices were set out in a document produced by the International Federation
of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM). In 2005, this organisation created
the Principles of Organic Agriculture as guidelines for the certification of organic

Principles of organic farming

The list below shows what organic farmers are aiming to achieve.
Practical activity:
Produce good food that has a high nutritional value.
Visit a local organic farm. Find Maintain and improve soil fertility.
out how the organic farm differs Use renewable resources wherever possible.
from a conventional farm in terms Protect wildlife habitats.
of crops and livestock, use of Avoid pollution from agricultural techniques.
fertilisers and pesticides, and feed Encourage a diversity of wildlife on the farm.
given to livestock. Raise livestock in conditions which allow them to carry out innate
(natural) behaviour.

Organic farmers need to develop a fertile soil on which they grow a mixture of
crops. They cannot use artificial fertilisers and use of pesticides is restricted. They
rear animals in a humane way, without routine use of the hormones and antibiotics
List the main principles of organic farming. that are common in intensive livestock production. They are not allowed to grow
genetically modified crops.

hydroponics Hydroponics (from the Greek words hydros [water] and ponos [labour]) is the
practice of growing plants in a nutrient solution without soil. This is another form
of non-conventional farming. Instead of soil, the plants may be rooted in peat,
sand or rock wool. Soil is not essential for the growth of terrestrial plants (plants
that grow on land), as roots can absorb all the mineral ions needed for growth
from a nutrient solution.
Hydroponics can supply fruit and vegetables in areas where the soil is lacking or
of poor quality. The commercial use of hydroponics was demonstrated on Wake
Island in the Pacific. In the 1930s, this rocky atoll was a refuelling stop for an
airline. As there was no soil, vegetables for the passengers were grown in nutrient
solutions. Space research programmes have also looked into growing plants on
other planets or during long flights.

The nutrient film technique

nutrient film technique (NFT) In the 1960s, the nutrient film technique (NFT) was developed. A circulating
system supplies plant roots with oxygen and nutrients. This technique is widely
used for growing tomatoes, cucumbers and salad vegetables in glasshouses.

Section A: The Business of Farming

The plants are grown in troughs, with roots embedded in rock wool or some
other inert material. They are supplied with a nutrient solution containing the
balance of minerals essential for healthy growth. The solution is pumped into the
troughs, circulates around the roots, collects in a tank and is then re-circulated.

Figure 3.2 The nutrient film technique.

What do the initials NFT stand for?
Concentration of the nutrient solution can be varied at different stages of growth
as required. The solution is aerated so that roots obtain oxygen. As plants grout,
they are supported by wires suspended from the roof of the glasshouse.

The advantages of the nutrient film technique are:
Name THREE crops that can be grown using high yields as plants get all the nutrients they require
hydroponics. soil-borne diseases are eliminated
= produce is clean and not covered in soil
harvesting the produce is easier and more efficient.
Practical activity:
If possible, visit a farm where The nutrient film technique is usually carried out in glasshouses, where
temperature and light can be controlled. Costs of installing and running this are
hydroponics is used to grow a
high, but producing fruit and vegetables in large quantities and of good quality out
of season can make this technique profitable.

Grow boxes
grow box A grow box is an enclosed box used to grow plants in a self-contained environment.
The box has a hydroponics system, a built-in light and a means of ventilation.
Some have air-conditioning to maintain the correct temperature and to enrich the
atmosphere with carbon dioxide to boost growth (carbon dioxide makes plants
Practical activity: grow faster).
Grow boxes are used by people who have no garden and for growing plants out
Explain how you would grow a
of season. They are easy to use and allow the gardener to control the environment
salad crop using a grow box or
of the plant to achieve the best growth. They are also used for growing plants in
a trough. Include as much detail
controlled conditions in laboratories.
about the conditions needed as Simplified grow boxes, suitable for patios and decking, have been devised. These
possible. incorporate a watering system and deliver measured quantities of fertiliser, but they
are designed for use outdoors and do not include a lighting system or temperature
In the Caribbean, grow boxes of varying sizes are constructed using local and
discarded materials such as bamboo, wood, galvanised sheets and bricks. The
Describe the advantages of grow boxes and growing medium may be a mixture of topsoil and pen manure, sharp sand and
trough culture, rotted bagasse (or plastering sand and rotted sawdust).

3 Alternatives to conventional farming

Trough culture
trough culture Trough culture involves growing crops in shallow troughs, 15-20 cm deep and
60-70 cm wide. Troughs can be filled with an inert, soil-less medium, such as rock
wool, and are connected to a drip system which supplies water and nutrients in
solution. Once the troughs have been set up, they are easy and inexpensive to
maintain. They can be used for vegetables and flowers; the gardener can put them
in greenhouses or anywhere convenient.
Both grow boxes and trough culture enable plants to be grown where space is
limited or soil is poor. Modifications can be made to suit circumstances, e.g. the
number of units and their arrangement; the use of different types of inert material;
whether temperature and lighting need to be controlled. Commercial systems
have many units, but both methods can be used on a smaller scale.

Urban and peri-urban farming

Figure 3.3 Trough culture.
Urban and peri-urban farming is the cultivation of small areas of land, usually less
market gardens than 2 hectares, in or near cities, towns and villages. The small farms, or market
gardens as they are sometimes called, produce fresh vegetables, fruit and meat for
urban consumers. These benefit the community by increasing the quantity and
quality of the food available. They contribute to food safety and food security.
Market gardens are intensively cultivated and most crops grown are short-
term, growing and ripening within 3 months. Crops include tomatoes, lettuces,
cucumbers, cabbages, pak-choi, celery, sweet peppers and spinach. Sometimes
four short-term crops are grown in a year, so fertilisers are used to maintain soil
fertility. If the small farm is mixed, with some animals being kept, then farmyard
manure is used together with artificial fertilisers. This type of farming includes the
use of pots, troughs, grow boxes, discarded tyres, hydroponics and sheds covered
with polythene.
Produce is harvested by the farmer, often with the help of his family, who also get
it ready for market. Vegetables are cleaned, graded and made to look presentable
to the consumer. If the farm is very small, the farmer will sell from a roadside stall.
If the farm is bigger, the farmer will sell to a wholesaler, who buys the whole crop
and transports it to a market where it is sold to retailers. Each time produce is sold,
Explain why it is more profitable for a small e.g. from farmer to wholesaler and from wholesaler to retailer, the price increases.
farmer to sell his produce directly to the Urban farms are important to the economy of the Caribbean region. Several
consumer (rather than selling it to a wholesaler). Caribbean governments have set up marketing boards to purchase crops from
urban farmers and retail them to the public.
The benefits of urban farms include:
a reduction in transport costs as food is grown locally
fewer pesticides, which make food production more sustainable
no food preservatives as food does not have to travel long distances
employment for local people.

3.2 The principles of organic farming

In organic farming, the use of herbicides and pesticides is limited resulting in an
increase in biodiversity. Organic farming benefits the environment in many ways.
Weed species growing in an organic crop attract insects which feed on plant pests.
In turn, these insects will provide food for birds and mammals. The use of farmyard
manure to add organic matter to the soil encourages soil micro-organisms, which
contribute to soil fertility by breaking down plant and animal remains. Overall,
there are 30% more species found on organic farms than on conventional farms.
Organically grown produce is usually higher priced than other produce but
health concious people will often pay these prices.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Soil management on organic farms

soil management An organic farmer uses soil management to ensure a supply of the essential
nutrients (nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus). Instead of relying on artificial
fertilisers, the farmer can use some of the methods summarised in Table 3.1.

Method Description Benefits to soil

Crop rotation a sequence of different crops is grown life cycles of pests and pathogens are broken
from year to year (cereals, root crops, (different types of crops attract different types of pests
legumes) and pathogens)
the sequence is planned so that crops inclusion of a legume increases soil nitrogen
are grown on different plots each year different crops need different methods of cultivation
(see Figure 3.4) so this improves soil texture
Green manuring the ploughing in of a cover crop, such adds organic matter to the soil
as a legume improves soil fertility by increasing soil nitrogen
the ploughing in of a crop residue, provides cover to prevent run-off during the wet
such as stubble season
the crop is left on the surface of the
soil and the next crop is then planted
through it by direct drilling
Intereropping two or more crops are grown at the a second crop can reduce competition from weeds
same time on the same land (see if a legume is included then nitrogen fixation is
Figure 3.5) encouraged
crops may mature and be harvested at the cover of vegetation reduces run-off in the wet
different times season
saves on space if more than one crop is grown on the
same piece of land
Organic manure and can be spread on the soil, ploughed in introduces organic matter which binds soil particles
composts such as or used as a mulch together
crop residues (sugar animal manure must be composted helps aeration and drainage in clay soils
cane waste, spent before use on the soil to kill pathogenic helps retain water in sandy soils
mushroom compost) organisms releases nutrients slowly over a long time (artificial
fertilisers release nutrients quickly)
provides food for soil animals such as earthworms

Table 3.1 Methods of managing soil fertility on organic farms.

Why is crop rotation good for soil fertility?

How does intercropping benefit the small farmer?

Area I Area 2 Area 3 Area 4

Leaves Fruits Roots Legumes

Legumes Leaves Fruits Roots

Roots Legumes Leaves Fruits


Fruits Roots Legumes Leaves

Figure 3.4 A four-year crop rotation. Figure 3.5 Intereropping: ackees and pasture.

3 Alternatives to conventional farming

Weed control on organic farms

weed control Weed control on organic farms poses problems as herbicides are not encouraged.
Methods include hand-weeding, hoeing, mulching with compost and the use of
plastic films spread across the ground. In rice-growing areas, ducks and fish have
List FOUR ways of controlling weeds without been introduced to paddy fields to eat weeds and insects.
using a weedkiller (herbicide).
Pest control on organic farms
The control of insects and other pests is difficult to achieve without chemicals.
Pests cause serious losses and few organic farmers manage to eliminate the use
of chemical pesticides entirely. Organic insecticides include Bt (a bacterial toxin
produced by Bacillus thuringiensis), Pyrethrum and Rotenone. Although these
are permitted, they are often combined with biological pest control and cultural
integrated pest management methods in a technique called integrated pest management (IPM). IPM involves
( IP M) pest control using an array of complementary approaches including natural
predators, pesticides, and other biological and environmental control practices. In
this way, the use of chemicals is reduced and damage to the environment and
harmful residues in food are minimised.
biological pest control Biological pest control involves the introduction of another species to control the
pest. The introduced species will reduce the population of the pest, but will not get
rid of it completely.
The introduced species may be:
a natural predator of the pest organism, such as a mite
a parasitoid, such as a wasp that lays its eggs in another insect
a parasite, such as a nematode worm that lives in slugs
a pathogenic (disease-causing) organism, such as a bacterium.

Before any biological control method is used, it has to be tested to make sure
that no unwanted diseases are introduced, that it only affects the pest organism,
and that the control organism can be bred in sufficient numbers to be effective.
Biological control is most successful in glasshouse crops, such as tomatoes and
cucumbers. The control organisms are introduced into the glasshouse (an enclosed
area), and numbers of pest and predator can be carefully monitored.
If the life cycle of an insect pest is interrupted, its numbers will fall. Insects mate
once and the female stores the sperm. If the sperm are infertile, fewer offspring will
be produced. It is possible to sterilise male insects using ionising radiation (X-rays)
and then allow them to mate with normal females. The sperm will be defective
and the eggs laid by the females do not develop. This method has been effective in
the control of screw-worms which harmed the cattle industry in the USA.
Alternative control methods involve the use of chemicals and hormones to lure
insects to positions where they can be killed by other methods. Hormones from
female insects attract the males. If traps are baited with these hormones, the males
can be caught and destroyed. If there are no males for the females to mate with,
What are the drawbacks of biological pest no eggs will be laid and the pests will be reduced.

Practical activities:
1. List insects useful to farmers and crop growers. Collect pictures of these insects
and, for each one, write a short comment on its life cycle and the way in which it
benefits agriculture.
2. Choose a suitable piece of ground or a container, such as a trough or a large pot,
and fill it with soil or compost. Plant herb seedlings and grow them without using
any chemical fertilisers or pesticides. Make notes about what happens.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Certification of organic farms

Farmers who sell their produce as 'organic' must obtain certification.
There are some basic steps to the certification procedure:
the farmer finds a suitable agency that will carry out the procedure
the farmer makes an application (it is usually necessary to pay a fee at this stage)
the farm has to be inspected by the agency
the farmer will be notified whether or not the application is successful.

The application form requires details of:

soil fertility planning
seeds and seed planting
weed and pest management practices
storage and handling of produce
details of the crops grown and the fields used (a map of the farm has to be
plans for monitoring how the farm will be managed to avoid contamination
with non-organic products.

When the farm is inspected, the fields, implements and buildings are reviewed.
The farmer provides the inspector with records of crops planted, sources of seeds
used, details of harvesting and storage, how the produce is transported to market,
and the sales records. Before a certificate can be granted, land has to be free
from prohibited pesticides and fertilisers for 3 years. If livestock are involved, the
conditions in which they are kept, their feed and medication have to be inspected.
The inspectors have to be convinced that the producer uses techniques that
conserve and build soil resources, produce little pollution and support natural pest
management. In addition, the inspectors make sure that there is no contamination
from pesticides and fertilisers used on neighbouring farms.
Becoming 'organic' can be expensive and time-consuming for a small farmer.
There is usually a fee to be paid for inspection and certification, and much record-
keeping and paper-work. However, the principles of organic farming encourage
List FOUR things that an inspector would check the maintenance of ecological balance and biodiversity. Many consumers are
on a visit to certify an organic farm, prepared to pay more for organically produced food.

Conventional farming is designed to produce large quantities of food cheaply.
It is' mechanised to minimise labour costs.
Artificial fertilisers and pesticides maintain soil fertility and control pests.
Large areas of land are cultivated and sown with one crop (monoculture).
The environment is affected, reducing biodiversity.
Organic farming limits the use of artificial fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides.
The environment is protected and there is an increase in biodiversity.
Soil fertility is maintained by using compost, green manuring and rotation of
Pest control is achieved by means of biological controls.
Hydroponics is a system of growing crops without soil.
The crops are provided with the nutrients they need in solution.
Crops grown in this way are easy to grow, harvest and clean.
Grow boxes and trough culture can be used where space is limited.
Urban and peni-urban farming make use of land in and around towns and
Crops can be marketed in towns and cities and form an important resource.

3 Alternatives to conventional farming

The principles of organic farming are to maintain ecological balance and

biodiversity, manage soil fertility and control pests and weeds without the use
of harmful chemicals.
To qualify for organic status, a farm must be inspected and certified.

Answers to ITQs ITCH Monoculture involves the cultivation of large areas of land which are
then planted with one crop. It gets rid of small fields and means that
machinery can be used for cultivation, saving on the cost of labour.
11112 Traditional methods of agriculture, such as small-scale mixed farming,
mean that animal waste can be recycled and used on the fields. Nutrients
are returned to the soil by means of the carbon and nitrogen cycles. Soil
structure and soil fertility are maintained.
ITQ3 To produce good food with a high nutritional value; to maintain and
improve soil fertility; to use renewable resources; to protect plant and
wildlife habitats; to avoid pollution; to raise livestock in a humane way.
ITQ4 NFT stands for nutrient film technique.
11115 Tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers.
IT06 Grow boxes and trough culture enable crops to be grown where space is
limited. Grow boxes fitted with lights can be used to grow plants indoors
or in laboratories. They are useful if the soil is of poor quality. Crops can
also be grown out of season.
ITQ7 The small farmer would not get as much for his crops if he sold them
to a wholesaler. He would have to pay for their transport and then the
wholesaler would need to make a profit as well. The small farmer will
make more money by selling the crops from a roadside stall run by a
member of his family.
ITQ8 Crop rotation improves soil texture, it breaks the life cycles of pests and
diseases and it increases the nitrogen content of the soil if a legume is
11119 Two or more crops can be grown at the same time, which saves space;
crops can be harvested at different times; it increases the ground cover
and prevents run-off; reduces competition from weeds.
111110 Hand-weeding; hoeing; mulching with compost; the use of plastic films.
IT1111 Not all pests will have a natural predator; the predator has to be bred and
released in sufficient numbers to be effective; the method must be tested
thoroughly to make sure there are no diseases introduced; it is difficult to
control unless it is introduced into an enclosed area.
ITC112 Sources of seeds; details of how crop is stored; use of compost; how crop
is harvested; how crops are transported; care of animals; records of how
animals are fed and treated.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Examination-style Multiple Choice Questions

1. Which of the following is NOT a principle of organic farming?
A use of compost
B biological pest control
C monoculture
D protection of wildlife habitats
2. Crop rotation means:
A growing the same crop year after year
B growing crops in a different sequence each year
C planting two crops together at the same time
D sowing a cover crop after the main crop has been harvested
3. A species of mite is used in biological pest control because:
A it lays its eggs in a pest insect
B it causes a disease in the pest
C it is a parasite of the pest
D it feeds on the pest
4. In one form of pest control, male insects are sterilised to:
A make their sperm infertile
B make them unattractive to the females
C attract the females to them
D kill their sperm

Short answer and essay-type questions

5. (a) Explain why conventional farming has developed into a large-scale
(b) Describe how non-conventional farming methods differ from
conventional ones.
6. (a) What are the benefits of growing crops using the nutrient film
(b) Why do temperature and light need to be controlled in such
7. (a) What is a pen-urban farm?
(b) Why is it beneficial to the community?
8. Describe the ways in which soil management can maintain soil fertility
on an organic farm.
9. Describe the procedure by which a farm can become certified as an
organic farm.

uuw .................

EC011011iC factors of


By the end of explain the economic functions of production, consumption and marketing
this chapter list the factors that affect production
you should be
describe how the factors of production are related to agriculture
able to: 3 state what is meant by the law of diminishing returns
3 show how demand and supply is related to pricing.

Concept map Factors of production

Agricultu al production Consumption

Supply and
suitability demand

family labour
Labour Pricing


Law of diminishing
commercial banks returns

agricultural banks
total product

Capital average product

credit unions

marginal product
fixed capital
marginal cost
working capital


Ceni-- A. TL_

Section A: The Business of Farming

4.1 The economic functions of production,

consumption and marketing
Farming is a business and a farm can be
defined as an economic unit engaged in marketing
the production and sale of agricultural (driver)

produce for maximum profit. A farm may

produce crops or livestock. Sometimes
farms produce both crops and livestock
the economy:
mixed farm (a mixed farm). vehicle of change and
Farms often consist of different sections, development
each focused on the production of one
type of crop or livestock. Each section consumption production
(fuel) (engine)
agricultural enterprise of a farm is known as an agricultural
enterprise. The farmer manages each
enterprise by deciding how much to
produce and how to allocate resources to
obtain high yields and maximum profit. Figure 4.1 Economic functions.
To do this, knowledge of the production
process is necessary. The farmer also must understand the likely demand for the
commodity and the way in which it is marketed.
In any country, the economy is the vehicle of change and development. There
are three major parts of this vehicle: production, consumption and marketing.
i Each part carries out specific functions.
Name the THREE major economic functions in any Production plays the role of the engine of the economy, marketing has the role
country. of the driver, and consumption provides the fuel (see Figure 4.1).

production Production is a planned economic activity incorporating several inputs; it focuses
on the manufacture of goods and the provision of a number of services. The aim of
production is to satisfy people's wants (see Figure 4.2). As the volume of production
increases, wealth is created and this promotes economic welfare of the population.
Their standard of living is improved as more of their wants are satisfied.

a process
an economic activity
Consists of:
primary production
secondary production


capital goods, e.g. farm tractor commercial, e.g. agri-chemicals
consumable goods, e.g. foodstuffs technical, e.g. extension officer
luxury goods, e.g. big screen TV professional, e.g. veterinarian


to satisfy people's wants

to promote the economic welfare of people
to improve people's standard of living
to create individual and national wealth

Figure 4.2 The concept of production.

4 Economic factors of production

Types of production
primary production There are two types of production: primary and secondary. Primary production
refers to goods or raw materials which are produced initially, for example pineapple
primary products or sugar cane. Some of these goods may be consumed as primary products.
secondary production Alternatively, primary products may undergo secondary production, which
secondary products involves processing the raw products into secondary products. For example,
pineapple may be processed into jam and juice, or sugar cane can be processed to
make sugar, molasses, bagasse and rum.

capital goods Different kinds of goods are derived from production. Capital goods are items such
as a farm tractor and a dairy herd these are used in several production cycles.
There is always a quantity of goods existing on a farm and this is called the capital.
luxury goods Luxury goods, such as a swimming pool and a big screen television set, provide
consumable goods enjoyment and act as status symbols. Consumable goods, such as foodstuffs, are
goods which are essential for human nutrition.

Services can be grouped into:
What are the objectives of production? commercial services, such as those provided by agri-supply stores and livestock
technical services, such as those provided by extension officers and agri-
Giving appropriate examples, explain the teachers
difference between primary production and professional services, such as those provided by agricultural consultants and
secondary production. veterinarians.

consumption Consumption is an economic, consumer-centred activity. It involves the purchase
consumers and use of goods and services by clients and customers (known as consumers).
Consumption normally comes after production and marketing, and is the fuel
which keeps the economic engine of production running (see Figure 4.3).

income level of consumers

satisfaction of consumer needs
product substitutes (are there
an economic consumer-centred
activity and process
other products that could be
used instead?)
customers an activity that fuels the engine of
clients production

end users of the purchase and utilisation of
the product goods and services
religious reasons the end product of production
health concerns and marketing
aesthetic features
(what the product looks like)

Figure 4.3 The concept of consumption.

Consumption patterns vary. Some factors which contribute to decision-making by

consumers are:
Income level
Consumers want to obtain goods and services at the lowest cost. They
purchase and use those goods and services which they can afford. People on
low incomes are limited in terms of the quantity and the form of product
which they can purchase.
Satisfaction of needs
Consumers choose goods and services which satisfy their tastes and
convenience. With respect to food, consumers buy products which are easy to
prepare and use, and which meet their survival, nutritional and health needs.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Religious reasons
Some consumers do not buy ce rt ain foods, such as pork and beef, due to
religious beliefs. Others buy only 'halal' meat from reputable meat shops.
' Halal' involves the reciting of a special prayer by Muslims as the animal is
being slaughtered.
Health concerns
More consumers are becoming health-conscious and avoid buying foods
which contain high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fats.
Aesthetic features
Explain the meaning of consumption.
Product features (design, presentation, colour, taste and general appearance)
appeal to consumers, increasing consumption of those products.
^ Product substitutes
State FOUR factors which contribute to Knowledge of product substitutes and their availability might enable some
consumption decision-making by consumers, consumers to make compromises and choose alternative goods and services.

marketing Marketing is the link between production and consumption. It incorporates several
business activities in a co-ordinated way to promote the flow of goods and se rv ices
from the point of production until they finally reach the consumer. The process is
streamlined to get the ri ght product to a particular consumer at the ri ght place and
time. This is achieved by the co-operative effort of each business operator in the
marketing channel.
middlemen Middlemen operate between the producers and consumers. They are agents,
brokers, wholesalers (merchants), processors and retailers (vendors).
The merchant wholesalers purchase and collect products together at a focal point
for dist ri bution to processors and retailers. Often this is accomplished through the
services of commission agents and brokers, who are also acting as salespersons.
Huge sums of money are spent in advertising and product promotion to persuade
consumers to purchase and use new products.
Marketing functions (see Table 4.1) vary in complexity, depending on the nature
of the products, quantity produced and the characte ri stics of the market.

Main function Includes Activities involved

Merchandising buying The focus is on trading, product
pricing promotion, transfer of title and the
selling ownership of goods.
Handling transportation Attention is paid to the physical
grading activities which enable processing
assembling and easy distribution to retailers and
storage consumers.
Processing manufacturing These activities change the form of
packaging the product, add value and increase
r, labelling the shelf-life. In addition, they seek
Name the FOUR main groups of marketing to satisfy consumers' tastes and
functions and explain why each is involved in the preferences.
marketing process. Supporting standardisation These activities are regarded as
financing 'facilitating functions', which means
risk-bearing that they enable all the other functions
(insurance) to be carried out smoothly.
market intelligence
Explain the role of middlemen in the marketing
process. Table 4.1 Marketing functions.

4.2 The factors of production

Capital is needed to finance any manufacturing process, labour to carry out the
tasks, and some management structure is necessary to co-ordinate the activities.

4 Economic factors of production

The essential resource is the one from which the product is derived. In the case
of agricultural production, land is an essential resource (see Figure 4.4).
Agricultural production varies with the amount, quality and effective use of
these essential resources: land, labour, capital and management. These resources
factors of production are known as the factors of production.

4.3 The factors of production related to

The Caribbean region is dominated by small island states with little flat or
manageme nt undulating land and there are numerous smallholdings on hilly terrain. Only
Guyana and Belize have large expanses of flat land suitable for large-scale
Figure 4.4 The factors of production. agricultural development. Unfortunately, those areas are currently under-used.
Despite land reclamation initiatives in some Caribbean countries, land as a factor
of production is a limited resource which cannot be created.
Farmers may work on land which is rented or leased. Many do not own land
sharecropping and enter into sharecropping arrangements with their landlords. Sharecropping is
a system of agriculture or agricultural production in which a landowner allows a
tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crop produced on the land. Often
sharecropping farmers may farm two or more scattered holdings. Land tenure
systems were described in Chapter 2.
The suitability of the land for agricultural production depends on both climate and
topography. The climate, with its seasonal variations in rainfall and temperature,
affects the types of crops that can be grown; whereas the topography affects the
ease of cultivation and equipment that can be used (see Chapter 2).

Loss of agricultural land

Land often appreciates (rises) in value over time and can make large profits for
residential developers who sell the land for housing. Governments also acquire
List FOUR characteristic features of land as an land in prime agricultural areas for housing schemes.
agricultural resource in the Caribbean.
Over-cultivation and a loss of soil fertility also mean that less agricultural land
is available. If agricultural productivity is to be maintained or increased, land
needs to be managed and used effectively. Therefore farmers should adopt suitable
Describe TWO major causes of the loss of prime soil management techniques, cultural practices and take advantage of improved
agricultural land both locally and regionally. technology. In this way, soil fertility and agricultural land can be maintained.

labour Labour is the total sum of money (the cost) and the total number of man-hours
required for the production of commodities.
In the Caribbean, labour has been a challenging factor of production in
commercial farming, both locally and regionally. Slavery and indentureship,
instituted by the former plantocracy, have resulted in a negative attitude towards
agriculture labour. III-treatment of the slaves resulted in their descendants pursuing
other careers rather than working on the land.
family labour Farmers with smallholdings largely rely on self-labour and family labour (the
work is done by the family). The cost of such labour is not considered as a part of
the general cost of production, as no money is actually paid out for the work done.

Casual labour
Farmers who operate medium-scale and large-scale farms use hired labour on
casual labour a permanent basis and casual labour (temporary paid labour) for specific farm
Casual labour may be:
seasonal labour at peak periods for planting, harvesting, fertiliser applications
or pest and disease control
Section A: The Business of Farming

task labour for specified hours of work and operations such as procuring
forage and milking cows
contract labour for infrastructural works, such as the construction of livestock
pens and land preparation.

In Trinidad and Tobago, the minimum wage policy of the government has
increased the income of farm workers, but has not resulted in attracting workers
into the private agricultural sector. People would rather work for the government
r i unemployment relief programmes where hours of work and tasks are less
demanding. The wages and conditions are also better.
From an economic standpoint, how is labour
normally measured? The intervention of local and regional governments, as well as the International
Labour Organisation (ILO), is required to:
develop a system of wages based on specialised agricultural skills which would
attract workers to the agricultural sector
What effect does self-labour and family labour 1 institute measures to foster better labour relations
have on the farm profits of small farmers? promote the welfare of farm workers and their families, especially in the
private agricultural sector.

capital Capital refers to all buildings, machinery, equipment, tools, materials, tree crops
and livestock which are used to produce agricultural goods and services on a
continuing basis.
Each resource has a productive lifespan and a monetary value that decreases
depreciation with time due to depreciation. Depreciation is a decrease in value due to age or
wear. Farmers need to ensure that regular maintenance is carried out to keep each
resource in a serviceable condition. Collectively, capital resources and land are
assets referred to as assets and are expressed in monetary terms as wealth.

If a farmer needs to finance an agricultural enterprise and has no money from
family resources, he may seek a low interest loan. The farmer may have to offer
capital resources, or assets, as collateral to the lending institution. In this way,
capital enables the farmer to become self-reliant.
It is easier for farmers with large farms to borrow money than it is for farmers
with small farms. The larger the farm, the greater the assets; this means that profits
will be greater and the farmer can repay the loan more quickly.
Loans can be obtained from:
commercial banks
agricultural banks
credit unions.

commercial banks Some commercial banks have agricultural advisers who understand the problems
of farming and can give advice. Usually, these banks only make loans to big farms.
Commercial banks do not like lending to small farmers, particularly as their profits
can be badly affected by a bad harvest, hurricanes and other disasters. The small
farmer is not a good risk and may not be able to repay the loan promptly.
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is committed to financing projects in
the region and has departments that loan money to farmers. It prefers long-term
loans and is prepared to allow a longer repayment time.
co-operatives In the case of co-operatives (see page 72), several farmers working together can
apply for a loan. A bank is likely to look more favourably at such applications.
credit union A credit union is a co-operative financial institution that is owned and controlled
by its members. It is different from a conventional bank in that members who have
accounts in the credit union collectively own the credit union. It offers facilities for.
savings accounts, as well as for borrowing money at reasonable rates of interest.

4 - Economic factors of production

The Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions is an organisation that fosters

co-operation and mutual self-help. Funds help a variety of projects including rural
development. There is provision for funding small businesses and small farmers.
Jamaica, for example, has 56 credit unions with assets of millions of dollars.

Fixed and working capital

fixed capital Fixed capital is the amount of capital permanently invested in a business. It refers
to assets that are not used up in the production of a product. It is the capital that is
invested in land, buildings, vehicles and equipment.
working capital Working capital refers to the assets of a business that are used to convert raw
materials into a product. For a farmer, the working capital consists of labour costs,
cost of seed or stock, means of getting the product to market, and the cash received
Describe FOUR different forms of capital for goods. The farmer keeps accounts of expenditure on labour, seeds and hire of
resources which are essential to a farmer. equipment and the receipts for the produce that is sold. He can then see whether
or not there is a profit, which can be invested to improve the enterprise.

What is meant by depreciation? Management

Management focuses on the effective use of resources by the farmer. These
resources include land, labour, materials, finances and time. The farmer needs to
achieve maximum production at minimum cost. If used wisely, management can
sustain agricultural output and quality.
On small-sized and medium-sized holdings, most farmers act as their own farm
managers. They carry out the functions of planning, organising and directing the
workers and supervising farm operations. On large farms, farm managers are
employed to carry out these tasks. A farm manager may be responsible for running a
single enterprise or have overall responsibility for day-to-day operations on the farm.
What is the objective or focus of farm Management involves situational analysis, decision-making and the acceptance
of full responsibility for the outcomes, whether they are positive or negative. It
requires people who have gained technical knowledge of the scientific principles of
agriculture, and who can combine practical farming skills with business experience.
111115 A good farm manager has a grasp of the factors of production and uses resources
List FIVE managerial functions on a farm. effectively to make a profit.

4.4 The 'law of diminishing returns'

The 'law of diminishing returns' states that if inputs are fixed and increasing
amounts of just one variable input are added, then the marginal output per unit
of the variable input will increase up to a certain point and then decline. Another
marginal return name for marginal output is marginal return.
To understand how this law works, we need to understand the terms used.

input Input is something that is 'put into' a production system for a particular purpose
and which contributes to the end result. Inputs include energy, information, data
programmes and supplies.
In a farming enterprise, inputs consist of:
farm buildings
planting materials
fertilisers and pesticides.

In agricultural production, inputs such as land, machinery, equipment and farm

fixed inputs buildings do not change and are referred to as fixed inputs. The quantities of other

Section A: The Business of Farming

inputs, such as labour, fuel, stock and maintenance of equipment may change;
variable inputs these are referred to as variable inputs.

Costs Inputs : Broiler Production

costs Costs are the expenses involved in any Fixed Variable
r , transaction. Farmers have to buy farm Land Broiler chicks
inputs and convert them into products. Buildings Feed
Explain the meaning of inputs' in relation to
farming. Costs that do not change, such as land Equipment Medication
rental, machinery and buildings, are Pick-up Labour
fixed costs, variable costs referred to as fixed costs. Variable costs truck Fuel
are those costs which change with the Maintenance:
level of production. These include the
machinery and
r cost of fuel, feed, fertilisers and pesticides. equipment
Group the following inputs into fixed inputs and Obviously, if a farmer decides to increase
variable inputs: land, fertilisers, pesticides, seeds, the number of broiler chicks, then more Table 4.2 Fixed and variable costs in
tractor, fuel, buildings, labour and equipment. feed will be needed (see Table 4.2). broiler production.

output The output is the quantity of product resulting from a production process. It can
yield also be called the yield or the return. The output may be expressed in metric tonnes
(sugar cane), kilograms (sweet potatoes) or simply numbers of products such as
lettuce or eggs. In economics, output is always measured in units. One unit could
be 100 kg of sweet potatoes or 1000 table eggs.
The production of further units of output would require a greater amount of
inputs, which would increase the total cost to the farmer. Since most farmers
operate with limited resources, they are limited in the maximum number of units
of output they can produce. For example, a farmer would need to cultivate extra
r : land, employ more labour and spend more on fertilisers if extra units of sweet
Explain the meaning of output. potatoes were to be produced.
The costs associated with output are:
fixed costs (FC)
variable costs (VC)
Using Table 4.3, show how the total cost, the total cost (TC)
average cost and the marginal cost for 4 units of average cost (AC)
output have been calculated. marginal cost (MC).

Units of Fixed Cost Variable Total Cost Average Marginal

Output (FC) Cost (VC) (TC) Cost (AC) Cost ( MC)
$ $ $ $ $
1 30 70 100 1 00 100
2 30 160 190 95 90
3 30 240 270 90 80
4 30 310 340 85 70
5 30 370 400 80 60
6 30 426 456 76 56
7 30 474 504 72 48
8 30 514 544 68 40
9 30 537 567 63 23
10 30 57 0 600 60 33

Table 4.3 Output:cost relationships.

As can be seen in Table 4.3, at any level of output:

total cost total cost (TC) is fixed cost (FC) plus variable cost (VC)
average cost average cost (AC) is total cost (TC) divided by the number of units of output
marginal cost marginal cost (MC) is the increase in total cost (TC) which is derived from the
last unit of commodity that is produced.
4 Economic factors of production

Farmers put their inputs into agricultural enterprises with the aim of making a
returns profit. The yields of the crop or the profits made are called the returns. If a particular
input is increased, unit by unit, there is an incremental increase in output up to a
point. After this point, any further increase in input does not increase the rate of
output. The rate of increase of output declines with each additional unit of input
(see page 47 for the 'law of diminishing returns').
For example, in producing one ha of sweet potatoes, a farmer may gradually
increase the units of fertiliser (input) and find that his yield (output) has also
increased progressively up to a maximum point. After this point, continued
increase in the units of fertiliser results in a steady decline in output. These features
increasing returns, diminishing are referred to as increasing returns when the output increases; and diminishing
returns returns as the output declines. Table 4.4 demonstrates this principle. Figure 4.5
shows the data in Table 4.4 plotted on a graph.
Unit of Output of Increase in
0 input sweet potatoes output in kg
0 (Fertiliser) in kg
200 1 I wo
0 2 1250 250
0 100
3 1650 300
4 2000 350
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
5 2275 275
Units of input (fertiliser)
6 2425 150
Figure 4.5 A graph showing how
2525 100
an increase in output varies with an
increase in input. Table 4.4 The effect of increasing input on output.

Increasing returns mean that each additional unit of input increases total outputs
successively. The successive increase in total output for each additional unit of
marginal output, marginal return, input is called marginal output, marginal return, marginal product or marginal
marginal product, marginal yield yield (these all mean the same).
Decreasing returns mean that each additional unit of input increases total output
at a declining rate. This declining rate of increase in total output, resulting from
Explain the meaning of marginal return and each successive unit of input, is called a diminishing return.
diminishing return. The 'law of diminishing returns' is also known as the 'law of diminishing
marginal returns' and also as the 'law of marginal proportions'.

I. .
Fixed input Variable input Total output Marginal output Average output Remarks
Land (1 ha) Fertiliser Corn (100 kg/unit) Corn (100 kg/unit) Corn (100 kg/unit)
(10 kg/unit)
1 1 3.0
1 2 7 4 3.5
1 3 13 6 4.3
1 4 20 7 5.0 Max MP
1 5 25 5 5.0 MP = AP
1 6 28 3 4.7
1 7 30 2 4.3
1 8 31 1 3.9 Max TP
1 9 31 0 3.4 MP = zero
1 10 30 -1 3.0 Negative MP
1 11 27 -3 2.5
1 12 22 -5 1.8

Table 4.5 The effect of fertiliser input on a corn crop. TP = tota product, MP = marginal product and AP = average product.

Section A: The Business of Farming

In Table 4.5, the fixed input is the land, the va ri able input is the quantity of fe rt iliser,
and the output or product is corn. Total output is total yield or total product.
Average output (average yield or average product) is calculated by dividing total
State the law of diminishing returns.
output by the number of units of fe rt iliser applied at any level of production.
Marginal output (marginal yield or marginal product) is the increase in total
output which results from increasing the variable input by one unit. For example,
In the example in Table 4.5, how many units of if 6 units of fe rt iliser are applied, total output is 2800 kg of corn, average output is
fertiliser should the farmer apply in order to gain
470 kg of corn and the marginal output is 300 kg of corn. I
the maximum marginal output from his corn
crop? The total product curve
Figure 4.6 shows the relationship between the variable input and the total output.
total product curve This is called the total product cu rv e. It rises sharply and then levels off before
declining. The output increases first at an increasing rate, then at a decreasing rate
to a maximum level and then declines. The maximum rate is reached at D, where
the marginal product cu rv e reaches 0. The declining rate of increase starts at A
where the marginal product is at its maximum.

Average product curve

average product curve The average product cu rv e is obtained from the total product divided by the number ,
of units of variable input, so the shape of the curve depends on the shape of the
total product cu rv e. The maximum is reached at C where the average product is
equal to the marginal product.

Marginal product curve

marginal product curve The marginal product curve increases very sharply in the beginning, reaches a
maximum and then declines. When the average product is at a maximum (C),
then the marginal product is equal to the average product. The marginal product
arc ___ becomes 0 (E) when the total product cu rv e is at the maximum (D).
Describe the shape of the marginal product curve.
stage 1 stage 2 ; stage 3
^ I
I ^

total product curve

0 I I


a I I

0 B I

O ^ C

average product cu rv e
INPUT: fertiliser (kg) marginal product curve

Figure 4.6 Diminishing returns: total, marginal and average product.

The three stages
Look at Figure 4.6. In Stage 1, the total product is increasing sharply and the
point is reached where average product equals marginal product. In Stage 2, both
average product and marginal product are declining although total product is
still increasing, but at a decreasing rate. Stage 3 represents the inefficient stage of
production as total product and average product decrease and marginal product
shows negative values. It is costly to increase the variable input beyond the point
where the total product is at its maximum.

Relevance and application

The 'law of diminishing returns' is of relevance to farmers and ho rt iculturalists.
Producers need to remember that there is increasing growth and development in
crops and animals up to a maximum point, beyond which diminishing returns
set in. In producing broilers, for example, diminishing returns become evident

4 Economic factors of production

after 8 weeks when they have reached an average weight of 2 kg. From this time
onwards, the birds consume an enormous quantity of feed but the rate of increase
in their body weight declines. Therefore feed is wasted if they are kept until they
reach 3.5 kg.
In the case of crops, there may be wastage of fertilisers, organic manure, pesticides
and labour if variable inputs do not result in the maximum marginal product. Such
Explain why Stage 3 is described as the resources could be used more profitably to produce other short-term crops or to
inefficient stage of production. raise a new batch of early maturing animals.

4.5 Demand, supply and price relationships

Sellers mark their goods at a specific price or price range to dispose of their stock. In
this way, they hope to make a profit, enabling them to continue their business and
perhaps expand it. If the price of the goods is not controlled by the government,
the seller is free to fix a price based on market intelligence, the business location,
and the total cost involved in buying and transporting the goods to the place of
The willingness of the consumer to buy goods depends on the price as well as
the supply. If the price is too high, sales are poor because of low demand. If the
What factors are considered by sellers when price is too low, demand will be high. The seller will be able to sell all his goods, but
fixing the price of a commodity? 1 his profit may be very small and this could affect his business. Obviously, for any
commodity, there is an optimum price which consumers will be willing to pay and
at which the seller may sell all his goods.
State TWO economic factors which affect the This optimum price requires decision-making on the part of the seller. The
willingness of consumers to purchase a particular decision is based on the strength of demand from prospective buyers and a
product. guarantee of a regular supply of goods.

demand Demand is the quantity of a product which consumers are willing to buy at a
certain price at a particular time. Demand is directly related to price. If the price is
high, demand will be low. Lowering the price will result in an increase in demand
for the product.

The demand schedule

demand schedule The demand schedule for a product is the sum of all the individual consumers'
demands, tabulated to show the relationship between the quantity of the product
demanded at various prices. The demand schedule is also known as the market
demand prices demand schedule and the prices are called demand prices.
The information in Table 4.6 can be shown graphically (see Figure 4.7).
Price per kg Quantity
($) of cabbage
demanded in kg 6
3.00 1500 5
4.00 1200 4
4.50 800
5.00 600
5.50 400
6.00 300
0 1 I [
6.50 200 200 300 400 600 800 1200 1500
Quantity of cabbage purchased (kg)
Table 4.6 A market demand
schedule for cabbage. Figure 4.7 A demand curve for the cabbage data shown in Table 4.6.

Section A: The Business of Farming

In Figure 4.8, the curve DD shows at a glance the relationship between price and
the quantity bought. It is not necessary to have actual prices and quantities marked
on the axes. You can see that prices and quantity increase evenly from 0 to Y and
demand curve from 0 to X respectively and that the typical demand curve DD slopes downward
from left to right.


0 X

Figure 4.8 A typical demand curve.

The `law of demand'

'law of demand' The first law of supply and demand is also called the 'law of demand'. It states that
the lower the price, the greater the quantity that will be demanded.

Change in demand
In Figure 4.9, the demand curve DD represents the same conditions of demand at a
certain time. Generally, a change in demand results in a new demand curve which
represents new conditions of demand and time.
D Dz



0 Qi Q 02 X

Figure 4.9 Change in demand curve.

In Figure 4.9, the original state of demand is represented by curve DD. The price is
OP and the quantity demanded is OQ. If there is a change in demand, represented b'
then at the old price of OP the quantity now demanded is 0Q 1 . This quantitl
is smaller than the former quantity. Similarly, a change of demand represented bi
the demand curve D 2 D 2 shows that at the same price of OP, a larger quantity of OQ
is demanded.

Factors affecting change in demand

Some of the factors bringing about a change in demand are:
change in tastes and preferences
change in income
4 Economic factors of production

replacement of old products with new ones (technical innovations)

change in the prices of other commodities
change in population
future trade expectations
Explain the relationship between the demand and taxes and duties
the price of a commodity. advertising the product.

supply Supply is the quantity of a commodity that is placed on the market at a particular
time and at a certain price. This supply does not include the entire stock, but only
the amount that is brought on to the market at the prevailing price and time.
As with demand, the supply of a product is directly related to the price of that
product. Obviously, sellers want to release a larger amount of a product on the
market when the price is at a high level.

The supply schedule

supply schedule The supply schedule for a commodity is the grand total of all the amounts of the
individual sellers, tabulated to show the relationship between the quantity offered
for sale at different prices. This is also known as the market supply schedule and
supply prices the prices in the schedule are called supply prices.
A supply curve (Figure 4.10) can be plotted using the data in Table 4.7.

Price per kg Quantity of
($) cabbage supplied 6
in kg 5
7.00 1100
6.50 1000
5.50 800
5.00 600
4.50 500
4.00 400 0
200 400 500 600 800 1000 1100 1200
3.00 200 Quantity of cabbage supplied (kg)

Table 4.7 A market supply schedule Figure 4.10 A supply curve for the cabbage data in Table 4.7.
for cabbage.
Figure 4.11 shows a typical supply curve. This shows that a larger quantity 0Q 2 is
supplied at the higher price OP, and that the curve SS slopes upwards from left to



0 Q1 Q2 X


Figure 4.11 A typical supply curve.

Section A: The B
usiness of Farmin.,

Section A: The Business of Farming

The 'law of supply'

'law of supply' The second law of supply and demand, also called the 'law of supply', states that
the higher the price, the greater the quantity that will be supplied.

Changes in supply
As with demand, a change in supply results in a new supply curve (Figure 4.12)
which represents new conditions of supply and time.


0 ul u U2 n


Figure 4.12 Graph showing changes in supply.

In Figure 4.12, the initial state of supply is represented by the curve SS, the price is
OP and the quantity supplied is OQ. If some factor causes the supply to change, the
new conditions of supply are represented by S,S,, which is smaller than the former.
quantity. A change of supply represented by S 2 S 2 , indicates that at the same price
of OP, a larger quantity 0Q 2 is supplied.

Factors affecting change in supply

These factors cause a change in supply:
high consumption of their own product by the producer (less product is
supplied to the market)
change in cost of production
change in technique of production
1 ri' 1i
changes in the weather
List FOUR factors which affect the change in I taxation of commodities
supply of a product. future expectations.

The pricing of commodities
in a perfect market occurs Y
through the interaction of
the market forces of supply
Explain the term equilibrium price. and demand. The price of
U the product is determined
by the demand in relation P
to the conditions of the
supply at a particular time.
At some point, these two M
forces are brought into
balance (or equilibrium).
equilibrium price The equilibrium price is 0 0
M the price at which demand Quantity
and supply are equal. Figure 4.13 The equilibrium price.
4 Economic factors of production

Figure 4.13 shows that at the price OP, the quantity supplied (OQ) is the same as
the quantity demanded (OQ). The point at which the demand curve DD intersects
equilibrium point with the supply curve SS is called the equilibrium point. At any price higher than
the equilibrium price OP, supply will exceed demand and the sellers will have a
substantial quantity of unsold products. At any price lower than the equilibrium
price OP demand will exceed supply and there will be a shortage of that particular

The effect of changes in demand and supply

An increase in demand tends to increase price and increase supply.
A decrease in demand has the opposite effect, resulting in a lowering of price
and the quantity supplied.
How is the price of a product determined in a An increase in supply tends to lower price and increase demand.
perfect market? A decrease in supply will increase price and reduce the quantity demanded.

Elasticity of demand and supply

elasticity Elasticity measures the degree of responsiveness of each of the market forces
(supply and demand) to changes in price. It also enables the government to set up
appropriate policies to regulate the economy.
elasticity of demand (E d ) The elasticity of demand (E d ) is the degree of responsiveness of the demand for
a product to a change in its price.
It is expressed as:

percentage change in the quantity demanded

Elasticity of demand (E
d =
percentage change in price

Elasticity of demand may be:

elastic greater than 1: a small change in price results in a big change in the
quantity demanded
inelastic less than 1: a considerable change in price causes a small change in
the quantity demanded
unitary equal to 1: a change in the price brings about a proportionate change
in the quantity demanded.

elasticity of supply (E s ) Similarly, elasticity of supply (E s ) is the degree of responsiveness of supply to a

change of price.

percentage change in quantity supplied

Elasticity of supply (E
s =
percentage change in price

Elasticity of supply may be:

elastic greater than 1: a small change in price results in a big change in the
quantity supplied
inelastic less than 1: a considerable change in price causes a small change in
the quantity supplied
unitary equal to 1: a change in the price brings about a proportionate change
in the quantity supplied.

Price mechanisms
price mechanism A price mechanism refers to a wide variety of ways to match up buyers and
sellers. It enables the distribution of scarce goods to consumers and scarce
factors of production to producers. The demand of consumers, or consumption,
encourages producers to expand their business. This stimulates demand for factors
of production and for an increased supply of commodities. Demand, supply and

" AV The Bu
siness of Farming

Section A: The Business of Farming

price are dependent on one another and the equilibrium price equates de
with supply.
What is the purpose of raising prices by taxation? I The government may put price controls on certain commodities. Max
prices may be fixed for certain products to protect consumers, especially I
members of the community. Minimum fixed prices may be set to F
agricultural producers against a fall in income due to a bumper harvest.
Practical activity: The purpose of raising prices by taxation is to reduce consumption of comm(
Practise plotting demand and which are thought to be harmful to the economy. This can be done to t
supply curves from data which the loss of foreign exchange as a result of the import of goods. Subsidies n
will be supplied by your teacher. imposed on certain foodstuffs to keep the cost of living down or to encc
domestic production.

The three major components of the economy of a country are prods

marketing and consumption.
Production focuses on the manufacture of a wide range of goods ar
provision of services.
Primary production is the production of goods or raw materials which n
Secondary production is the processing of goods and raw primary produ
Production produces capital goods, luxury goods and consumable goods.
Services may be commercial, technical or professional.
Consumption involves the purchase and use of goods and services by cons.
It is the fuel which keeps the engine of production going.
Consumption is influenced by income level, needs and health concerns.
Marketing is the link between production and consumption. It promo'
flow of goods and services from the producer to the consumer.
The key personnel in the marketing process are middlemen.
Marketing functions can be classified into four groups: mercha:
handling, processing and supporting. Agricultural production is depen
land, labour, capital and management.
List F
suppl Land may be owned, rented or leased. The suitability of land depend
topography and climate.
Labour is a major factor in any agricultural enterprise. Small farms are
by farmers and rely on self-labour and family labour.
Larger farms employ labour, which may be seasonal to cope with pla
harvesting, tasks for specific hours or contract work for land prepara
Farm managers may be responsible for specific enterprises on large f
Capital is needed for buying resources such as land, tractors and bui
Explain t Farmers may obtain loans from institutions such as banks and credi
Management is essential for the effective running of an agricultural
Good management is the ability to organise resources and combir
make a profit.
Inputs are factors or resources which are used to achieve an outco
In farming, the inputs are land, labour, planting materials, fertilisers a
Fixed inputs are land, machinery and farm buildings. Variable inpr
seeds and fertilisers.
Costs are the expenses involved in any enterprise. Fixed costs, su'
buildings, do not change; but variable costs change with the level
Output is the quantity of product that is produced. It may be knc
54 return.
Output is measured in units, e.g. tonnes of sugar cane or kilo-
4 Economic factors of production

'and Increasing the number of outputs means that the number of inputs has to be
Rim Returns are the yield of the crop or the profit made.
)rer If an input (such as the quantity of fertiliser used) is increased, then the output
tea increases progressively up to a maximum point.
The successive increase in total output for each additional unit of input is called
ties the marginal product.
uce After the maximum has been reached, addition of extra units of fertiliser results
be in a steady decline. This declining rate of increase is called a diminishing return.
a e
g The law of diminishing returns is of relevance to farmers as it helps them to
avoid wasting valuable resources on inputs which do not increase profits.
Demand is the quantity of a product which consumers are willing to buy at a
certain price at a particular time.
The lower the price, the greater the quantity that will be demanded. The higher
the price, the greater the quantity that will be supplied.
Supply is the quantity of a commodity placed on the market at a particular time
for a certain price.
he The pricing of commodities depends on the interaction of supply and demand.
The equilibrium price is the price at which supply and demand are equal.
)e Changes in supply and demand can alter the price of a commodity. Demand,
supply and price are dependent on one another.

1701 Production, consumption and marketing.

1T02 To satisfy people's wants; to promote economic welfare; to improve living
standards; to create wealth.
e 1703 Primary production refers to goods and products that are produced
initially, such as sugar cane and potatoes. Secondary production involves
the processing of the goods into manufactured items, such as sugar and
potato chips.
MN Consumption involves the purchase and use of goods and services by
ITO Any four from: income level; satisfaction; religious beliefs; health reasons;
aesthetic reasons; product-substitutes.
IT06 Merchandising includes buying, pricing and selling of goods.
Handling transport of goods, assembling, grading and storing.
Processing manufacturing, packaging and labelling.
Supporting includes financing, enabling all other functions to be carried
out smoothly.
1107 Middlemen operate between producers and consumers. They act as
agents, brokers, wholesalers and retailers.
1108 The topography, whether hilly or flat; the climatic conditions, seasonal
fluctuations in rainfall and temperature; soil fertility and suitability for
different crops; cost of land.
1109 Land is used for housing schemes; over-cultivation and loss of soil fertility
also cause loss of agricultural land.
IT010 Labour is considered as the total cost and the total number of man-hours
involved in the production of a commodity.
11011 Self-labour and family labour can increase farm profits as no money is
actually paid out to the workers. The cost of the labour is not considered
as part of the cost of production.
17012 Capital resources available to farmers include commercial banks, credit
unions, co-operatives and agricultural banks.

Section A: The Business of Farming

IT013 Depreciation is when the monetary value and productive value of a

resource decreases with time.
IT014 The effective and efficient use of resources on the farm.
ITQ15 Planning, organising the workers, directing the workers, supervising farm
operations and managing the finances.
ITQ16 Inputs include land, machinery, labour, buildings, equipment, planting
materials, fertilisers and pesticides; anything which is put into an
agricultural enterprise to achieve an end result.
IT017 Fixed inputs are: land, tractor, buildings and equipment. Variable inputs
are: seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, fuel and labour.
11018 The quantity of product from a production process, otherwise known as
the yield or the return.
11019 Total cost is the fixed cost plus the variable cost (30 + 310 = 340).
Average cost is the total cost divided by the quantity produced
Marginal cost is the increase in total cost derived from the last unit
produced (340 270 = 70).
11020 Marginal return is the successive increase in total output for each
additional unit of input.
Diminishing return is the declining rate of increase of total output
resulting from each successive unit of input.
IT021 The law of diminishing returns states that if one or more inputs are
fixed and increasing amounts of one variable input are added, then the
marginal output per unit of the variable input will increase initially to a
certain point and then decline.
11022 4.
11023 The marginal product curve increases sharply, reaches a maximum and
then declines.
ITQ24 Stage 3 is described as the inefficient stage because money is wasted on
inputs that do not increase the output.
11025 The total cost of buying and transporting the goods, together with market
intelligence regarding supply and demand.
11026 The price and availability.
11027 The lower the price, the greater the quantity that will be demanded.
11028 Any four from: less supplied to market; change in cost; change in
technique of production; variations in weather conditions; taxation
changes; future expectations.
ITQ29 The price at which demand and supply are equal.
11030 Through the interaction of the forces of supply and demand at a
particular time.
11031 A tax is imposed on imported goods to benefit the economy by reducing
demand for foreign goods and the loss of foreign currency. At the same
time, it may encourage domestic production and consumption of certain

W 58
Economic factors of production

Multiple Choice Questions

Examination-style 1. Which of the following is an example of secondary production?
questions A pineapples
B sweetcorn
C sugar
D eggs
2. Which of the following marketing functions deals with fixing the price of
A merchandising
B handling
C processing
D supporting
3. Contract labour is most likely to be used by a farmer for:
A daily milking of cows
B land preparation
C fertiliser application
D harvesting the crop
4. Working capital consists of:
A farm buildings
B equipment costs
C rent
D labour costs
5. Which of the following is a cost which varies with the level of
A machinery
B buildings
C fuel
D land
6. The successive increase in total output for each additional unit of input is
called the:
A marginal product
B increasing return
C marginal cost
D increasing product

Short answer and essay-type questions

7. (a) Distinguish between casual labour and permanent labour.
(b) What factors contribute to the farm labour problems in most
Caribbean countries?
8. (a) State the importance of management as it applies to agriculture.
(b) Discuss TWO management practices that farmers should adopt to
achieve maximum profitability from their land.
9. (a) Production is an economic activity or function. What are the other
two economic activities?
(b) Explain the meaning of production as it relates to the national
(c) Differentiate between primary production and secondary
production, specifying examples of each.
10. (a) What factors are considered by sellers in determining the selling
price of a commodity?
(b) Discuss the relationship between the price of an agricultural product
and consumers' willingness to purchase that product.
11. (a) State the law of demand.
(b) Draw a labelled diagram of a typical demand curve.
(c) List FOUR reasons for a change in demand for an agricultural product.

Section A: The Business of Farming

12. (a) How is the pricing of commodities in a perfect market determined?

(b) Using a labelled diagram, explain the meaning of equilibrium price.
(c) Briefly discuss the 'price, supply and demand relationship'.
13. (a) Distinguish between price control and subsidies.
(b) Explain why price control measures are sometimes instituted by
14. (a) Using appropriate examples, explain the meaning of:
(i) fixed inputs, and
(ii) variable inputs.
(b) State the importance of inputs in an agricultural enterprise.
(c) List some guidelines which farmers should adopt in selecting,
maintaining and utilising farm inputs.
15. (a) Explain the meaning of: (i) fixed cost, and
(ii) variable cost, stating an example of each.
(b) During 2004, Farmer Seema, who reared pigs, was charged water
rates at $210.00 per quarter, even though she used less water during
certain months of the year.
State (i) the name of this type of cost, and
(ii) the reason for your answer to (b)(i).
(c) Farmer Seema paid Dr Marie for veterinary services on three
occasions during 2004 when a few of her pigs were ill.
(i) What type of cost was this?
(ii) State a reason for your answer to (c) (i).
16. (a) Distinguish between input and output.
(b) Explain how input, output and cost are interrelated.
(c) Copy and complete the table which shows output-cost relationship:

Unit of ($) ($) ($) ($) ($)

Output Fixed Variable Total Cost Average Marginal
Cost (FC) Cost (VC) (TC) Cost (AC) Cost (MC)
1 20 ------ 80 80 80
2 20 130 ----- 75 -----
3 20 190 210 ------ 60
4 20 ----- 264 66 -----
5 20 280 ----- ----- 36

(d) Explain the meaning of marginal cost.


Trade dgFEEITElltS

By the end of 3 describe some international trade agreements that affect the Caribbean
this chapter 3 understand how these trade agreements affect the agricultural sector
you should be
,,/ evaluate their effects on farming and on the peoples of the Caribbean.
able to:

Concept map
Trade agreements

International trade Effects on the

agreements Caribbean

Caribbean Single Market Agricultural sector

and Economy (CSME)

World Trade
Organisation (WTO)

Free Trade Area of the

Americas (FTAA)

Lome IIV

International Sugar
Agreement (ISA)

Section A: The Business of Farming

5.1 The effect of international trade

If a country is to earn foreign currency, it needs to sell goods and services to other
countries. Often, international trade agreements involve goods and services from
one country being exchanged for the goods and services of another country. These
National Marketing and agreements have to be carefully set up.
Development Corporation In Trinidad and Tobago, the government operates the National Marketing and
( NAMDEVCO) Development Corporation (NAMDEVCO). The aim of this is to identify market
opportunities for agricultural products locally, regionally and abroad.
Some of the services of interest to exporters include:
identifying export markets
linking buyers, sellers and producers
research into the requirements of foreign markets
the provision of guidelines on variety, quantity, quality and packaging
daily prices of commodities in international markets
the provision of advice on insurance and finance to exporters and importers.

The Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME)

Caribbean Community In 2006, after considering the challenges of an increasingly globalised economy
(CARICOM) and the need to increase competitiveness of its goods and services, the Caribbean
Caribbean Single Market and Community (CARICOM) set up the Caribbean Single Market and Economy
Economy (CSME) (CSME).
The CSME (Figure 5.1) enables free movement of goods, services, capital and
CSME operations people across member states in the Caribbean. This means that production and
marketing operations are promoted and supported in an enlarged, single economic
area. There is a better environment for the competitive production of goods and
removal of
barriers to trade services for external and intra-regional markets.
Entrepreneurs in the CARICOM region are able to:
free movement free movement use their talents and resources more fully
of goods of services
trade freely without hindrance

free movement free movement establish and service markets in other states
of capital of people attract capital or invest and use funds in another state
hire skilled workers from any of the member states, resulting in greater
Figure 5.1 The functions of the efficiency, competitive production and increased profits.
At present, there are 15 full members of CARICOM of whom 12 are members
of the CSME. Montserrat is a full member of CARICOM and awaits approval for
membership of the CSME. Haiti and the Bahamas are full members of CARICOM
but have not joined the CSME. The introduction of a single currency is scheduled
for completion between 2010 and 2015.
The removal of trade barriers and the opening up of new opportunities for over
6 million CARICOM nationals (14 million if Haiti is included) enables the CSME
to stimulate growth.

Free movement of goods

To enable free movement, the following measures will be taken:
there will be no import duties on goods originating from the CARICOM region
tariffs and quantitative restrictions will be removed in all member states
intra-regional imports will be treated differently from extra-regional imports
there will be agreed regional standards for the production of goods within the
CARICOM region providing a major incentive for high quality products from
producers and manufacturers
CARICOM producers and manufacturers will be able to market their goods to
over 6 million people (14 million if Haiti is included).

5 Trade agreements

Free movement of services

Member states will be required to:
remove impediments restricting the right of any CARICOM national to
provide regional services
ensure that nationals from other member states have access to land, buildings
and other factors of production on a non-discriminatory basis for the purpose
of providing services to the region.

Free movement of capital

Free movement of capital will:
enable CARICOM nationals to transfer money to any member state
electronically and also through bank notes and cheques; no new monetary
restrictions will be added and existing ones will be removed
promote and increase investment regionally
allow firms access to a wider market for raising capital at competitive rates, so
enabling the productive sectors to become more competitive regionally and
foster the development of a regional capital market which will increase the
attractiveness of the region for investment.

Free movement of people

Free movement of people will:
promote a closer union among the people of the CARICOM member states
abolish discrimination on grounds of nationality in all member states
entail the removal of work permits for certain categories of workers
encourage an interchange of managerial, professional and technical expertise
within the region
enable certain categories of workers to travel freely to member states and
What do the initials CSME stand for? 1 enjoy the same benefits and rights regarding conditions of employment as
those given to national workers.

State the main role of the CSME. 1 The CSME is of particular importance in the agricultural sector, making it easier for
the marketing of produce, securing investments and the movement of workers. All
the points made generally about the free movement of goods, services, capital and
List FOUR operations of the CSME. 1 people can be applied to any agricultural enterprise or associated business.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO)

World Trade Organisation ( WTO) The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is an international organisation which
promotes free trade by persuading countries to abolish tariffs on imports and
other barriers to trade. It is the only international body that oversees the rules of
international trade.
Functions of the WTO include:
checking free trade agreements
settling trade disputes between governments
organising trade negotiations.

Decisions made by the WTO are absolute and all member countries must abide by
its rules. Any country that breaches the rules may have trade sanctions imposed
on it. As of July 2008, there were 153 member countries, representing 95% of
world trade.
Since 2001, the WTO has been trying to negotiate a trade agreement which
would benefit poorer countries; but it has been hampered by disagreement
between exporters of agricultural commodities in bulk and countries with large
numbers of subsistence farmers. These countries want to ensure that there are
safeguards to protect farmers from a drop in prices or a surge in imports. In 2008,
member countries met in Geneva to resolve the problem, but the talks failed. Some

Section A: The Business of Farming

critics maintain that free trade only leads to the rich countries becoming richer and
the poorer ones poorer.
Free trade between Caribbean countries is now established, but better access to
world markets could benefit the economy of the region. The WTO is working to
Name THREE functions of the WTO. encourage trade agreements that promote the economies of poorer countries.

The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)

At the Summit of the Americas in Miami in December 1994, 34 countries of the
Free Trade Area of the Americas region agreed to the establishment of a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), in
(FTAA) which barriers to trade and investment were to be progressively eliminated. The
ultimate goal was to create an area of free trade and regional integration. The main
FTAA objectives objectives are shown in Figure 5.2.
These objectives are similar to the objectives of CARICOM and the WTO, with
create conserve the
natural environmen the emphasis on removing trade barriers and opening up markets to member
regional integration
and free trade for future countries. Attempts have been made to ensure that any negotiations are
transparent, taking into account the differences in the levels of development and
the size of the economies in participating countries. It was agreed that negotiations
foster economic promote sustainable should contribute to the raising of living standards, the improvement of working
growth development
conditions and protection of the environment.
FTAA agreements are consistent with WTO rules. Member countries may
reduce poverty and
discrimination negotiate and accept obligations individually or collectively as a sub-regional group.
for example CARICOM. Some trade expansion has occurred through bi-lateral
trade deals with member countries and by the enlargement of existing agreements.
Figure 5.2 Objectives of the FTAA.
The FTAA has not yet come into full effect: its target deadline was 2005 but this
was missed. In June 2009, a fifth Summit of the Americas was held in Trinidad and
Tobago. The focus was on human prosperity, energy security, climate change and
sustainable development.
The FTAA has not progressed as far as CARICOM and the CSME, so its benefits to
Caribbean countries are limited. Where separate bi-lateral agreements have been
reached, there are advantages to participating countries, but these agreements are
List the major objectives of the FTAA. not widespread and do not involve all countries.

The Lome Convention

Lome Convention The Lome Convention was a trade and aid agreement between the European
African, Caribbean and Pacific Community (EU) and 71 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The
(ACP) countries first agreement was signed in 1975. It came into force in 1976 and provided a
framework for co-operation between the members of the European Community
and the developing ACP countries, which were formerly British, Belgian, Dutch
and French colonies. The Convention allowed ACP agricultural and mineral exports
to enter the European Community free of duty, a quota system for sugar and beef
and 3 billion Euros of financial aid. Since 1976, the agreement has been renewed
Cotonou Agreement three times (Lome II, III and IV) and in 2000 it was replaced by the Cotonou
Agreement. This was signed by 15 members of the EU and 79 ACP countries.
The partnership between Europe and the ACP countries has charted a course
from decolonisation to globalisation, geared towards global and political issues.
The Cotonou Agreement is expected to run for 20 years. It focuses on a global
approach to development and involves the progressive abolition of obstacles to
trade between the countries in accordance with the rules of the WTO.
The Cotonou Agreement aims to get rid of poverty in ACP countries and to
promote their entry into the world economy.
To stop the poverty, ACP countries need to:
face up to the challenge of competition on the international market
increase production, supply and the competitive nature of their products
maintain high standards of quality and performance
attract inward investment.

5 - Trade agreements

New ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (Cotonou Agreement)

Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

focuses on trade liberalisation and globalisation: a global approach to development
provides for a new trade agreement, covering a period of 20 years
partnership agreement took effect from 1 January 2008
guided by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules

poverty eradication in ACP countries
progressive insertion of ACP countries into the world economy

ACP countries must therefore:
prepare themselves
face competition on the international market
increase production, supply and the competitive nature of their products
maintain the desirable high standards of quality and performance
attract sound investment

Figure 5.3 The Cotonou Agreement - a summary.

To improve the efficiency of production in the ACP countries, the Cotonou

Agreement makes provision for granting subsidies for long-term development
support and an investment facility to promote the private sector. The allocation
of financial resources will be based not only on their needs but also on their
What is the function of the Cotonou Agreement? performance levels.
The challenges facing the ACP countries are large but not insurmountable.
Enormous effort is required to strengthen their capabilities, relying not only on
their own resources but also on external assistance as provided by the Cotonou
List FOUR major challenges which ACP countries Agreement. In this way, they will be able to adapt to developments in today's
must face on the international market. world.

The International Sugar Agreement (ISA)

International Sugar Agreement In 1992, the International Sugar Agreement (ISA) was negotiated.
(ISA) The objectives of the ISA are to:
ensure international co-operation in connection with world sugar matters
provide a forum for intergovernmental consultations on sugar and on ways to
improve the world sugar economy
make trade easier by collecting and providing information on the world sugar
market and other sweeteners
increase the demand for sugar, particularly for non-traditional uses.

International Sugar Organisation The agreement is administered by the International Sugar Organisation (ISO)
(ISO) based in London.
There are 84 ISO member states, representing:
82 % of world sugar production
66% of world sugar consumption
93% of world exports
38% of world imports.

The ISO is the forum for the exchange of views between the major sugar producing,
consuming and trading countries. It carries out statistical analysis on the state of
the world markets and holds seminars to increase knowledge of the sugar market.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Workshops are held on subjects of special interest to the sugar world. Topics hav
included alternative uses of sugar and by-products, alternative uses of bagasse
Which of the objectives of the ISA is of interest to
opportunities for sugar technology and sugar consumption patterns.
sugar growers of the region?
Expanding from its traditional areas of sugar statistics, short-term and long

term forecasting and market analysis, the ISO is now tackling issues like suga
and health, sugar and the environment, fortifying sugar with vitamin A, organi
Practical activity: sugar and the promotion of sugar. Sugar-related products like alcohol, molasses
alternative sweeteners and biofuels are also of interest to the ISO.
Working in groups, choose
one of the specific trade
agreements. Design a poster
which summarises the agreement
and its relevance to trade in your Trade agreements are set up to sell goods and services to other countries.
country. In Trinidad and Tobago, NAMDEVCO identifies market opportunities fo
agricultural products locally, regionally and abroad.
The Caribbean Single Market and Economy enables free movement of goods
services, capital and people across member states in the Caribbean.
Entrepreneurs in the CARICOM region can trade freely and establish market
in other states.
They can invest and use funds in other states and hire skilled labour from an
member state.
The removal of trade barriers within the Caribbean benefits the Caribbeai
region in international markets.
Members of CSME will be able to market their goods to over 6 million peopl
in the Caribbean.
There will be no import duties on goods originating from the CARICOM region
There will be no impediment to the provision of regional services.
Money can be transferred to any member state.
The development of a regional capital market will be encouraged.
Free movement of people will abolish discrimination on the grounds
Interchange of managerial, professional and technical expertise will b
The World Trade Organisation promotes free trade by persuading countries t
abolish tariffs on imports and other barriers to trade.
It is working to encourage trade agreements that promote and benefit ti
economy of poorer countries.
The objectives of the Free Trade Area of the Americas are similar to those of I/
WTO and CARICOM with the main emphasis on the removal of trade barrie
and the opening up of markets to member countries.
It has not come into full effect and does not seem to have progressed as far
the CSME so its benefits to Caribbean countries are limited at the moment.
The Lome Convention was a trade and aid agreement between the EU and t
ACP countries, which has been replaced by the Cotonou Agreement.
This agreement aims to eradicate poverty in the ACP countries and to prom(
their entry into the world economy. The agreement provides for the granting
subsidies for long-term development support.
The ACP countries need to be more competitive in international markets,
increase production and to attract investment.
The International Sugar Agreement was set up to support countries wh
were involved in the production, export and import of sugar.
Its objectives are to ensure international co-operation in world sugar may
and to provide a forum for improving the sugar trade.

5 Trade agreements

1101 CSME stands for Caribbean Single Market and Economy.

ITQ2 The removal of trade barriers between the countries of the Caribbean.
1103 The free movement of goods, services, capital and people in the Caribbean
IT04 Checking free trade agreements; settling international trade disputes;
organising trade negotiations.
ITQ5 To create regional integration and free trade; foster economic growth;
reduce poverty and discrimination; promote sustainable development;
conserve the natural environment for future generations.
1106 To eradicate poverty in the ACP countries and to promote their entry into
the world economy.
IT07 Competition on the international market; to increase production and
supply of goods; to maintain high standards; to attract inward investment.
IT08 To increase demand for sugar.

Examination-style Multiple Choice Questions

questions 1. Which of the following organisations makes trade agreements only
within the Caribbean area?
2. The Lome Convention was an agreement between:
A the European Union and the FTAA
B the European Union and the ACP countries
C the WTO and the European Union
D the FTAA and the European Union
3. The abbreviation ACP stands for:
A America, Caribbean and Pacific
B Africa, Caribbean and Polynesia
C Asia, Caribbean and Pacific
D Africa, Caribbean and Pacific
4. Which one of the following is NOT an objective of the Cotonou
A free movement of workers between countries
B abolishing obstacles to trade between countries
C eradication of poverty
D financial aid to developing countries

Short answer and essay-type questions

5. Explain why it is necessary for a producer to understand the
requirements of export markets before attempting to export goods to
other countries.
6. (a) What is meant by a trade agreement?
(b) Why are trade agreements beneficial to a country?
7. Describe the benefits of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy to
the agricultural sector.
8. (a) Explain how the Cotonou Agreement was set up.
(b) How does the Cotonou Agreement differ from other trade



farm financing and S WIM

By the end of 3 describe how capital can be obtained from established sources
this chapter 3 know how to complete a sample application form
you should be understand how co-operatives work
able to:
3 discuss the various incentives which may be given to farming.

Concept map

Farm financing and support services

Obtaining capital Co-operatives Incentives to farming

Collateral Types Subsidies

Credit history Roles Price support

Budget estimate Function Tax exemption


Employment status Management


Project proposal
6 - Farm financing and support services

6.1 Sources of capital

What is capital?
capital For the economist, capital is a factor of production used in combination with land,
labour and management to produce goods and services to satisfy consumers.
For the farmer, capital is both a physical and a financial resource; it is necessary
as the total investment for any agricultural enterprise. Capital includes land,
money, buildings, machinery and equipment, fuel and the raw materials needed
to produce crops and rear livestock. So capital can include stock as well as money.

a factor of production
a physical and financial resource
the total investment in the agribusiness


buildings fences stock of materials (consumables):
machinery tree crops fertilisers, pesticides, medication, feed, fuel
equipment livestock money (cash): to purchase land,
land ponds planting materials, feed, medication,
fuel, to pay wages for labour/services

Figure 6.1 Fixed and working capital on a farm.

A farmer's capital resources can be divided into fixed (or durable) capital and
fixed capital operating (or working) capital. Fixed capital refers to those items on a farm that
have more than one year of productive life. These are items that only need to be
working capital renewed after many years. Working capital refers to those items which are needed
for the everyday running of the farm and which are used up in the production of
crops or livestock.
Working capital can be divided into two sub-groups:
stock stock or consumables, such as feed, fuel, fertilisers, pesticides and medication
cash cash needed to purchase land, replenish the stock of materials and to pay for
labour and other technical services.

depreciation Farm buildings, machinery and equipment undergo depreciation every year. This
means that each year they are worth a little less in financial terms. They also need
regular maintenance so that the maximum productive service can be derived from
them. Eventually the farmer has to replace these items because of their age, wear
and tear and obsolescence. Land tends to appreciate in value. This means that it is
worth a little more in financial terms each year. However, the farmer has to renew
its fertility on a continuing basis.
For many farmers, capital is a limiting factor. The amount of capital a farmer has
What is the meaning of capital to a farmer? at his disposal enables him to:
make decisions about the type and size of his farm, the type of crops to grow
and the best system to use
Explain the difference between fixed capital and decide on the level of mechanisation he can afford
working capital, giving examples of each. buy the farm inputs, such as land and stock, that he needs
employ modern technology
generate farm income and profits
List reasons why capital is necessary for develop and improve the farming business
agricultural enterprises. increase farm assets and values.

Section A: The Business of Farrhing

Sources of capital
In the Caribbean, farmers may obtain capital, that is money (cash) and/or a stock
of ag ri cultural mate ri als, from the following sources:
1. Government institutions
Agricultural Development Bank These include the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), the Ministry of
( ADB) Agriculture and agricultural societies. The ADB and the agricultural societies
offer loans at low rates of interest, usually from 3% to 6%. The Ministry of
Agriculture arranges subsidised farm inputs (machinery, equipment, breeding
stock, sta rt er colonies of bees, hybrid seeds and other planting mate ri als).
They also arrange leases for state land.
2. Commercial banks/Enterp rises and insurance companies
The rates of interest from commercial banks, insurance companies and
financial agencies are higher than those from the government institutions
(8% to 14%). The commercial enterprises sell land, planting mate ri als,
machinery and equipment.
3. Credit Unions
These offer loans at low rates of interest.
4. Co-operatives and Associations
These organisations rent out machinery and equipment and offer loans at low
rates of interest. Depending on the nature of the co-operative or association,
planting mate ri als, breeding stock and sta rt er colonies of bees may be offered.
5. Sou-Sou Groups
In these friendly co-operative savings schemes, each person in a small group
contributes every week or month, as agreed, an equal po rt ion of money. The
sum of the group's total contribution goes to one member of the group in
rotation, so that every month, week or fortnight one person benefits from
a large sum of money, interest-free, that can be put to a particular use. In
Dominica the practice is more often called a 'sub'. This system was more
widespread before banks openly welcomed small-scale savers and before the
Credit Union movement established itself in the 1950s and 1960s.
6. Money-lenders
Loans from money-lenders have high rates of interest and relatively short
repayment times.
7. Personal savings
The farmer may have saved money over a period of time from the profits of
the farm.
8. Relatives
List FIVE sources of capital available to farmers. I This may take the form of a loan, at a reasonable rate of interest, borrowed
machinery and equipment, or an inhe ri tance of land, cash, buildings or
machinery and equipment.
^- 9. Friends
Name TWO government institutions and state the Friends may offer loans at reasonable rates of interest, or land, machinery,
type of capital which they can provide to farmers. tree crops and livestock might be borrowed in a share-cropping arrangement.

credit- How to obtain loans

farmer's worthiness farm
registration p ro posal To obtain a loan from a reputable financial institution, farmers need to fulfil ce rt ain
requirements (see Figure 6.2).
lifestyle and budget
character estimates Farmer's registration
The applicant (farmer applying for a loan) must be a registered farmer. In Trinidad
credit-rating I farm records
and reputation collateral, and experience and Tobago, the registration of farmers is done by the Ministry of Ag ri culture at
regional and county agricultural offices. Farmers who are registered are more
favourably considered for loans, subsidies and other national incentives. In other
Figure 6.2 The farmer has to prove terri to ri es, such as Jamaica, registration is via the Ministry of Agriculture.
several things before getting a loan.
6 Farm financing and support services

credit-worthiness The credit-worthiness of a farmer is a measure of the farmer's ability to pay off debts.
It is determined on the basis of assets, liabilities and net worth. From information
supplied by the applicant, the lending institution will know the monthly income
and expenses of the farmer. They then judge whether he will be able to repay the
loan if it is granted.
Risk and uncertainty apply to agriculture so limited loans are sometimes made
to farmers on the basis of their credit-worthiness. Often such loans are insufficient
for the farmer to set up a new enterprise which could generate substantial profit.
It is an advantage for a farmer to have a good credit-rating and reputation.
A farmer who has borrowed money previously and repaid the loans promptly
is more favourably treated than someone who has not asked for credit before.
Normally, credit-rating and reputation are researched by the lending agency as
part of the application process.

The farm proposal and budget estimate

farm proposal The farm proposal, outlines the farmer's intentions. It is a document which details
his objectives, the enterprises he proposes, his farming techniques, the resources
needed and the anticipated output and income.
budget estimate Using his farm proposal, the farmer prepares and submits a budget estimate
for each of the enterprises he intends to pursue_The budget estimate justifies the
amount of loan required for the proposed farming business.
Some farmers approach financial agencies without detailed proposals and budget
estimates. Renowned lending institutions require carefully prepared proposals and
budget estimates and will not offer loans without these.

Farm records and experience

Farm records provide documentary evidence of previous enterprises and justify
the experience of the applicant. Many farmers keep poor farm records and are
unable to satisfy the lending institutions as to their ability to run an enterprise
successfully. It is difficult to judge the farming experience and 'track record' of an
applicant if there are no records.

Collateral, security, guarantor

collateral Financial institutions make sure that the farmer has some form of collateral or
security to offer that will cover the total amount of the loan. This may be in the
form of property such as land, a house, farm machinery, equipment or livestock.
guarantor Often, a relative or friend serves as a guarantor, pledging their property as security
for recovery of the loan should the farmer fail to repay it. Some farmers who
operate small farms lack the collateral for loans and cannot find guarantors willing
to pledge their personal property as security.

Lifestyle and character

Honesty, sincerity, perseverance and a determination to work hard are character
traits which are highly regarded. Farmers should aim to be good role models as
they transact business with financial institutions.

Problems with obtaining loans

Lack of collateral, poor credit-worthiness, insufficiently detailed farm proposals
and budget estimates have been mentioned already as problems. In addition,
farmers who find it difficult to meet the loan requirements of some institutions
may be forced to take out loans with high rates of interest, or to make repayments
over a shortened period of time. These types of loans are stressful for farmers,
particularly if the agricultural enterprise is still being developed and not producing
much income.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Credit supervision
Some farmers may use their loans for purposes other than agriculture. Any farmer
credit supervision who obtains a loan from the Agricultural Development Bank undergoes credit
supervision, where trained staff make regular farm visits, give technical advice and
pay the fanner the money in phases until the enterprise is completed.
List FOUR requirements which farmers need to
demonstrate when applying for a loan from a
reputable financial institution.
Practical activities:
1. Practise completing a loan application form.
Why is a farm proposal essential in an application
2. Collect information from banks and financial institutions about loans and credit
for a loan? facilities for farming enterprises.

What are the problems associated with high
interest loans?
6.2 Co-operatives
co-operative A co-operative is a legal organisation which enables its members, as a group, to
improve their economic status in a competitive society. A co-operative is a business
r venture. It is voluntarily and collectively owned, controlled, operated, patronised
Why is a good credit-rating of benefit to an and managed by its members on a non-profit or cost basis for the economic benefit
applicant for a loan? of all its members.
A co-operative (see Table 6.1) can be distinguished from any other business
organisation by its guiding principles. These principles are referred to as the 'co-
State the usefulness of credit supervision as it operative concept' (see Figure 6.3).
applies to a loan made to a farmer.
Principle Explanation
Open Membership is open to any person, regardless of gender, race,
membership colour or creed.
Joint ownership Each member is an owner of the co-operative.
control Democratic Control of the co-operative is based on each member having
control one vote and not on the amount of money a member has
joint team invested.
ownership THE \ management
Team Members operate and manage the co-operative as a team.
CONCEPT: management
open PRINCIPLES patron-
Patron-members Members are the patrons or customers and users of the
membership members services provided by the co-operative.
Non-profit Generally, business transactions are non-profit making and
service non-profit business geared towards cost-recovery. However, any returns above cost
investments business are shared equitably amongst all the members.
Service- Members invest in the co-operative to be provided with certaix.
Figure 6.3 The co-operative concept. investments services and not for a profitable financial return.

Table 6.1 The major principles of co-operatives.

Roles and functions of co-operatives

Co-operatives fulfil the following roles:
promote voluntary, open membership
pursue business ventures
encourage active participation and teamwork
generate collective ownership
1p encourage equity in sharing
operate on a non-profit or cost basis
improve the economic well-being of members
provide desirable services to satisfy patron-owners
generate greater bargaining power for better prices and contracts
attract governmental aid, resulting in benefits for patron-farmers.

6 - Farm financing and support services

Co-operatives are important organisations in many countries and fulfil many

functions. A co-operative helps its members to reduce operating costs, enables them
to increase their levels of production so that they can increase their income, and
challenges them to produce better quality produce and become more competitive.
In a wider sense, co-operatives encourage agricultural development and reduce
Group demonstrations and technical training sessions are organised more easily
through co-operatives as members share a common interest. Greater interest in
productivity and business enterprise is created.

Types of co-operatives
Co-operatives can be grouped in two ways: by their function or by their links with
other groups.

Co-operatives grouped by function

There are seven types of co-operatives (see Table 6.2) which perform different

Type of Function
Produce Members take part in joint-venture production enterprises
producing a range of products which are collectively owned.
Consumer This is organised for the bulk buying of consumer products
for the membership. The co-operative is owned, operated and
managed by its members.
Purchasing This is engaged in bulk purchasing and supply of raw materials,
such as planting material, feed, chemicals and fertilisers, to its
Processing In this type of co-operative, packing, processing or
manufacturing of farm products (fruit, vegetables, milk and
meat) from members is carried out.
Marketing This is organised by its farmer members to collect, grade, package
and sell their produce.
Commodity Members focus on production of the same commodity so the
co-operative is named accordingly, for example Co-operative
Citrus Growers, Dairy Farmers' Co-operative and Cedros Fishing
Service Each provides one or a combination of essential services to
members. There are service co-operatives for credit, livestock
breeding, farm machinery and equipment, transportation,
drainage and irrigation, cold storage, maintenance, security,
insurance, nursery and pre-school provision.

Table 6.2 The functions of different types of co-operatives.

Co-operatives grouped by links
Most co-operatives are linked in groups at local, regional and national levels:
Local co-operatives offer members representation and services at the village or
district level.
Regional co-operatives provide services and representation at the county or
regional level, based on nominees from local co-operatives.
National co-operatives supply representation and services at national level,
through nominees from the regional co-operatives, who are representatives of
the various local groups.

Section A: The Business of Farming

There are also:

independent co-operatives, not affiliated to any other co-operatives
What is a co-operative? I federated co-operatives, comprised of small local co-operatives, operating
as an integrated unit and banded together for greater economic power and
centralised co-operatives, composed of delegates from local co-operatives,
operating as a centralised control unit and initiating directives from the local
Name THREE different types of co-operatives and co-operatives for action; the structure of these means that each member
explain the functions of each.
cannot participate directly in the decision-making process.

Managing a farmers' co-operative

What are the major principles of co-operatives? Management of a farmers' co-operative is a shared responsibility between the Chief
Executive Officer, the Board of Directors and the patron-owner-members. Policies
and regulations drawn up by the Board and approved by the general membership
business membership are used for the day-to-day running and management.
volume issues Management is aimed towards the economic well-being of the farmers, who are
the patrons, users and owners of their co-operative. It uses managerial talents and
ineff ciency competition
approved policies to achieve results using the limited resources available. Problems
may sometimes arise for the management team (see Figure 6.4).
limited global
capital issues
Limited capital
Co-operatives operate with limited amounts of finance (or capital) which come
from its patron-members. It is not possible to provide a wide range of services or to
generate funds through public investment, as in a non-co-operative business. Such
Figure 6.4 Some problems in
managing a farmers' co-operative, procedures are not allowed according to the co-operative concept. This means that
the co-operative may have to seek credit or ask patron-members for more money
to finance the necessary services. It is important that the farmer elected as the
manager or Chief Executive Officer has the skills and experience to make decisions

Business volume
The volume of business transactions fluctuates between high and low. It depends
on how often members use the services they have provided for themselves. High
levels of business volume help a co-operative. It is up to members to ensure that
they use the services to sustain their co-operative.

Membership issues
In a co-operative, each member is a patron, a user and an owner. Every member
needs to demonstrate a sense of ownership, loyalty and commitment. In some
cases, members do not give their full support by way of their share contributions
and business patronage. Members need to face up to the shared responsibility of
supporting their co-operative investment.
Practical activities:
1. Visit an established farmers' Local competition
Co-operatives often face competition from the local business community who feel
co-operative and find out how
that they are an economic threat to their clients and business. Large local businesses
it is organised and managed.
use bulk buying and obtain discounts from merchant suppliers. In retailing their
2. Find out about the different goods, they may offer lower prices than the co-operatives. Members of co-
types of co-operatives in your operatives need to focus their efforts on good management, greater production
area. and better quality.

Global issues
Issues such as globalisation, trade liberalisation, competitiveness and quality
standards directly affect farmers' co-operatives. Such issues may make it difficult for
List the problems of managing a farmers' co-operative managers to meet the challenging task of international requirements
co-operative. and to educate, train and motivate their members.

Farm financing and support services

6.3 Incentives given to farming

Risk and uncertainty
The agricultural sector is affected by factors which involve risk and uncertainty.
These include:
the weather natural disasters (volcanoes)
over-production and under-production fluctuating market prices
increasing costs of inputs unstable incomes of farmers.

Governments can help to stabilise production, market prices and farm incomes
through subsidies and price support policies.

Price support
Farmers can be guaranteed minimum cost-based prices by the government, referred
guaranteed prices to as guaranteed prices, for selected crops or commodities. The commodities may
be export-oriented (sugar cane, cocoa, coffee, citrus fruits and bananas) or for
domestic consumption (rice, root crops, milk, mutton and eggs). These guaranteed
prices are incentives to production. They demonstrate commitment on the part of
the government.
In Trinidad and Tobago, price support is offered to farmers for the commodities
shown in Table 6.3.

Commodity Guaranteed price ($) Unit

Cocoa 12.00 kg
Coffee 11.00 kg
Oranges 21.00 crate
Grapefruit 13.00 crate
Rice paddy 2.20 kg
Milk 3.10 litre
Copra 3.04 kg
Corn (dry) 2.20 kg
Sugar cane 153.77 tonne

Table 6.3 Price support for selected commodities.

subsidy A subsidy is a financial incentive to farmers or producers for infrastructural
development, technical operations, purchasing farm inputs and establishing
agricultural enterprises. Normally, specific subsidies are offered to farmers, but the
government's commitment is only towards a percentage of the cost and up to a
maximum amount of money. Some examples are listed in Table 6.4, overleaf.
tax exemptions In many Caribbean countries, there are tax exemptions for agricultural inputs
and import duty concessions on farm machinery. Most domestic unprocessed foods
are exempt from general consumption tax. These measures encourage agricultural
enterprises and create employment in the agricultural sector.

icticat activity:
Working in groups, choose one commodity that is exported and one commodity that
is produced for domestic consumption. For each of the chosen commodities, find out
what benefits the producer gains from price supports and subsidies. Present your
findings to other groups in your class.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Agricultural Specific subsidies (examples) % cost Maximum $

Machinery and Solar equipment and biodigesters. 50 5000.00
equipment Trailers. 50 3000.00
Vehicles New tractors. 15 25 000.00
New pickups and jeeps. 15 30 000.00
Water for Wells, dams, ponds. 25 20 000.00
agriculture Irrigation equipment. 50 25 000.00
Soil Contour drains per 30 metres. 100 70.00
What is the difference between price support and conservation Contour banking, ridging or terracing 100 370.00
a subsidy? per ha.
Livestock Pasture establishment per ha. 50 2000.00
1 z Fisheries Multipurpose boats. 10 5000.00
List FOUR functions of price supports and Aquaculture ponds. 50 20 000.00
subsidies. Tree crops Citrus establishment per ha. 20 2000.00
Cocoa/coffee rehabilitation per ha. - 2000.00
Forestry Watershed rehabilitation. 50 2500.00
Nature trails per km. 15 500.00

Table 6.4 Examples of subsidies.

The purpose of price supports and subsidies

The main functions of price supports and subsidies are to:
speed up the growth of agricultural output
stabilise agricultural production, market prices and farm incomes
increase the local market supply of commodities for home consumption and
speed up or encourage growth in the output of specific commodities
provide a more regular income for farmers and producers.

In addition, these incentives enable the government to achieve its targets in

agriculture and to speed up innovation in farming.

Capital is a factor of production that is made up of fixed (or durable) capital and
working (or operating) capital.
Fixed capital refers to land, buildings, machinery and equipment that do not
have to be purchased every year.
Working capital refers to the items which are needed for the day-to-day running
of the farm.
Capital plays a fundamental role in agricultural production. It enables the
farmer to plan, develop and operate the farm efficiently and profitably.
Caribbean farmers usually obtain capital (money) from their government, as
well as from private financial institutions at varying rates of interest.
The government institutions include the Agricultural Development Bank and
the Ministry of Agriculture.
Commercial banks and insurance companies charge higher rates of interest
than the government institutions.
Credit unions and co-operatives also lend money to farmers.
Other sources of credit are moneylenders, friends and relatives.

6 Farm financing and support services

Farmers seeking loans from reputable financial institutions must fulfil certain
requirements. They need to provide details of their farming experience, provide
0 collateral and have a good credit rating.
0 Many farmers find difficulty in obtaining agricultural credit due to lack of
collateral, limited loans, high interest rates and a short repayment period.
A co-operative is a business venture owned and operated by its members on a
non-profit or cost basis for the economic well-being of its members.
Some of the major principles of the co-operative concept include open
membership, democratic control, patron-members, team management and
non-profit business investments.
Based on their function and affiliation, co-operatives may be grouped into
various types, such as consumer, marketing, regional and federated.
A co-operative helps its members reduce operating costs, increases their levels
of production and helps them to become more competitive.
Management of a co-operative is a shared responsibility which needs managerial
ability, skills and experience. It must be goal-oriented, addressing problems pro-
actively in a dynamic global environment.
Price supports and subsidies instituted by government help to stabilise
agricultural production, market prices and farm incomes.

1101 Capital includes land, money, buildings, machinery and equipment, fuel
and raw materials which can be used in the production of crops and the
rearing of livestock.
1102 Fixed capital is the land, buildings, machinery and equipment. Working
capital refers to items needed for the everyday running of the farm and
which are used up in the production of goods, such as fuel, fertilisers,
feed and seeds.
ITQ3 Capital is necessary to buy land, farm inputs, employ modem technology,
generate income and profits, develop and improve the business and
increase assets.
ITN Any five from: Agricultural Development Bank, Ministry of Agriculture,
credit unions, co-operatives, Sou-Sou groups, moneylenders, relatives,
friends, personal savings.
1105 The Agricultural Development Bank makes loans at low interest rates
to farmers. The Ministry of Agriculture subsidises farm inputs such as
machinery and breeding stock. It also leases land to farmers.
ITQ6 Four requirements from: registration, credit-worthiness, farm proposal,
budget estimate, farm records and experience, collateral, credit rating and
ITQ7 The farm proposal contains details of the objectives, the farming
techniques to be used, the essential resources needed and the anticipated
output and income.
1108 High interest loans mean that it is expensive to borrow the money, and
the farmer may not be able to generate enough income to repay the loan
in the time period allowed.
MN A good credit-rating means that the applicant has borrowed money
before and repaid the loan promptly. This means that the financial
institution knows that this farmer is likely to submit a sensible proposal,
be successful and repay the loan on time.
11010 Credit supervision means that regular visits are made to the farmer to
observe the progress of the enterprise and ensure that the money is being
spent wisely. Technical advice can also be given.

Section A: The Business of Farming

11011 A co-operative is an organisation which is voluntarily and collectively

owned, controlled, operated, patronised and managed by its members on
a non-profit basis for their economic benefit.
11012 Any three from Table 6.2, such as produce, consumer, marketing,
processing and service, or reference to local, regional, national and
11013 The major principles of co-operatives are: open membership, joint
ownership, democratic control, team management, patron-members,
non-profit business and service investments.
11014 The problems of managing co-operatives are limited capital, business
volume, membership issues, local competition and global issues.
11015 A price support is a minimum, or guaranteed, price for selected crops
or commodities. A subsidy is financial assistance towards the cost of
purchasing farm machinery or other farm inputs.
11016 Speed up the growth of agricultural output; stabilise production, prices
and farm income; increase the supply of goods for home consumption
and for export; provide a regular income for farmers and producers.

Examination-style Multiple Choice Questions

questions 1. Which of the following is NOT considered to be part of the working
capital on a farm?
A cost of feed
B farm machinery
C fuel
D labourer's pay
2. Which of the following financial institutions offers loans at the highest
rate of interest?
A Agricultural Development Bank
B credit unions
C agricultural societies
D commercial banks
3. A subsidy is an incentive to farmers in the form of:
A a guaranteed price for citrus fruit exports
B financial assistance for irrigation equipment
C set minimum prices for milk and eggs
D tax exemption
4. The function of a commodity co-operative is to:
A purchase raw materials in bulk for its members
B collect, grade, package and sell the produce of its members
C process and manufacture farm products
D focus on producing one product
5. A regional co-operative:
A is not affiliated to any other co-operative
B consists of several small co-operatives
C has representatives from smaller co-operatives
D sends representatives to smaller co-operatives

Short answer and essay-type questions

6. (a) Explain the meaning of 'capital' as it relates to agriculture.
(b) Listing TWO examples of each, differentiate between:
(i) fixed or durable capital, and
(ii) operating or working capital.
(c) Why does a farmer have to eventually replace or upgrade fixed or
durable capital?

6 Farm financing and support services

7. (a) List FIVE sources from which farmers may obtain agricultural credit
(b) Explain why most farmers prefer to borrow capital (money) from
government institutions.
8. (a) With reference to agricultural loans for farmers, explain the meaning
(i) collateral, and
(ii) guarantor.
(b) State the importance of 'collateral'.
(c) What is the role of a 'guarantor'?
9. (a) In procuring agricultural credit, farmers may encounter several
(i) List FIVE main problems which farmers may encounter, and
(ii) Discuss any THREE of the problems you have listed.
10. (a) List FIVE major roles for which co-operatives may be designed and
(b) Explain the importance of co-operatives in local agricultural
11. (a) List FIVE problems which may arise as challenges for the
management team of a co-operative.
(b) Discuss the procedures for managing any TWO of the problems you
have listed.
12. (a) Using examples, explain the difference between
(i) 'price support', and
(ii) 'subsidy'.
(b) Explain why subsidies and price support policies are instituted by

f81ifi organisation and


By the end of ,/ understand the need for record-keeping on a farm

this chapter ,/ prepare different types of farm records
you should be 3 distinguish between gross farm income and net farm income, gross margin
able to: and net profit
3 use farm records on income and expenditure to determine profitability
3 prepare a partial and a complete budget
3 understand the relationship between budgeting and decision making.

Concept map

Farm organisation and planning

Farm records Income and expenditure Planning

Crop production Gross income Relationship

between budgeting
and decision making
Consumables, Net income
e.g. chemicals

Gross margin

production Net profit

Farm inventory Value of outputs

Financial Fixed costs and

variable costs


7 Farm organisation and planning

7.1 Farm management and farm records

Farm management is essential to agriculture because agricultural enterprises by
themselves do not guarantee profitability. Farm resources need to be organised
farm planning and managed and the starting point of this is farm planning. The plans outline
the intentions of the farmer regarding the use of resources, the enterprise to be
pursued and the anticipated production.
There are four questions to be answered before starting on any new agricultural
enterprise. These are:
What to produce?
Why choose the product?
How much to produce?
How to achieve the production?

The choice of product is determined by factors such as the location of the farm, the
experience of the farmer, the demand and market price of the commodity, and the
List the FOUR key questions that a farmer should resources available. A detailed farm plan, taking into consideration the answers
ask before planning a new enterprise.
to the key questions, eliminates some uncertainty. It also enables the farmer to
apply for a loan from a reputable financial institution. If progress of the planned

What are the advantages of farm planning?

1I enterprise is recorded on a regular basis, there is information available for future
short-term planning Farm planning may be carried out on a short-term or a long-term basis. Short-
term planning relates to planning for enterprises for 1 year or for those with a
short production cycle. The main objective is to make as much profit as possible, so
the farmer chooses crops and livestock which will provide income in a few weeks
or months on a continuing basis. Such enterprises could be vegetable production
(pak choi, tomatoes and beans) or poultry production (broilers, ducks).
long-term planning Long-term planning refers to planning for periods of longer than 1 year.
Usually plans are made for enterprises that need some time (1-3 years) to become
established before production begins. Examples are tree crops (citrus, mango,
avocado) and dairy farming (heifers and cows for milk production).
The objective of long-term planning is to develop and expand resources on the
farm so that the earning capacity and asset value of the farm will increase in the
future. If a farmer is considering an enterprise requiring a long-term plan, then it is
What are the differences between short-term advisable to undertake one or two short-term enterprises to produce some income
planning and long-term planning? until the long-term projects become productive.

Figure 7.1 Poultry farming - a short-

term enterprise. Figure 7.2 Growing citrus trees a long-term enterprise.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Farm records
farm records Farm records detail essential data about agricultural enterprises, and the farm as a
whole, in written or electronic form. The data should include records of transactions,
accessed or for prompt facts, information and observations. While a farmer may remember some of the
retrieved easily follow-up action
transactions carried out on a day-to-day basis, it is not possible to remember details
of figures, quantities and dates so it is vital to keep written records. The different
easily done kept
and kept consistently types of farm records are summarised in Table 7.1.
GOOD Farm records should:
RECORDS be easy to do and keep
for a definite essential serve a definite purpose
purpose information be simple, useful and effective
be accurate and complete, giving the essential information
simple, useful, accurate, be kept consistently
effective complete
be easily accessible.

Figure 7.3 The characteristics of good Type of Examples

farm records. record
Inventory Land, machinery, tools and equipment, buildings, livestock, field
Production Crops, livestock, breeding, milk production, egg production, feed
List FOUR characteristics of good farm records. conversion ratios.
Financial Profit and loss account, assets, liabilities, balance sheet.
Labour Personnel, permanent, casual, seasonal, contract, family.
Consumables Seed, fertilisers, pesticides, feed, medication, fuel.

Table 7.1 Types of farm records.

Farm inventory
farm inventory A farm inventory is a record of the farm resources, in terms of quantity and value,
at the beginning and end of an accounting period (normally one calendar year).
It includes land, machinery, tools and equipment, buildings, livestock, field crops
and materials. Inventory records may be done collectively or separately for each
of the resources, such as land, machinery and buildings. Farmers with large farms
prefer separate inventories for each resource because it is easier to show continuity
on a yearly basis. The information on each resource can be found more readily and
necessary action can be taken more promptly. An example of a separate inventory
system for tools and equipment is shown in Figure 7.4.

tool/equipment Ja. 01, 2007 Dec. 31, 2007

Garden fork heavy 4 480.00
480.00 420.00 Damaged haedlu i.1w.
_ . Carden fork light - 2 150.00 140.00 Very good coilifies
Trenching spade 3 270.00 240.00 Good condition
Weeding hoe 6 360.00 300.00 Broken handles in three
Brushing cutlass 5 300.00 200.00 Two need replacing
Straight cutlass 6 330.00 270.00 Broken handles in two
. Watering can - 3 240.00 180.00 Two need repairing
Knapsack sprayer 2 480.00 400.00 Need servicing
Hayfork 2 160.00 120.00 Very good condition
Weed watker 1 2400.00 2000.00 Exeell etl condition
TOTAL 5170.00 4370.00

Figure 7.4 An inventory of tools and equipment.

Production records
production records Production records are used for crop and livestock enterprises to follow the prof
and determine the performance and productivity of different crop varieties
breeds of animals. With such records, farmers can find out whether inputs,

7 Farm organisation and planning

as feed and fertiliser, are being used efficiently. This will ensure that high yield and
profitability are obtained on a consistent basis. For example, livestock records can
be kept to show the milk production of individual cows or the feed conversion
ratio (FCR) when a particular type of feed is used for fattening weaners. Similarly,
there are record forms for egg production and other types of livestock enterprises,
such as rabbit and broiler production.

Records for rabbit production

As an example, records for rabbit production should include:
an animal inventory to include total number of bucks, does and weavers
breeding records for each buck and doe with breeding dates, including number
in each litter of each doe, number of live births and mortality, and remarks
(e.g. whether the doe was a good mother)
feeding records, to include feed given, feeding regime, growth rate and feed
conversion ratios
medication records
weight at marketing or slaughter, cost of production and income from sale.

From the records, a farmer can work out whether the enterprise makes a profit
or a loss. They also highlight problems where savings or improvements can be
made to make the enterprise more profitable in the long term. In assessing the
enterprise, the farmer also needs to take into account the cost of the buildings and
the labour.

Records for crops

Crop production record forms show the performance of the crop variety, the yield
and how much profit (or loss) was made. An example of a record form for a crop
of lettuce is shown in Figure 7.5.

Crop: Variety: Amt, planted or hectarage: Planting date: Harvesting date or period:
Lettuce Iceberg 3000 04/06/2010 1 9 23/07/2010

InputsAtems 1 Type Quantity Cost ($) Remarks

-- ^ bruehcut
Land preparation plough N/A 120.00 Hired contract Iubour

Planting material seedlings 20 Spedliy trryo 750.00 Prerided ere truepe rt

Fertilisers area 50 kg 350.00

Netree 2 kg 90.00

Pesticides Meldhion 0.51 95.00

Cuynoit 0.5 kg 85.00



Total cost of production


Gross income


Figure 7.5 A record form for iceberg lettuce.

Chemical treatment record

Any treatment given to crops or livestock is a consumable resource, and needs
chemical treatments to be offset against any profit made. Chemical treatments include fertilisers and

Section A: The Business of Farming

pesticides for crops and medication, and concentrates and drugs for livestock.
Figure 7.6 shows a record form for the use of fertiliser. In the 'Remarks' column,
the farmer should record the crop to which fertiliser is applied. This is cross-
referenced on the crop production record and the cost is offset against the profit
from sale of the crop.

Consumable item: Fertiliser Urea

Purchases Utilisation
Date Quantity Cost Date Quantity Quantity Balance Remarks
purchased in stock used

List FOUR main types of farm records.

Describe the uses of production records.

7.2 Income and expenditure

income In small agricultural enterprises, financial records may take the form of income
expenditure (farm receipts) and expenditure (farm expenses). Using these, a farmer will
determine his profit or loss.
In larger businesses, the financial records include:
the profit and loss account (referred to as the cash account)
the assets of the farm
the liabilities of the farm
the net worth statement or balance sheet.

Profit and loss account

profit and loss account Figure 7.7 shows a profit and loss account for one month. The income is on the left-
hand side and gives details of produce sold and price achieved. The expenditure
is on the right-hand side and includes labour, fuel and other consumables. The
only details missing from this account are the quantities of produce sold and the
consumables used. These would appear on the records for each enterprise on the

Dr. Receipts (Income) Cr. Expenses (Expenditure)

Date Particulars Value ($) Date Particulars Value ($)

July 02 . Cabbage 450.00 July 01 Labour 450.00

July 08 Bodi boons 210.00 July 05 Seedliugs 180.00
July 12 Eggs 320.00 July 09 Fertiliser 120.00
July 16 C.......... 150.00 July 15 luseetieide 90.00
July 21 I'd Choi 120.00 July 23 Full 160.00
July 26 Eggs 300.00 July 28 Fuel: Pick-up 150.00
July 30 Nitro 140.00 July 31 Electricity 110.00

Teal 1690.00 total 1260.00

Figure 7.7 A profit and loss account for July.

balance sheet The balance sheet, or net worth statement, shows the value of assets left for the
farmer after all claims and liabilities against the business have been paid.

net worth = assets liabilities

7 Farm organisation and planning

A balance sheet is shown in Figure 7.8. The assets include the land, buildings,
machinery and equipment, field crops, livestock and cash. The liabilities include
unpaid rent and wages, mortgage commitment and money owing to creditors.

Assets Value ($) Liabilities Value ($)

Land 125000.00 Wages 28000.00
Buildings 60000.00 Rent 1200.00
Machinery and Equipment 45000.00 Mortgage 65000.00
Field crops 10000.00 Creditors 35000.00
Livestock 15000.00 Total liabilities 129200.00
Cash 50000.00 Net worth 175800.00
Total assets 305000.00 304200.00

Figure 7.8 Balance sheet (net worth statement).

income Income is money earned by producing commodities which are in demand and
selling them at current market prices to wholesalers, retailers and consumers.
After subtracting the costs of production, the farmer uses the income to purchase
necessities for the family, educate children, invest in savings, and buy the inputs
required to continue the farm operations.
In determining income, several factors have to be considered:
fixed inputs and fixed costs (total fixed cost)
variable inputs and variable costs (total variable cost)
output and the market price gained (total income).

Production records
production record Figure 7.9 shows a production record for a duck rearing enterprise, where all the
costs are set out and the total income shown.

Fixed Inputs Fixed Costs ($) Variable Inputs Variable Costs OutpuWeld & Income ($)
($) Market Price

Land rental 60.00 Muscovy 6000.00 1500 live ducks 7500 kg

Building 500.00 ducklings at r
depreciation Feed 15000.00 5 kg each $12.00
(avg wt) _ $90000.00
Equipment 250.00 Medication 500.00 7500 kg
Labour 12000.00 at
Vehicle 900.00 $12.00 per kg
depreciation Electricity 550.00
Insurance 550.00 Gasoline (Fuel) 850.00 market price)
Loan interest 240.00 Maintenance 600.00

Total Fixed = 2500.00 Total Variable = 35 500.00 Total Income = 90 000.00

Costs (T.EC.) Costs (T.V.C.)

Figure 7.9 A duck production record.

From Figure 7.9, you can see that the total income is the market price multiplied
gross income by the number of ducks sold. This is $90 000 and represents the gross income, that
is the income regardless of the cost of the inputs.

gross income =total income

net income The net income is the gross income minus the total cost of the inputs (the total
fixed cost plus the total variable costs).
In this case, the net income is $52 000 because the total cost of the inputs is
$35 500 plus $2500 (this equals $38 000). So $90 000 minus $38 000 = $52 000.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Having seen how net income is worked out for one agricultural enterprise, it is
easy to see how gross farm income and net farm income can be calculated. The
Explain the meaning of the terms farm income, farmer needs to add up the gross income from all the enterprises, add up the total
gross income and net income. cost of the fixed and variable inputs, and use these figures to calculate a net farm
gross margin Two other terms often used in connection with balance sheets are gross margin
net profit and net profit. Gross margin is equal to gross income minus variable costs. It is the
difference between the sales and the production costs.

gross margin = gross income - variable costs

How does the farmer use the income from the
Gross margin is an indication of how profitable an enterprise is. Those agricultural
businesses with higher gross margins will have more money left over to spend on
Practical activity: other operations.
Use examples of farm records Net profit is a measure of profit over time and it is calculated by subtracting
all the costs of a business from the receipts. This means subtracting all the costs
provided by your teacher to
from the gross profit. Net profit can be shown on the profit and loss account for a
determine whether or not
an agricultural enterprise is
7.3 Partial and complete budgets
complete budget A complete budget is also known as a total budget or a whole farm budget. It is
prepared for a farm which has a new owner or new management. It can also be
used when there is a major change in the resources and enterprises of a farm, or
when a complete re-organisation is undertaken. It is usually prepared when an
existing farm wants to change its systems of production and introduce improved
technology (see Figure 7.10).

A Cawiplale Be4gat
_Ilatile ------- $
_ Pak el isi _1000 btaikait$3.00Audla 3 000.00 _
- Sweet poplar_ 1500 kg 0 no 00/4 15 000.00
Broilere 4000 kg @ AP-00AI 36 000.00
_JAW Income 1T.1.1 - _54_010.0.
lifirdralle expenses_ WO
__Seedlings ....... 1500.s00
___ Fertiliser 2 500.00
Pesticidal 1 200.00
_toiler eltidt 3 000.00
F et. 600.00
alleatiew 450.00
thalriallt 550.00
Wear 6 500.00
I rangwdatlea 750.0
latai filial. algoiiiiittil 22450M_
fi ienses 0.0
- Yate
am 270.00
as interest 1200.00
lissraeee 750.00
Di Lreeiatiee 1 500.00
Tatar e_W sapaasse LT.F.Ej.
Ti,. -
Tsesaiiikva vaill114Telposses = T.T. =1.-TE.
= $54 000.00 - 322650.00
= 31350.0

Teter expestas [LEI = T.Y.F. + T.F.E.

is = $22 650.00 + $3 725.00
= $26 375.00

NM = Tatar ieve
s IT.T.Flifil an 00000 (T.11
= f54 000.00 - $26 375.00
= $27 625.00

Figure 7.10 A complete budget for a mixed farm.

partial budget A partial budget is prepared when there is change in a specific aspect of the existing
farm plan that requires some modification to the budget. For example, a farmer
may decide to rear 6000 broiler birds instead of 4000, or purchase a pick-up truck

7 Farm organisation and planning

instead of hiring transportation. In such situations, most of the income (receipts)

and expenses (costs) in the existing budget will remain the same and only some
will change. A partial budget identifies the income and expenses that will change,
and sets out how additional costs and income will affect the change in profit.
What is meant by the term budgeting? The financial gains and losses are set out in the partial budget as:
debits: additional costs and reduced income
I I credits: additional income and reduced costs.
When is it necessa ry to prepare a complete A Partial Budget
r)taya Beatie8.1.i00_k reiler birl: ieote^ajlOQQbitds^_ __ _.._ - _ __

11111111i11 enta . iNe aTia ^^__

Variable costs 2000 k btsi en
Describe the impo rt ant features of a pa rt ial

Broiierckickt __ 1500.0 a1.00k, 1800000 1800000___
_ Feed _ _ 3 000.00 _
budget. R eieetie.325. 00 825.00
FieJ cub.
None NIL
Total cuts: + F.^. 482
Practical activity: Reduced_----------
tiasi R^IroTath
Prepare complete budgets for
some broiler and crop production -r.4 1 hVit ^ 825. 00 -
A 11 en1-- is o00:o0
i'ia^ is ra# TotTcrer ehd. it
projects. _.._ -__ IS 000 00 4 825.0 0
1311500 -- ----
Using the example given here,
prepare a partial budget for an
Figure 7.11 A partial budget for an increase in broiler production.
increase in the number of broilers
reared from 4000 to 6000.
7.4 The relationship between budgeting and
identify problem
decision-making Decision-making is the ability to make sound,
objective judgements and initiate follow-
gather information (data)
up action, based on all data and information
available. It is also the process of identifying,
analyse data
analysing and selecting the right course of action
to solve a problem.
All farmers and entrepreneurs involved in formulate alternatives or solutions

farming are required to make decisions about farm

plans, budgets, work schedules, modifications assess each alternative/solution

and improvements. Sound decision-making

results in farm profitability and development of select the best alternative/solution
the business.
Decision-making (see Figure 7.12) is not a evaluate the chosen alternative solution
simple matter for farmers. They have to consider
limited resources, changing weather, the
accept responsibility and results
unpredictable nature of production, the ups and
downs of the market and natural disasters. Hasty Figure 7.12 The process of
decision-making can bring economic losses and solving a problem by decision-
bankruptcy. making.

budgeting Budgeting is estimating the quantity of inputs, costs, outputs, income and profit
related to an agricultural enterprise. It focuses on the physical components (what
to produce, how to produce it and how much to produce) and the financial
components (anticipated costs, returns and profit).
Budgeting is an essential process in farm planning.

Section A: The Business of Farming

Reasons for budgeting

It helps the farmer to decide which farm plan or agricultural enterprise to
List FOUR factors which affect decision-making
by farmers in the Caribbean.
It allows the farmer to compare the profitability of different enterprises.
It makes the preparation of whole farm budgets easier.
State TWO beneficial effects of sound decision- It provides documentary evidence for financial institutions when a loan
making. application is made.
It makes it easier for the farmer to control the finances of the farm.

How does budgeting help a farmer with decision-

making? 4=1;')
Farm planning is essential for the proper use of resources and the development
of agricultural enterprises.
Farm planning may be short-term for enterprises taking less than a year or for
those that can be completed in a short production cycle.
Long-term planning involves enterprises which take from 1 to 3 years to come
into full production.
Farm record-keeping is the process of registering essential data of agricultural
Farm records provide valuable information for farm planning, decision-making
and budgeting. They are classified into: inventory, production, financial, labour
and consumables.
Gross farm income refers to the total income from all the farm enterprises.
The net income is the gross income minus the total costs of the inputs.
Budgeting is estimating the quantity of inputs, costs, outputs, income and profit
of a farm plan.
A complete budget, sometimes known as a whole farm budget or total budget, is
usually drawn up when a farm has a new owner or is under new management.
It consists of all the assets and liabilities.
A partial budget is drawn up when there is a proposed change in the nature of
an agricultural enterprise, e.g. increasing the number of livestock.
Decision-making in agriculture is the process of identifying, analysing and
selecting a course of action to solve a problem.
Sound decision-making results in farm profitability and development of
agricultural business.

1T01 What to produce? Why choose the product? How much to produce? How
to achieve the production?
ITU Farm planning removes uncertainty, organises the use of farm resources,
focuses on production and enables the farmer to apply for a loan.
1103 Short-term planning is for projects which last for a year or less, for
crops and for rearing livestock with a short production cycle. Long-term
planning is for projects lasting from 1 to 3 years.
ITN Four from: easy to do and keep; serve a definite purpose; simple, useful
and effective; be accurate and complete; be kept consistently; be easily
1TC)5 Four from: farm inventory; production; breeding; financial; labour;
11116 Production records are used to follow the progress, determine the
performance and productivity of different crop varieties and breeds of

7 - Farm organisation and planning

1107 Farm income is earned by producing and selling commodities. Gross

income is the total income gained by selling the product. Net income is
the gross income minus the total costs of the inputs.
IT08 The income from the farm is used to purchase the necessities for the
family, educate the children, invest in savings and buy the inputs for
continuation of the farm business.
1109 Budgeting is the process of estimating the total quantity of inputs, costs,
outputs, income and profits for an enterprise.
11010 A complete budget is prepared when a farm has a new owner or when it
is under new management. It can be prepared when an existing farm is
completely re-organised.
11011 The important features of a partial budget are the additional costs and
reduced income and the additional income and reduced costs.
11012 Decision-making in the Caribbean is affected by limited resources,
changing weather conditions, natural disaster, changing markets and the
unpredictable nature of production.
11013 Choosing the right course of action in solving a problem, farm profitability
and development of the business.
11014 It helps the farmer to decide which enterprise to choose in order to be

Examination-style Multiple Choice Questions

1. Long-term planning is used for the production of:
A broilers
B milk
C lettuces
D tomatoes
2. Which type of farm records are used for recording the amounts of
fertiliser used?
A inventory
B production
C financial
D consumables
3. A farming enterprise recorded that the income from the sale of broilers
was $80 000. The fixed costs were $2500 and the variable costs were
$26 000. The farm profit was:
A $80 000 + $2500
B $80 000$2500
C $80 000 $28 500
D $80 000 $26 500
4. Gross margin is:
A gross income variable costs
B gross income fixed costs
C gross income total costs
D gross income net income
5. Variable costs change with:
A the market price
B the depreciation of the machinery
C the level of production
D the rent of the land

Section A: The Business of Farming

Short answer and essay-type questions

6. Discuss the statement 'decision-making is regarded as the heart of
7. (a) Draw a diagram to show the stages in the process of decision-making
that farmers are advised to adopt.
(b) Describe TWO beneficial effects of sound decision-making.
8. (a) Using examples, differentiate between:
(i) short-term planning, and
(ii) long-term planning.
(b) State the major objective of:
(i) short-term planning, and
(ii) long-term planning.
(c) Why should farmers include one or two short-term farm enterprises
in long-term agricultural projects?
9. (a) Explain the meaning of 'budgeting' in relation to farming.
(b) State the importance of 'budgeting' in agriculture.
(c) Differentiate between (i) a complete budget, and
(ii) a partial budget.
10. (a) Differentiate between (i) a farm plan, and
(ii) a farm budget.
(b) Explain why it is important for the farmer to prepare both a farm
plan and a farm budget.
11. (a) Explain the meaning of the term: 'farm record-keeping'.
(b) What are FIVE major characteristics of good farm records?
(c) State FIVE advantages of farm record-keeping.
12. (a) List THREE major kinds of financial records which farmers pursuing
large-scale agribusinesses should keep.
(b) Differentiate between (i) assets, and
(ii) liabilities.
(c) State the importance of financial records.


Soil and soil feItIIIt V

By the end of 3 describe the process of soil formation

this chapter V know what a soil profile is and describe the major soil horizons
you should be / describe the major components of soil
able to: 3 describe the physical and chemical properties of major soil types
3 understand how major elements are recycled in nature
3 explain the factors affecting soil fertility
3 state the importance of the minor nutrients to crop production
3 interpret fertiliser ratios
3 explain how soil fertility can be maintained
3 describe how composting is carried out
3 define soil erosion
3 distinguish between different types of soil erosion
3 explain the causes of soil erosion
3 explain how soil and water can be conserved.

Concept map Soil and soil fertility

Soil Soil fertility I Soil erosion Soil and water

chemical Role of micro-
volcanic activity Recycling of organisms:
Soil formation elements
animals and plants carbon cycle
human activities nitrogen cycle
Cropping systems
soil organisms
Climate Weirs, drains,
Biotic ponds, tanks
lajor soil horizons:
Soil profile characteristics Factors Topographic
affecting soil
lajor soil types: fertility Parent material Types
Soil types sand Management
clay I mportance of
loam minor nutrients
Amendments: land clearing
nutrients lime poor land management
Soil properties pH NPK animal activities
organic manures
texture Maintaining Cropping systems
structure soil fertility Composting
aeration Land management:
porosity cover cropping
organic matter irrigation and
mineral matter drainage
soil temperature tillage
soil water

Section B: Crop Production

8.1 Soil formation

Soil on the Earth is like the skin on a mango, except that soil varies in composition,
type and thickness at different places.
weathering Soil is formed by the weathering of rocks. Weathering is the decomposition of
Earth's rocks through direct contact with the planet's atmosphere. Soil may be
found overlying these rocks or it may be transported by natural forces, such as
water, wind and glacial action, and deposited at other sites. Soil is a mixture of
mineral particles, organic material, air and water. It provides an environment for
the growth of plants as well as a habitat for vast numbers of soil organisms.
bedrock Weathering involves the breakdown of bedrock (unweathered rock) into smaller
and smaller particles, together with the activities of plants, animals and humans.
The type of soil formed depends on the parent material, or bedrock. Where the
parent material is shale, then a clay soil is produced. Where the parent material is
sandstone then sandy soils result.
Soils formed in sloping or mountainous areas are shallow due to erosion, usually
by water. If there is a good vegetative cover with organic matter as a top layer, then
soil will form even on hillsides. But if there is erosion, then soil development occurs
only in the foot-hills and valleys with very little soil formed in higher regions.
There are three forms of weathering: mechanical (or physical), chemical and

Mechanical (or physical) weathering

Weathering due to ice
physical weathering Physical weathering is the breakdown of rocks by mechanical means. If forces arc
applied to rock, either within the rock or from an external source, then the rock
breaks down. The most important type of physical weathering is brought about by
frost. In areas where the temperature falls below 0 C, any water that has filtered
down into the cracks in the rock will freeze. As water freezes it expands and takes
up a larger space, exerting pressure and causing the cracks to get bigger. When the
temperature rises, the ice melts and the larger crack can hold more water. When
the temperature drops again, there will be more ice formed, yet more pressure and
the crack will get deeper. Eventually this process will break up rock into smaller
After rain or snow melting On freezing, the water expands, The ice melts and
forcing the joints apart eventually the rock is
ice broken up
joint water



Figure 8.1 Freeze-thaw weathering.

Weathering due to moving water

Water in streams dislodges and carries away rock fragments. These collid
t I
disintegrate and get worn down into small rounded pebbles and eventually miner
particles. Heavy rain also dislodges rock fragments and washes them into rivers. 1
coastal areas, waves beat on rocks causing them to disintegrate.

Weathering due to wind

In very dry regions, wind containing sand particles has an abrasive action at
wears away the surfaces of rocks. The particles of rock can be carried to other sit
where they are deposited.

8 Soil and soil fertility

Glaciers can cause weathering as they move down mountain slopes. They erode
rocks, transporting and depositing materials many kilometres away on lower

Weathering due to the sun

In the daytime, the sun heats up the surface of rocks causing them to expand. At
night, when temperatures drop, rock cools and contracts. Over a long period, the
continued expansion and contraction of the rock will cause it to fragment. This
is due to stresses set up as the surface expands more than the centre of the rock,
causing the surface layers to break away.

Chemical weathering
chemical weathering Chemical weathering is weathering which alters the chemical nature of the rock.
The main factors which cause chemical weathering are water, oxygen and carbon

Rocks are made of materials which have different levels of solubility. For example,
sodium chloride (common salt) is soluble and is only found as a solid (rock salt) in
very dry areas. Other rocks which are soluble, but less so, include gypsum (calcium
sulphate) and carbonates, e.g. calcium carbonate. Silica, a component of sand, is
only slightly soluble in water.
Water can change the minerals in rocks. If water is added to some soil minerals
it causes chemical changes and new minerals are formed. For example, potassium
may be removed from the rock known as feldspar, leaving aluminium and silicon.
These can then re-crystallise forming clay.

Oxygen and carbon dioxide

oxidation Oxidation occurs when minerals in rock combine with atmospheric oxygen or
the oxygen dissolved in rainwater. The minerals are converted to oxides which
are more likely to break down or undergo weathering. For example, when water
combines with the iron-containing rock, olivine, ferrous oxide is released. The
ferrous oxide becomes oxidised by oxygen in the atmosphere to ferric oxide,
known as haematite.
When carbon dioxide in air dissolves in rainwater, carbonic acid is formed. This
is a weak inorganic acid. As rainwater filters through rock containing carbonate,
such as limestone, the minerals in the rock dissolve and the rock breaks up. In
Write a definition for the term 'weathering'. I most humid regions, other dilute inorganic acids (such as nitric and sulphuric),
and some organic acids are also important in weathering rocks.
List the different types of weathering. Biological weathering
biological weathering Biological weathering refers to disintegration of rocks and the formation of soil
through the activities of living organisms.
If there are cracks in a rock, some soil will gather. If a seed germinates in this
soil, its growing roots exert pressure and eventually the rock splits. Animals which
What are the effects of rainwater on carbonate
rocks? tunnel into the soil, such as worms, ants and moles, contribute to weathering by
bringing new material to the surface where it is exposed to rainwater and the
' atmosphere.
Describe how physical weathering occurs. I Plants rot and are decomposed by micro-organisms in the soil. In this process
organic acids, called humic acids, are released into the soil and break down rock
minerals. The plant roots also release carbon dioxide into the soil and carbon
How do plant roots contribute to weathering? I dioxide breaks down carbonates (see above).

Section B: Crop Production

Volcanic activity and soil formation

Volcanic activity has occurred in several Caribbean islands, giving rise to igneous
rocks and volcanic soils. Volcanic soils are found on Grenada, St Vincent, St Lucia,
Dominica and Montserrat. The soil on slopes and in the valleys of the volcanic
cones is derived from the lava thrown out when an eruption occurs. Volcanic soils
are dark grey and have a granular structure. They are porous and high in sulphur,
phosphorus and potassium.
At the time of an eruption, volcanic ash is dispersed by volcanic pressure and by
the wind. It settles on the soil, where it appears as a fluffy, greyish layer. In the years
following an eruption, it becomes incorporated into the topsoil by weathering and
cultivation by farmers. It is not easy to see decomposed organic matter in such soils
because of their colour.

Organic matter
organic matter Organic matter consists of the dead and decaying remains of plants and animals.
The accumulation of organic matter on the soil surface protects it from erosion
and encourages soil formation. Organic matter provides a source of energy for
micro-organisms, humus micro-organisms which help to form humus. Humus is a brown or black substance
formed from decayed, and partially decayed, plant and animal material.
Humus is important as it:
helps to bind sand and clay particles into clumps producing a granular soil (it
i mproves the texture)
contains some of the nutrients which plants need.

Effects of soil organisms on soil

Soil micro-organisms, such as bacteria and fungi, break down organic matter to
Earthworms (see Figure 8.2) contribute to soil formation and soil fertility
because they:
make tunnels allowing air down into the soil
create tunnels which contribute to the drainage of the soil
make their tunnels by swallowing soil, so that the organic matter is digested
Figure 8.2 Earthworms in the soil. and mineral particles pass out of the gut back into the soil. In some species,
egested soil is deposited on the surface as a 'worm cast' and consists of finely
ground particles. The effect is to mix up layers of soil.
pull leaves into their tunnels for food, increasing the organic content of the
List FOUR factors which affect soil formation. soil and contributing to mixing.

Other burrowing organisms, such as insects, insect larvae, slugs, spiders and
woodlice, keep soil loose and aerated. Their faeces contribute to the organic matter
Practical activities: and provide food for micro-organisms.
1. Make a poster to show how certain Plant roots bind soil particles together and also create channels for the cycling of
soil types are associated with their nutrients within the soil.
parent material.
2. Make a collection of soils formed Effect of human activities on soil
from different soil-forming activities. Several human activities affect the formation and fertility of soil:
Examine the soils, noting their land clearing interrupts the accumulation of organic matter
characteristics. Suggested types grading and levelling of land removes the topsoil and often sub-surface layers
are: volcanic soil, a good agricultural as well
soil, a soil that has been chemically mining, quarrying and soil removal upset the activity of soil-organisms and
soil formation
weathered (a limestone soil), and
ploughing disturbs soil profiles but it does break up rock fragments.
soils that still show evidence of
physical weathering.

8 Soil and soil fertility

8.2 The soil profile

soil profile A soil profile is a vertical section dug down through the soil showing a natural
sequence of horizontal layers of soil. It can be revealed by digging a rectangular pit
so that one wall of the pit exposes the colours and textures of the different layers.
Alternatively, a soil auger can be used to remove a core of soil and the different
layers can be identified. Figure 8.3 shows a soil auger in use.

Soil horizons
soil horizon Each layer, or soil horizon, has different physical and chemical properties. The
development of a soil profile is affected by the topography of the land, soil texture,
drainage and soil erosion.
In a typical, undisturbed, well-drained forest soil, at least four major horizons
can be recognised. Horizons are named 0, A and B and may contain one or more
sub-horizons, which are named O O Z , A A 2 , A 3 and B B 2 , B3.
samples are laid out on the
ground in the order in which
Name of horizon Characteristic features
they are removed from the
auger hole O horizon formed on the surface
1 2 3 4 5 6 Organic or litter consists of plant and animal material at different stages
layer of decomposition
A horizon consists of a mixture of humus and mineral soil
Zone of leaching or normally dark brown, dark grey or blackish in colour
eluviation due to leaching of materials from the 0 horizon
B horizon usually lighter in colour than the A horizon
Zone of leached clay, iron and aluminium oxides, calcium
accumulation or carbonate, sulphates and other salts accumulate in this
illuviation horizon
an impervious layer called 'hardpan' may develop
Figure 8.3 Using an auger to obtain C horizon no biological activity or soil formation takes place
soil samples. Parent material may or may not be the same material from which
horizons A and B were formed

Table 8.1 Horizons and their characteristic features.

The importance of soil profiles

For the farmer, the soil profile is relevant in terms of land preparation needed
before planting crops. During ploughing, the furrow slice or topsoil is cut and
inverted by the plough-share. Depending on the thickness of horizons 0, A and
B, this slice may include horizon 0 and part of horizon A, or horizon 0, horizon A
Draw a diagram to show a typical soil profile and
and part of horizon B.
label the different horizons.
The area beneath the furrow slice is referred to as the subsoil. If there is a hardpan
or impervious layer, resulting from the accumulation and compaction of leached
r: deposits, then the subsoil may need to be broken with a sub-soiler.
Explain which horizons are affected when the
land is ploughed. organic matter, leafmould, forest litter
furrow slice 02 f1 O t1
(topsoil) A1 lIrI
--------- A { zone of leaching or eluviation
-A3 )(
Practical activities: 81
1. Examine a soil profile and subsoil -------- ------
-- B2 ( B zone of accumulation or illuviation: a hardpan may develop
measure the depth of the B3 I 1
different horizons.
2. Use a soil auger to determine parent
material 1 C 1I C j parent material: zone devoid of biological activities
the characteristics of a soil
Figure 8.4 A typical soil profile

Section B: Crop Production

Depending on the soil profile, the farmer can decide on the depth of ploughing,
selection of equipment for tillage, and the choice of crops (shallow-rooted or deep-

Types of soils
Most soils in the Caribbean are
latosols latosols, formed when rainfall Rainfall
greater than
is greater than evaporation and evaporation
Little humus
there is rapid leaching of dissolved
mixed with
minerals. These soils support dense, mineral matter
tropical rainforest. The organic Rapid leaching

layer (0 horizon) of leaves and

litter is usually less than 25 mm
deep. Because of high temperatures
and humidity, organic matter Strongly weathem
decomposes very quickly. Brownish clay with
of organic yellow to B1 well-developed
The A horizon is 300 mm deep and matter, iron angular, blocky
brownish red
a dark brown to reddish colour. The and aluminium structure
clay content makes the soil sticky.

Another type of soil in the Caribbean
rendzina region is a rendzina, which Horizon
enriched with cis
develops over limestone rocks. This Hard pan (iron
iron, aluminium
soil is thin, with the A horizon 200 pan where
and/or other
there is a high
to 250 mm deep. The soil is dark in compounds
colour due to the amount of humus of iron)
and there is much animal activity.
Although there are rendzinas in Parent rock
many Caribbean countries, they are
not widespread. The best examples
are on the plateaux of Jamaica. Figure 8.5 Soil profile of a latosol.

8.3 The major components of soil

Soil is made up of:
inorganic matter (mineral particles)
organic matter
water mineral matter

The mineral particles and the organic matter (about

50%) are referred to as solids. The water and air,
which make up the remaining 50%, are referred water

to as pore space. By volume, the solid fraction is

made up of 45% mineral particles and 5% organic
matter. The pore space fraction is divided into 25%
water and 25% air, both of which vary according Figure 8.6 The major
to weather conditions. components of soil.

Inorganic matter
The mineral component of soil, derived from the weathering of rocks, is porous
and consists of stones, gravel, sand, silt and clay. These components vary in size
and composition as shown in Table 8.2.

8 'Soil and soil fertility

Component Size of particles Characteristics

Stone and gravel remnants Very coarse >2.0 mm Fragments are remnants of massive rocks.
Sand Coarse sand 2.0-0.2 mm Primary minerals, such as quartz, having the same composition as
Fine sand 0.2-0.02mm the parent rock.
Silt Fine 0.02-0.002 mm Primary and secondary minerals, such as oxides of iron, aluminium
developed through weathering.
Clay Very fine <0.002 mm Colloidal in nature; secondary minerals are formed through

Table 8.2 The mineral components of soil.

The coarser mineral fragments may be bound into lumps, clods or aggregates by
humus and colloidal clay particles. These aggregates are porous and contain pore
spaces for soil air and soil water.

Organic matter
organic matter Organic matter consists of fresh or decaying plant and animal residues and humus.
Humus is the end product of the decomposition of organic matter by micro-
organisms. It is black or dark brown. In the tropics and sub-tropics, organic matter
is broken down rapidly to humus by soil micro-organisms.
Practical activity:
Although the organic content of soils is small (3 % to 5%), it benefits the soil and
Shake up 100 g of soil in improves crop growth and production in the following ways:
500 cm 3 of water in a large it loosens clay particles, serving as a 'granulator'
jam jar or measuring cylinder. it binds mineral particles, especially sand, into aggregates
Allow the contents to settle. it reduces the cohesion (sticking together) of clay and silt particles
Describe and identify the different it increases the water-holding capacity of sandy soils
components. Organic matter will it supplies mineral ions, such as nitrates, sulphates and phosphates
it is the source of energy for the soil micro-organisms
float and different sized particles
it increases the productive capacity of soils.
will settle in layers according to
their sizes.
Soil water
Soil water, from rainfall or irrigation, is needed for
plant growth and for the soil organisms. It may be capillary water
present as a soil solution in the pore spaces or held soil particles
as a film around tiny mineral particles (adsorbed
water). Figure 8.7 shows this. Dissolved mineral
salts in the soil solution supply essential nutrients
for plants.
After rainfall, the soil may be saturated with
water. But following drainage, the level will reach adsorbed water
field capacity field capacity, which is the optimum water level
for plant growth. At field capacity the larger pore Figure 8.7 Soil water:
spaces are filled with a continuous stream of water capillary water and adsorbed
which moves upwards by capillarity (capillary water.
water). This can be used by plants for photosynthesis. Excess water is lost from
plants by transpiration.
If soil water is lost and not replenished, crop plants begin to will during the
temporary wilting day but regain their turgidity at nightfall. This is known as temporary wilting. It
indicates that the soil water level has decreased and that the plant roots cannot
take up enough water to replace that being lost by transpiration during the day.
Turgidity is regained at nightfall because the temperature drops and less water is
lost from plants by transpiration.
If soil water loss persists without replacement, the roots are unable to obtain
any water so leaves and soft stems droop and do not recover at night. This state is
permanent wilting referred to as permanent wilting and can result in death of the crop. Permanent

Section B: Crop Production

wilting is an indication that the capillary stream of water in the pore space is
broken. Plant roots are unable to take up the adsorbed water which is held tightly
round soil particles.

Soil air
Soil air and soil water share the pore space together, and interchangeably, in the
soil aeration soil. The volume percentage of air present in the pore space is referred to as the soil
aeration. Following heavy rainfall, as water drains through the soil, air moves into
the larger pore spaces which were formerly occupied by water. As the soil water
continues to drain away or is used, soil air enters the smaller pores.
The composition of the soil air varies, depending on soil-water relationships and
the biological activities in the soil.
llu y Generally, in soil air:
List the different types of mineral particles in a the moisture content is higher than in atmospheric air
soil. the oxygen level is lower
the carbon dioxide level is higher.
The differences in levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide are due to the respiration of
What is the organic matter in soil made up of?
plant roots and soil organisms.
In practical farming, soil aeration occurs when the farmer carries out tillage
and drainage. Soil aeration encourages the growth of plant roots. It also ensures
Explain the relationship between soil air and soil there is enough oxygen for the respiration of micro-organisms that bring about
water. decomposition. In addition, aeration helps to remove toxic gases.

8.4 The physical and chemical properties of

major soil types
The classification of soil types is based on the proportions of different-sized mineral
particles and the natural soil-forming processes. The sizes of the different mineral
particles are included in Table 8.2 on page 97.
It follows that:
a clayey soil will contain a high proportion of clay particles
a silty soil will consist mainly of silt particles
What is the difference between a loam soil and a a sandy soil will have more sand particles than other types
sandy soil? a loam soil will contain about equal amounts of sand, silt and clay particles.

There are also other differences between soils. For example:

gravelly soils contain large amounts of particles larger than 2 mm in diameter
alluvial soils alluvial soils are formed through the action of running water, which erodes
rocks, transports mineral particles and deposits them at a distance from the
parent rock 4
colluvial soils colluvial soils have moved down the slope, or accumulated at the bottom of a
hill as a result of gravity; they are often gravelly
volcanic soils are formed from lava and volcanic ash 4
peaty soils are found in marshy areas and form due to the accumulation and DE
partial decomposition of organic matter
saline soils saline soils are found in coastal areas affected by sea water and contain high
concentrations of salt; these are of little value in crop production.

Physical properties of soil

Soil texture
soil texture Soil texture refers to the fineness or coarseness of the soil. It is determined by the
proportion of different sized mineral particles present (see Figure 8.8). For the
farmer, soil texture is related to the workability of the soil and how easy it is to

8 - Soil and soil fe rt ility

plough. Some soils are 'light' as they are easy to till (sandy soils), some are 'heavy'
(clay soils), and others are 'intermediate' (loam soils).
Soil texture can be determined by three main techniques, which are summarised
in Table 8.3.

Technique Method Results

'Feel' method A small amount soils with a large amount of sand feel
of soil is rubbed 'gritty'
between the thumb soils with a high proportion of silt or
and fingers. clay feel smooth and silky
Moulding The soil sample is clay soils develop continuous,
made wet and then cylindrical ribbons when moulded
kneaded. silty soils are moderately sticky and the
ribbons break up into small pieces
sandy soils do not form ribbons
Mechanical Involves sieving, Results of these techniques can be used
analysis (carried sedimentation and to check the other two and enable
out in the calculation, the soil type to be determined more
laboratory) accurately.

Table 8.3 Techniques for determining soil texture.

100% 0
90 10

80 / \ 20

70 30

clay 40 -oa
^^ 60
Qe^^ 5o so

sand silty clay r

40 clay 60
clay loam silty clay
30 loam 70
sandy clay loam
20 80
silt loam
10 /o- sandy loam
Practical activity: sand SaI)o'

Use the 'feel' method and the 100% 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10

0 silt

moulding technique to identify the sand percent sand

texture of samples of soil. Figure 8.8 Soil textural classes based on particle-size distribution percentages.

Soil texture is important to the farmer because it affects the:

holding capacity of air and water in the soil
ease and rapidity of drainage
Explain the meaning of soil texture. total surface area of mineral particles available for chemical reactions to take
workability of the soil; whether it is 'light' or 'heavy'
Describe how soil texture can be determined by ease with which roots can penetrate
the farmer in the field. way in which crops respond to fertilisers.

Soil structure
soil structure Soil structure refers to the arrangement of the various particles, cemented together
into clusters (aggregates) which create a network of cracks and pores in the soil.
Although aggregates may be made up of similar types of particles, they generally
differ in size, shape, particle composition and arrangement, and stability. Aggregates
contain pore spaces between their particles (intra-pore spaces) and there are spaces
between adjacent aggregates (inter-pore spaces).

Section B: Crop Production

The aggregates may form:

lumps with a diameter greater than 1 cm
crumbs with a diameter from 5 to 10 mm
granules with a diameter of less than 5 mm.

Aggregates (see Table 8.4) are classified into four major types.

Type Characteristics Occurrence

Laminar thin, flat, horizontal, leaf-like Found in virgin soils,
plates leached soils (sub-soils) and
pores and cracks are horizontal clay soils (kaolinite).
Prism-like or tops of aggregates are level (prism- Found in clay loarns and
columnar like) or rounded (columnar) clays.
faces are smooth and flat
cracks and pores are vertical and
Blocky or surfaces are flat or rounded and fit Found in heavy sub-soils
cubical snugly when wet (clays).
horizontal and vertical cracks and
pores well-developed
Spheroidal or surfaces are rounded but do not Found in surface soils, rich
rounded fit snugly when wet leaving pores in organic matter; aggregates
between them with a granular structure
are porous and those with
a crumb structure are very

Table 8.4 Major types of aggregates and their characteristics.

Factors affecting aggregate formation

The following all affect the ease with which aggregates form:
Climate: the effects of wetting, drying, freezing and thawing.
Activities of soil organisms: fungal mycelia cement the soil particles together;
r earthworms, termites, beetles and slugs burrow and mix soil particles; micro-
organisms decompose organic matter and form humus.
Organic matter accumulation and decay: the binding effect of humus.
Activities of plant roots: penetration, permeation, gum exudates and root
Describe the type of aggregates that are found in decay.
clayey loam soils. Tillage operations: ploughing, rotovating, manuring and liming.

In practical farming, farmers recognise the importance of preparing and maintaining

List FIVE major factors which affect the formation the soil in a suitable physical condition for the cultivation of crops. Tillage will
of aggregates. break up and mix the soil to produce stable aggregates and a crumb structure
filth called the tilth. A good tilth provides adequate aeration, moisture, drainage and
root-room for the crop.

Soil porosity and soil aeration

soil porosity Soil porosity is the volume percentage of pore space in a lump of soil that is not
occupied by solid soil particles. It varies according to the soil type and the tilth.
A porous soil allows:
water to percolate into the soil and become trapped as a film around mineral
particles after drainage
tt air, containing oxygen, to enter the soil for the respiration of plant roots and
soil organisms
plant roots to penetrate and grow freely in the soil
soluble nutrients, from fertilisers and organic manures, to spread through the
soil and become available to plant roots.

8 Soil and soil fertility

soil aeration Soil aeration is dependent on soil porosity and also on the amount of the pore
space which is occupied at any one time by soil water. Soil air and soil water
occupy the same pore space and the amounts of each will vary according to the
What is meant by soil porosity'? I conditions. A well-drained soil contains more air than a waterlogged soil.

Practical activities:
1. Using a sandy soil, a clay soil and a loam, set up an experiment to find out which
soil drains more quickly and which soil holds most water. Make your experiment
quantitative by using measured volumes of soil and water, and by allowing a
specified time for the water to drain through.
2. Soil contains organic and mineral matter. The organic matter consists of dead
and decaying remains of plants and animals. The mineral matter consists of the
weathered rock particles. Follow the instructions to determine the quantity of each
in the soil:
a. Weigh about 10 g of soil (M,) in a heatproof container.
b. Weigh the sample again (M 2 ) before heating it at a high temperature to burn off
the organic matter. Use a propane torch for this.
c. When the soil has cooled, re-weigh the sample (M3).
d. The quantity of organic matter can be calculated by subtracting M 3 from M2.
The quantity of water in the sample is given by subtracting M 2 from M, and the
quantity of mineral matter is given by M3.

Soil temperature and soil organisms

In the Caribbean, temperature on the soil surface ranges between 23C and 30C.
Within the top 15 cm of soil (the furrow slice), temperatures between 28C and
30C are the most favourable for the soil organisms, biochemical processes and soil
Soil temperature is influenced by sunlight, vegetation cover, soil cover (both
natural and artificial), soil moisture and organic matter content. All these factors,
with the exception of direct sunlight, lower the soil temperature. Soils that lack
vegetation cover and which have little organic matter, lose moisture rapidly when
exposed to direct sunlight. Consequently, the soil temperature will rise.
Soil temperature affects:
macro-organisms soil macro-organisms, such as earthworms, which are more actively
burrowing when it is warm
soil microbial activity which increases when warm and decreases when cold
roots of seedlings which are destroyed by high soil temperatures as plant cells
State THREE major factors which affect soil dehydrate due to evapo-transpiration
temperature. germination of seeds which is more rapid under warm temperatures
soil caking and crusting which occurs as a result of high soil temperatures,
direct sunlight and rapid loss of moisture.

State TWO beneficial effects of warm soil Farmers can lower soil temperature by mulching, cover cropping, intercropping,
temperatures on crop growth. irrigation, improving soil cover and incorporating organic matter into the soil.

Chemical properties of soil

Soil nutrients
Plants require 17 essential nutrient elements for their growth and development.
These are shown in Figure 8.9, overleaf. Fourteen of these are supplied by the soil.
The others (carbon, hydrogen and oxygen) come from air or water.

Section B: Crop Production


Macronutrients (major) Micronutrients (minor/trace)

From the soil: From the soil:

nitrogen iron
phosphorus ,` primary elements copper
potassium / zinc
calcium manganese required in
magnesium ,` secondary elements cobalt small amounts
sulphur 1 molybdenum
From air and water: chlorine
carbon, hydrogen, oxygen boron

Figure 8.9 The essential nutrient elements.

macro-nutrients Nine of the elements are required in large quantities and are designated as macro-
micro-nutrients nutrients. The others are only required in small amounts and are the micro-
nutrients or trace elements. The macro-nutrient elements are present in soils
as ions and may be derived from the parent rock, released from organic matter
by the activities of soil micro-organisms, or added in the form of fertilisers. For
example, calcium and magnesium occur in limestone and dolomite. Dolomite is a
rock which is processed into dolomitic limestone and used as a liming material on
acidic soils to reduce the acidity.
primary elements In Figure 8.9, three of the major nutrients are called primary elements. These are
nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and can be supplied to crops in the form of
inorganic fertilisers (see Topic 8.6). Calcium, magnesium and sulphur are known
secondary elements as secondary elements. Calcium and magnesium help to improve soil aggregation.
This affects aeration and tilth in clay soils. Sulphur, needed by all plants for
Fi protein synthesis, is obtained from rainwater, farm manure or superphosphate
fertiliser added to the soil.
The roles of the major nutrients in crop production are summarised in Table 8.5.

Nutrient Role in crop production Signs of deficiency

Nitrogen Needed for protein synthesis; promotes general growth and Stunted plant growth, poor root and shoot
juiciness of fruits and grains. development and yellowish leaves.
Phosphorus Speeds up cell division; promotes growth and development Stunted growth, particularly of root systems.
of root systems.
Potassium Essential for chlorophyll development; necessary for Leaves become mottled with scorching at the
photosynthesis; promotes root systems; influences fruit- edges.
Calcium Essential for growth and development of root tips; essential Stunted growth; yellowish colour in leaves.
for cell wall development.
Magnesium Essential for chlorophyll formation; involved in many Chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves).
enzyme reactions.
Sulphur Needed for making proteins. Thin or slender plants; pale green or yellow
leaves; late ripening of fruits. l
Table 8.5 The roles of the major nutrients.

The micro-nutrients are only required by plants in very small quantities. If there is
a deficiency, indicated by poor growth of a crop, they can be supplied to the plants
List the NINE macro-nutrients required by plants. as foliar sprays (applied to the leaves) or combined with other fertilisers and added
Which of these macro-nutrients come from soil? to the soil.

Soil particle-soil nutrient relationship

Plants obtain soil nutrients from two main sources: the adsorbed nutrients on th
surfaces of clay and humus particles (colloids) and the dissolved minerals in tli

8 Soil and soil fertility

soil solution. These essential nutrient elements are present in the form of ions:
cations, anions cations which are positively charged (K', Ca" and Mg") and anions which are
negatively charged (Cl-, SO4 and NO 3 - ). The uptake of ions by the roots is not
passive but requires energy from aerobic respiration.
Soil particles, both mineral and organic, are reservoirs of soil nutrient elements.
These elements may be held in combinations not readily available for plant
nutrition and are released by physical, chemical and biological processes. The rate
of release is affected by environmental conditions in the soil. Table 8.6 summarises
some soil minerals and their associated nutrient elements.

Group of Soil Soil minerals Soil nutrient elements

soil particles particles
Organic Humus Nitrogen, sulphur,
phosphorus, copper.
Inorganic Sand Quartz, feldspars, micas, Potassium, calcium, iron,
hornblende. magnesium, sodium.
Inorganic Silt Feldspars, micas, Calcium, iron, sodium,
haematite, limonite. potassium, magnesium.
Inorganic Clay Kaolinite, illite, Magnesium, iron,
montmorillonite, manganese, zinc.
vermiculite, chlorite.

Table 8.6 Soil minerals and their associated soil nutrient elements.

leaching Once nutrients have been released into the soil, they maybe lost through leaching
in this process soluble substances are removed by water. The nature and size of the
soil particles are directly related to this loss of nutrients. For example, leaching is
greater in soils made up of coarse sand particles than in soils with finer particles,
such as silt and clay. Potassium, a nutrient found in most soils, is generally low in
sandy soils due to leaching.
Similarly, chemical reactions and the exchange of soil nutrient elements are
associated with the nature and size of clay and humus particles. Clay and humus
particles are very small but they possess large surface areas and negative charges
which attract positive nutrient ions and water.
micelle Each particle is referred to as a micelle or micro-cell and has a great capacity for
attracting positively charged nutrient ions. This attraction of nutrient ions to the
surfaces of the clay and humus particles enables nutrients to be held in the soil so
Why are clay and humus particles important in that they are not removed by leaching.
Soil pH
pH of the soil The pH of the soil is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of the soil water.
pH is measured on a scale from 1 to 14. A value of 7 is neutral: values below 7 are
acidic and those from 8 to 14 are alkaline. The pH range for soils is from 3 to 10,
but most tropical soils have a pH value between 5 and 7.
Soils in limestone areas are slightly alkaline due to particles of calcium carbonate.
Sandy soils tend to be slightly acidic because the rain causes leaching of soluble
ions which would otherwise neutralise the acidity.
Acid soils are less fertile than alkaline soils because the acidity causes the mineral
salts to be more soluble and therefore more easily washed away by rain. When
I/I rainfall is greater than evaporation, calcium, magnesium and potassium ions are
leached away from the topsoil as the water moves downwards. The soil becomes
Explain what is meant by the pH of a soil.
more acidic because hydrogen ions replace the calcium, magnesium and potassium
ions. In tropical regions, minerals that are less soluble in water, such as aluminium,
kaolinite and quartz, are left in the top layers of soil. Soil acidity can be reduced
Why are acid soils less fertile than alkaline soi fl by liming.

8 Soil and soil fertility

soil aeration Soil aeration is dependent on soil porosity and also on the amount of the pore
space which is occupied at any one time by soil water. Soil air and soil water
occupy the same pore space and the amounts of each will vary according to the
What is meant by 'soil porosity'? conditions. A well-drained soil contains more air than a waterlogged soil.

Practical activities:
1. Using a sandy soil, a clay soil and a loam, set up an experiment to find out which
soil drains more quickly and which soil holds most water. Make your experiment
quantitative by using measured volumes of soil and water, and by allowing a
specified time for the water to drain through.
2. Soil contains organic and mineral matter. The organic matter consists of dead
and decaying remains of plants and animals. The mineral matter consists of the
weathered rock particles. Follow the instructions to determine the quantity of each
in the soil:
a. Weigh about 10 g of soil (M,) in a heatproof container.
b. Weigh the sample again (M 2 ) before heating it at a high temperature to burn off
the organic matter. Use a propane torch for this.
c. When the soil has cooled, re-weigh the sample (M3).
d. The quantity of organic matter can be calculated by subtracting M 3 from M2.
The quantity of water in the sample is given by subtracting M, from M, and the
quantity of mineral matter is given by M3.

Soil temperature and soil organisms

In the Caribbean, temperature on the soil surface ranges between 23C and 30C.
Within the top 15 cm of soil (the furrow slice), temperatures between 28C and
30C are the most favourable for the soil organisms, biochemical processes and soil
Soil temperature is influenced by sunlight, vegetation cover, soil cover (both
natural and artificial), soil moisture and organic matter content. All these factors,
with the exception of direct sunlight, lower the soil temperature. Soils that lack
vegetation cover and which have little organic matter, lose moisture rapidly when
exposed to direct sunlight. Consequently, the soil temperature will rise.
Soil temperature affects:
macro-organisms soil macro-organisms, such as earthworms, which are more actively
burrowing when it is warm
soil microbial activity which increases when warm and decreases when cold
roots of seedlings which are destroyed by high soil temperatures as plant cells
State THREE major factors which affect soil dehydrate due to evapo-transpiration
temperature. germination of seeds which is more rapid under warm temperatures
soil caking and crusting which occurs as a result of high soil temperatures,
direct sunlight and rapid loss of moisture.

State TWO beneficial effects of warm soil Farmers can lower soil temperature by mulching, cover cropping, intercropping,
temperatures on crop growth. 1 irrigation, improving soil cover and incorporating organic matter into the soil.

Chemical properties of soil

Soil nutrients
Plants require 17 essential nutrient elements for their growth and development.
These are shown in Figure 8.9, overleaf. Fourteen of these are supplied by the soil.
The others (carbon, hydrogen and oxygen) come from air or water.

Section B: Crop Production


Macronutrients (major) I I Micronutrients (minor/trace)

From the soil: From the soil:
nitrogen iron
phosphorus primary elements copper
potassium ) zinc
calcium manganese required in
magnesium secondary elements cobalt ((( small amounts
sulphur I molybdenum
From air and water: chlorine
carbon, hydrogen, oxygen boron

Figure 8.9 The essential nutrient elements.

macro-nutrients Nine of the elements are required in large quantities and are designated as macro-
micro-nutrients nut ri ents. The others are only required in small amounts and are the micro-
nut ri ents or trace elements. The macro-nut ri ent elements are present in soils
as ions and may be de ri ved from the parent rock, released from organic matter
by the activities of soil micro-organisms, or added in the form of fe rt ilisers. For
example, calcium and magnesium occur in limestone and dolomite. Dolomite is a
rock which is processed into dolomitic limestone and used as a liming mate ri al on
acidic soils to reduce the acidity.
primary elements In Figure 8.9, three of the major nutrients are called primary elements. These are
nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and can be supplied to crops in the form of
inorganic fe rt ilisers (see Topic 8.6). Calcium, magnesium and sulphur are known
secondary elements as secondary elements. Calcium and magnesium help to improve soil aggregation.
This affects aeration and tilth in clay soils. Sulphur, needed by all plants for
protein synthesis, is obtained from rainwater, farm manure or superphosphate
fe rt iliser added to the soil.
The roles of the major nutrients in crop production are summarised in Table 8.5.

Nutrient Role in crop production Signs of deficiency

Nitrogen Needed for protein synthesis; promotes general growth and Stunted plant growth, poor root and shoot
juiciness of fruits and grains. development and yellowish leaves.
Phosphorus Speeds up cell division; promotes growth and development Stunted growth, particularly of root systems.
of root systems.
Potassium Essential for chlorophyll development; necessary for Leaves become mottled with scorching at the
photosynthesis; promotes root systems; influences fruit- edges.
Calcium Essential for growth and development of root tips; essential Stunted growth; yellowish colour in leaves.
for cell wall development.
Magnesium Essential for chlorophyll formation; involved in many Chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves).
enzyme reactions.
Sulphur Needed for making proteins. Thin or slender plants; pale green or yellow
leaves; late ri pening of fruits.

Table 8.5 The roles of the major nut ri ents.

The micro-nut ri ents are only required by plants in very small quantities. If there is
^ ta deficiency, indicated by poor growth of a crop, they can be supplied to the plants
List the NINE macro-nutrients required by plants. as foliar sprays (applied to the leaves) or combined with other fe rt ilisers and added
Which of these macro-nu tr ients come from soil? to the soil.

Soil particle-soil nutrient relationship

Plants obtain soil nutrients from two main sources: the adsorbed nutrients on the
surfaces of clay and humus pa rt icles (colloids) and the dissolved minerals in the

8 Soil and soil fertility

soil solution. These essential nutrient elements are present in the form of ions:
cations, anions cations which are positively charged ( K . , Ca' and Mg') and anions which are
negatively charged (C1 - , SO4 and NO, - ). The uptake of ions by the roots is not
passive but requires energy from aerobic respiration.
Soil particles, both mineral and organic, are reservoirs of soil nutrient elements.
These elements may be held in combinations not readily available for plant
nutrition and are released by physical, chemical and biological processes. The rate
of release is affected by environmental conditions in the soil. Table 8.6 summarises
some soil minerals and their associated nutrient elements.

Group of Soil Soil minerals Soil nutrient elements

soil particles particles
Organic Humus Nitrogen, sulphur,
phosphorus, copper.
Inorganic Sand Quartz, feldspars, micas, Potassium, calcium, iron,
hornblende. magnesium, sodium.
Inorganic Silt Feldspars, micas, Calcium, iron, sodium,
haematite, limonite. potassium, magnesium.
Inorganic Clay Kaolinite, illite, Magnesium, iron,
montmorillonite, manganese, zinc.
vermiculite, chlorite.
Table 8.6 Soil minerals and their associated soil nutrient elements.

leaching Once nutrients have been released into the soil, they may be lost through leaching
in this process soluble substances are removed by water. The nature and size of the
soil particles are directly related to this loss of nutrients. For example, leaching is
greater in soils made up of coarse sand particles than in soils with finer particles,
such as silt and clay. Potassium, a nutrient found in most soils, is generally low in
sandy soils due to leaching.
Similarly, chemical reactions and the exchange of soil nutrient elements are
associated with the nature and size of clay and humus particles. Clay and humus
particles are very small but they possess large surface areas and negative charges
which attract positive nutrient ions and water.
micelle Each particle is referred to as a micelle or micro-cell and has a great capacity for
attracting positively charged nutrient ions. This attraction of nutrient ions to the
surfaces of the clay and humus particles enables nutrients to be held in the soil so
Why are clay and humus particles important in that they are not removed by leaching.

Soil pH
pH of the soil The pH of the soil is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of the soil water.
pH is measured on a scale from 1 to 14. A value of 7 is neutral: values below 7 are
acidic and those from 8 to 14 are alkaline. The pH range for soils is from 3 to 10,
but most tropical soils have a pH value between 5 and 7.
Soils in limestone areas are slightly alkaline due to particles of calcium carbonate.
Sandy soils tend to be slightly acidic because the rain causes leaching of soluble
ions which would otherwise neutralise the acidity.
Acid soils are less fertile than alkaline soils because the acidity causes the mineral
salts to be more soluble and therefore more easily washed away by rain. When
rainfall is greater than evaporation, calcium, magnesium and potassium ions are
leached away from the topsoil as the water moves downwards. The soil becomes
Explain what is meant by the pH of a soil.
more acidic because hydrogen ions replace the calcium, magnesium and potassium
ions. In tropical regions, minerals that are less soluble in water, such as aluminium,
kaolinite and quartz, are left in the top layers of soil. Soil acidity can be reduced
Why are acid soils less fertile than alkaline soils? by liming.

Section B: Crop Production

Universal Indicator The pH can be determined using Universal Indicator test strips. Farmers an
interested in the pH of the soil as certain crops favour a certain pH. If necessary
they can adjust the pH to suit their crops.

8.5 The carbon and nitrogen cycles

The carbon and nitrogen cycles are important in making carbon and nitroger
compounds available for the activities of living organisms. Green plants are thi
producers producers, building up their food supplies from carbon dioxide, water and sunligh
(photosynthesis) and also using mineral ions from the soil.
consumers The consumers are the animals which eat both plants and other animals.
decomposers The decomposers in the soil, such as bacteria and fungi, break down the dea(
remains of other organisms, releasing nutrients for plants to use again.
Soil contains large numbers of micro-organisms, many involved in the recyclinj
of nutrients. Some of these organisms are shown in Table 8.7. Bacteria and fung
are of vital importance in nutrient recycling.

Name of group Description Role

Algae Simple photosynthetic organisms. Blue-green algae can fix atmospheric nitrogen in soil.
Actinomycetes Minute, threadlike organisms. Help break down soil organic matter.
Bacteria Single-celled organisms: spherical, spiral or Involved in the nitrogen cycle in nitrogen-fixing,
rod-shaped. nitrification and denitrification; some involved in other
mineral cycles; help break down organic matter.
Fungi Some microscopic, some filamentous Important in humus formation; effective in decomposing
forming visible structures, e.g. mushrooms. plant materials, e.g. lignin and cellulose.
Protozoa Microscopic, single-celled organisms; few Feed on soil bacteria.
present in most soils.
Viruses Microscopic; live in plant and animal cells. Cause diseases in crops and livestock.

Table 8.7 Soil micro-organisms.

The carbon cycle

carbon cycle The carbon cycle (Figure 8.10) shows how carbon and carbon compounds ar
linked to natural processes and products. Three processes underpin the carbo
cycle: photosynthesis, respiration and decomposition.


Figure 8.10 The carbon cycle.

8 Soil and soil fertility

photosynthesis During photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and
use it to manufacture simple sugars (which are carbon-containing compounds);
these are then built up within the plant to make carbohydrates, lipids and proteins.
Animals and humans, as consumers, eat the plants or plant products thereby
taking carbon compounds into their bodies.
All living organisms require energy which is released from carbon compounds
respiration through respiration. Carbon in the form of carbon dioxide is a waste product of
respiration and is released into the atmosphere.
decomposition In the process of decomposition, waste products from crop residues, green
manures, animal urine and faeces, dead and decaying organisms are digested by
micro-organisms. These micro-organisms gain energy from the decomposition
process and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as a result of their
Some carbon dioxide dissolves in soil water forming carbonic acid, carbonates
and bicarbonates of calcium, magnesium and potassium. As these compounds are
soluble, they can be used by plants. Often they are lost through leaching.
When carbon-containing fuels (wood, coal, petroleum and natural gas) are
burnt, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Coal and petroleum come
Name TWO processes in plants associated with from plants which were buried millions of years ago, so these fuels are referred to
the carbon cycle.
as 'fossil fuels'.
The carbon cycle summarises the circulation of carbon compounds in natural
ITU25 processes. It also enables us to understand some of the causes of the 'greenhouse
Which groups of soil microbes are involved in effect', which keeps the Earth warm. 'Global warming' results from increasing
decomposition? levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The nitrogen cycle

Nitrogen is essential for forming plant and animal protein. Figure 8.11 shows the
nitrogen cycle.
Nitrogen as a gas makes up 79% of the Earth's atmosphere, but few organisms
can use it in this form.

How nitrogen in the air is made available to plants

During thunderstorms, lightning converts gaseous nitrogen to nitrogen oxides,
which dissolve in rainwater and get washed into the soil as nitrates. Plants can use
nitrates and they absorb these through their roots.

nitrogen in
the air plant and
animal protein

(nitrogen fixation)

denitrification plants eaten

(denitrifying bacteria) nitrogen-fixing by animals

Clostridium and
root urine and
nodules faeces

nitrates are taken
up by plant roots death and ...b acteria and fungi
nitrification by
bacteria nitrification by
nitrites in
the soil
in the soil

Figure 8.11 The nitrogen cycle.


Section B: Crop Production

nitrogen-fixing bacteria Atmospheric nitrogen is 'fixed' into nitrates by two different groups of nitrogen-
fixing bacteria found in the soil. Rhizobium bacteria enter the roots of leguminous
plants, such as peas and beans, and causes nodules to form (see Figure 8.12).
The bacteria live in the root nodules and take up nitrogen gas and convert it to
compounds of nitrogen which the plants can use to make proteins.
Other bacteria, such as Azotobacter and Clostridium, live freely in the soil. These
bacteria convert nitrogen to ammonium compounds, which can be used by some
plants or oxidised to nitrites and nitrates by other bacteria in the soil.

Nitrifying bacteria
The organic matter which comes from the remains of plants and animals, urine,
Figure 8.12 Root nodules containing faeces, crop residues and compost, undergoes decomposition by bacteria and fungi
nitrogen-fixing bacteria. in the soil and ammonium compounds are formed.
Under aerobic conditions, ammonium compounds are converted to nitrites and
nitrifying bacteria nitrates by nitrifying bacteria. Nitrosomonas converts ammonium compounds to
nitrites and Nitrobacter converts nitrites to nitrates. The nitrates are then taken up
by the plant roots and built into plant protein.
Explain the role of nitrifying bacteria in the
nitrogen cycle. Denitrifying bacteria
denitrifying bacteria In anaerobic soil conditions, denitrifying bacteria obtain their energy by converting
nitrates to nitrogen gas, which escapes from the soil into the atmosphere. This is
also a part of the nitrogen cycle.

Name THREE nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

8.6 The factors affecting soil fertility
soil fertility Soil fertility refers to the productive capacity of a soil in which the soil conditions,
nutrient supply and availability are favourable for the growth of crop plants.
A fertile soil has the following characteristics:
moderately porous with good aeration and drainage
retains adequate moisture
has a high organic matter content and is rich in nutrient elements
has adequate permeability for roots
is slightly acidic (optimum pH 5.5 to 6.5)
is relatively free from toxins, pests and diseases.

Soil fertility is affected by climate, topography, the nature of the parent material,
fertilisers and soil management.

Climatic factors
In the Caribbean, climatic factors determine the crops that can be grown and the
livestock that can be reared. When first colonised by Europeans, the main crops
were those that would not grow in Europe but thrived in the Caribbean. Sugar
cane, coffee and cocoa were grown for export.
The climatic factors which determine where crops are grown are rainfall,
temperature, wind and humidity.

r. Rainfall is seasonal and varied in its intensity. In the rainy season, prolonged
kill rainfall results in waterlogged soils which prevent tillage and also affect the soil
organisms. Heavy rainfall causes flooding in low-lying areas and there is erosion of
soil, together with leaching of nutrients and damage to crops and livestock.
In the dry season, there is a lack of water and it is necessary to irrigate for crop
production to be successful. Many areas, particularly flat islands such as Antigua
and Barbados, have low mean annual rainfalls and prolonged periods of drought.
These dry periods harm plants and reduce productivity.

li [1I1
8 Soil and soil fertility

Most Caribbean countries are between 1 N of the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer
so the climate is tropical with an average range of temperature between 22C and
34C (suitable for year-round agriculture). Although most territories have hilly
areas, there is not a great range of temperature variation.

Since the Caribbean area is mainly made up of small island states, it is wind-
swept and cooled by sea breezes and the north-east trade winds. The winds mean
that a uniform temperature is maintained throughout any island, with occasional
variations. However, the area is prone to hurricanes with high winds and torrential

humidity Humidity (a measure of the water content of the atmosphere) varies according to
the seasons. In the wet season, the humidity is high and in the dry season it is low.
Humid conditions do not affect soil fertility, but during periods of high humidity
List the climatic factors which affect soil fertility. there is greater spread of fungal diseases.

Biotic factors
Agricultural activities impact on soil fertility, especially those practices which involve
the preparation, use and tillage of the land. In clearing land for crop production, it is
poor practice to burn natural vegetation as this destroys organic matter in the soil.
The topsoil is exposed to erosion and soil organisms, especially micro-organisms
which bring about decomposition and the formation of humus, are destroyed.
Some agricultural practices, such as planting trees, help to conserve topsoil,
retain water in the soil and preserve the micro-organisms.

Topographic factors
Most Caribbean countries are hilly and few have large areas of flat land. This affects
How do topographic features affect soil fertility in soil fertility in several ways. Soils on the slopes of mountains are shallow due to
the Caribbean? erosion and the most fertile soils are in the valleys.
Because accessibility is limited in hilly areas, farmers find it difficult to till the soil
and improve soil fertility. There are restrictions on the use of heavy farm machinery
in such regions, so effective land preparation cannot be carried out. Farming in the
hilly areas is limited to small enterprises.

The nature of the parent material

parent material The parent material of soils consists of rocks which make up the Earth's crust.
These rocks vary in size from large masses to small fragments such as boulders,
gravel and stones. All rocks are made up of inorganic minerals which have become
consolidated and hardened geologically. They become weathered physically,
chemically and biologically to form soils.

Types of rocks
igneous Igneous rocks are formed from the
cooling and solidification of molten
rock. The major minerals in these rocks Igneous Sedimentary Metamorphic
are quartz, micas and feldspars. Examples: Examples: Examples:
sedimentary Sedimentary rocks are formed from granite sandstone quartzite
quartz shale slate
other rocks which have been weathered, micas li mestone schist
transported and deposited at the bottom
of swamps, lakes or seas through Figure 8.13 Types of rocks.
natural forces. As a result of geological
processes, heat and pressure the material becomes hardened into sedimentary
rocks. The minerals normally found in sedimentary rocks include sandstone, shale
and limestone.
Section B: Crop Production

metamorphic Metamorphic rocks result from changes which occur to igneous and
sedimentary rocks when they are subjected to intense heat, pressure and
chemical processes within the Earth's crust. In the case of sedimentary rocks,
sandstone is changed to quartzite, shale to slate and limestone to marble.
Igneous rocks are changed to gneisses and schists.
Practical activity: The fertility of soils depends on the nature and sizes of the particles derived from
Test a range of soil types for the rocks. Soils derived from limestone tend to be alkaline and those derived from
acidity and alkalinity. sandstone are usually acidic.

Land management
The way in which land is managed by farmers has an impact on soil fertility. Good
management benefits the soil and can bring about higher yields of crops.
Good management practices include:
agro-forestry and silviculture which conserve topsoil and water and also
preserve the soil organisms
application of fertilisers, organic matter and lime to improve the nutrient
status of the soil, maintain fertility and promote crop growth
efficient land clearing
avoiding the burning of vegetation
rti pruning, tillage, drainage, mulching, staking, cover cropping and planting
How does silviculture benefit soil fertility? shade trees on pastures all these improve the soil condition.

agro-forestry Agro-forestry is a system of land use in which harvestable trees or shrubs are
silviculture grown among or around crops or on pastureland. Silviculture is the growing of
forest trees.
Taking care with chemicals
The use of hazardous chemicals and the inefficient disposal of waste materials
cause pollution of water and soil. There is also a risk of these chemicals destroying
the soil micro-organisms.

Inorganic and organic fertilisers

inorganic fertilisers Inorganic fertilisers include sulphate of ammonia, nitrate of potash (saltpetre)
and NPK (consisting of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium). These fertilisers
are manufactured through chemical processes. They are also known as artificia'
organic fertilisers Organic fertilisers are derived from plant and animal remains. Organic fertiliser,
are referred to as manures or compost. They improve the structure, aeration an(
drainage of soils in addition to supplying nutrients.
Both manures and inorganic fertilisers supply nutrients. The manures maintail
and improve the soil's structural properties and supply essential nutrients. Th,
artificial fertilisers contribute a concentrated supply of essential soil nutrients bu
do not affect the structural properties of the soil.
soil amendments Soil amendments describe substances such as lime, gypsum, sulphur, bagass(
coffee-hulls, manure and organic fertilisers which may be used to improve so
properties. These substances make the soil more productive, correct soil nuttier
deficiencies and replace nutrient elements lost through crop removal. Th
VA N maintenance of soil fertility is described in Topic 8.10.

Pw l
Practical activity: 8.7 Importance of minor nutrients in crop
Set up experimental trials to grow
seedlings using a fertilised soil
and an unfertilised soil. Use the The minor nutrients are referred to as micro-nutrients or trace elements. They a
important for plant growth as they are found in many of the enzymes needed f
same type of seedlings in each
cells to function properly. It is not always easy to identify the effects of individu
elements. For example, yellowing of leaves could be due to a lack of magnesiiu
sulphur, nitrogen or iron (see Table 8.8).

8 Soil and soil fertility

Element Function Signs of deficiency

Manganese Present in enzymes involved in Flecks appear on leaves.
Iron Present in enzymes; Yellowing of young leaves
essential for the formation of caused by lack of chlorophyll.
Copper Present in enzymes involved in Die-back of shoots.
Zinc Present in respiratory enzymes. ' Mottle leaf' of citrus; 'sickle-
leaf' of cocoa.
Molybdenum Involved in amino acid Reduced growth; 'scald' disease
synthesis in plants; nitrogen of beans.
Why is iron necessary for plant growth? fixation.
Boron Needed for normal cell division Abnormal growth and death of
in root and shoot tips. shoot tips; 'heart-rot' of beet;
'stem-crack' of celery.
What is lacking in the soil if citrus plants show
signs of 'mottle leaf'? Table 8.8 Minor (trace) elements, their functions and signs of deficiency.

8.8 Fertiliser ratio

simple fertilisers Inorganic fertilisers can be simple fertilisers, supplying one of the major nutrient
elements: nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium. For example, urea provides
nitrogen, single superphosphate provides phosphorus and muriate of potash
provides potassium.

What does fertiliser ratio mean?

compound fertilisers Mixed or compound fertilisers provide two or more of these elements in a simple
fertiliser ratio fertiliser ratio. Low grade fertilisers contain less than 25% of the nutrient elements,
medium grade contain between 25% and 40% and high grade more than 40%.
Manufacturers of fertilisers normally use labels which indicate the percentage of
nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), together with the ratio of these
three elements, on their fertiliser bags. Labelling indicates the type and grade of
fertiliser that is offered for sale, as well as the nutrient content and the nutrient
ratio (see Table 8.9).

Percentages N:P:K Total nutrient content ( %) N:P:K Nutrient ratio,"

5:10:5 20 1:2:1
10:10:10 30 1:1:1
10:20:10 40 1:2:1
12:12:18 42 1:1:1.5
22:11:11 44 2:1:1
21:14:14 49 1.5:1:1
20:20:20 60 1:1:1

Table 8.9 Nutrient ratios of some compound fertilisers.

From Table 8.9, we can see that some fertilisers have different percentages of total
nutrients but the same nutrient ratio. For example, NPK 5:10:5 and NPK 10:20:10
have the same nutrient ratio but their total nutrient content is different. NPK 5:10:5
has a total nutrient content of 20%, whereas NPK 10:20:10 has a total nutrient
content of 40%.
Fertilisers with a higher nutrient content will cost more. So while two fertilisers,
such as NPK 20:10:10 and NPK 10:5:5 with the same nutrient ratio of 2:1:1, may
be suitable for particular crops, the rates of application must be adjusted because
of the difference in their total nutrient content. If NPK 10:5:5 at the rate of

Section B: Crop Production

500 kg per hectare is recommended for a pa rt icular crop and the farmer only has
NPK 20:10:10, then he will need to apply 250 kg per hectare as this fe rt iliser has
State the impo rt ance of the manufacturers' labels twice the total nut ri ent content of the NPK 10:5:5.
on bags of fe rt iliser.

8.9 Maintaining soil fertility

Explain what is meant by the fertiliser ratio.
Keeping the soil in a fertile state is a challenge for farmers. Several methods can
be used:
soil amendments
cropping systems
soil and land management
irri gation and drainage.



cultural practices cropping systems soil amendments erosion control measures

moulding crop rotation manures vegetative cover
tillage cover crops fertilisers strip cropping
drainage inter-cropping compost contouring
irrigation multiple cropping organic matter grass barriers
mulching liming materials terracing

Figure 8.14 Methods of improving and maintaining soil fertility.

Soil amendments
Soil amendments include any materials that supply ingredients and nutrient
elements which collectively improve soil structure and maintain soil fertili ty. They
vary in type, but their main functions are to improve soil structure, to increase
water-holding capacity and permeability, to supply nutrient elements, to ensure
adequate drainage and aeration and to neutralise soil acidity.
Soil amendments include:
inorganic fe rtilisers
organic matter
liming materials.
manures Manures are also known as organic fe rt ilisers and can be grouped as follows:
pen manures are the partially decomposed solid materials derived from
livestock pens; consist of dung/droppings, bedding or litter; slurry from
washing pens of dairy cattle and other farm animals
compost manure derived from the leaf litter and crop residues
green manure refers to a green crop, preferably a legume, that is ploughed
into the soil at its flowering stage; adds nitrogen to the soil
guano from the droppings from birds; contains large amounts of nitrogen and
bonemeal made by grinding bones from meat processing companies; contains
0^^r some nitrogen but large amounts of phosphate.

t',Ptq. Manures, such as pen, guano and compost, are spread evenly over ploughed
land and rotovated into the soil. If the manure is liquid, as in slurry, it is spread
mechanically over ploughed land and pasture using a slur ry spreader.

Inorganic fe rt ilisers
inorganic fe rt ilisers Inorganic fertilisers may be simple inorganic fe rt ilisers, supplying one of the majpr
nutrients, or compound inorganic fe rt ilisers, supplying two or more nut ri ents.

8 Soil and soil fertility

Some examples of simple fertilisers and the nutrients they supply are urea
(nitrogen), muriate of potash (potassium), triple superphosphate (phosphorus)
and ammonium sulphate (nitrogen and it also lowers the soil pH). Compound
fertilisers usually contain the three major nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and
NPK fertilisers potassium, and are referred to as NPK fertilisers. The ratios and percentages of
these three nutrients vary in different grades of NPK fertilisers (see Topic 8.8).
There are several methods of applying fertilisers, depending on the type of
fertiliser, the area to be covered and the crop to which it is being applied. For large-
scale applications, the fertiliser is usually spread by machinery, but on small farms
it is done by hand.

lit >'*.: '.. fertiliser

r \ ,
i\ CA' \
. /No\ ,
.:.,:. :. . ,. .. . , . . ?,. .,:.:. _
, .
row crop fertiliser
,.broadcasting 2. direct placement 3. row application
tree crop soil surface

, ,,,... pk_L-scrn_i upper slope
Al& / seed
4.; c
..,,,,/! :11t...74.- fertiliser on soil surface or
beneath soil
4. band application 5. drill applies 6. hillside application

liquid fertiliser '-

7 ,-...., fertiliser
fertiliser .....W -
\ t'--- f
in holes W.
e crop plants

* 21. X = <09,

holes made with crowbar
7. hole placement 8. soil incorporation 9. foliar application

Figure 8.15 Methods of applying fertilisers.

Farmers need to determine the fertiliser requirements of their crops. To do this,

several factors need to be taken into consideration (see Table 8.10).

Factor Consideration Fertiliser requirement

Type of soil Determine whether soil is sandy, clay May need to consider a mixture of organic manures and inorganic
or loam; nutrients are readily leached fertilisers, depending on soil type.
from sandy soils; need to check pH of
soil as well.
Crop group Whether crop is leafy vegetable, cereal, Leafy vegetables and cereals need nitrogen and phosphorus; root
legume, root crop, cucurbit or fruit. crops need phosphate and potassium; cucurbit and fruit crops need
nitrogen and potassium; legumes are nitrogen-fixing so reducing the
need for nitrogen.
Crop stage Crop has different nutrient In their vegetative state, crops need large amounts of nitrogen;
requirements at different stages of during the flowering and fruiting stages they need large amounts of
growth. phosphorus and potassium.
Weather Whether it is wet or dry at time of If the soil is too wet, nutrients may be rapidly lost through leaching; if
conditions application. it is too dry, nutrients may not be taken up by the crop.

Table 8.10 Fertiliser requirements of crops.

Section B: Crop Production
Methods of application depend on the:
type, age and stage of development of the crop
system of planting: distance apart of rows; distance apart of plants
Practical activity: machinery and equipment available
Watch demonstrations of different availability of labour
methods of applying fertilisers. weather conditions.

Different methods of application are illustrated in Figure 8.15.

Organic matter
organic matter Organic matter, other than manures and compost, may be used on soils to improve
the water-holding capacity. Waste materials, such as bagasse from sugar cane
processing, coffee-hulls and sawdust, may be used for this purpose. Sometimes
they are used as 'fillers' in fertilisers, where they add bulk and serve as inert

Liming materials
liming materials Liming materials are usually applied to acidic soils to reduce soil acidity, to increase
calcium and magnesium ions in the soil, to reduce the concentrations of iron,
aluminium and manganese, and to promote the activities of the soil micro-
Lime may be added to the soil as:
calcium oxide [CaO] referred to as quicklime or burnt lime
calcium hydroxide [Ca(OH) 2 ], known as slaked lime
calcium carbonate [(CaCO 3 )], also known as chalk or ground limestone
calcium magnesium carbonate [CaMg(CO 3 )] or dolomitic limestone.

Lime is usually applied to acidic soil during preparation of the land and before
any crops have been planted. Before it is done, the soil is tested in a laboratory to
What are soil amendments and why are they determine the recommended rate of application. In the Caribbean, soil testing is
used? carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture at no cost to farmers.
The land to be limed is ploughed using a disc plough or a mouldboard plough.
I '' Lime is then spread evenly over the ploughed area, at the recommended rate,
List FOUR factors that a farmer should consider either manually or mechanically. Using a rotovator, the lime is mixed thoroughly
before adding fertiliser to his crops. within the top half of the furrow slice (7-10 cm).
Finely ground limestone applied during land preparation produces more speedy

What are the benefits of adding lime to soils?

flI and effective results. Dolomitic limestone is often preferred because it supplies
both calcium and magnesium to the soil

Cropping systems
Cropping systems include crop rotation, cover crops, intercropping and multiple
cropping (see Chapter 12). The inclusion of deep-rooted, shallow-rooted,
leguminous and cover crops in a cropping system improves soil fertility by cycling
nutrients between the upper and lower levels of the soil. Leguminous crops
encourage nitrogen fixation. Adequate vegetative cover reduces the loss of soil
and nutrients.

Cultural practices
The physical condition of the soil can be improved and soil fertility maintained by
tillage, draining and irrigation where needed. Tillage maintains soil structure and
contributes to the aeration and drainage. It also makes it easier for roots to grow and
incorporates organic material into the soil. Adequate drainage is important in the
wet season. In the dry season, the soil must retain enough water for crop growth
and this may mean that some form of irrigation is necessary (see Chapter 12).

8 Soil and soil fertility

8.10 Composting
composting Composting refers to the process by which organic matter (leaves, soft stems,
rejected fruits and vegetables) is decomposed to form compost manure. In making
compost, several essential components are required and each has its specific
function (see Table 8.11).

Material or component Function in the composting process

Organic matter: leaves, To undergo decomposition by micro-organisms to
soft stems, rejected fruits, form compost manure.
vegetables and peelings.
Starter: pen manure or To introduce micro-organisms (decomposers) to the
compost manure. compost heap.
Sulphate of ammonia. To supply nitrogen which enables the micro-
organisms to multiply and increase their population.
Ground limestone. To provide a suitable pH within the compost
environment, to encourage rapid microbial activity.
Water. To provide moisture for a humid environment to
help microbial activity.

Table 8.11 Composting materials and their function.

Making compost
To prepare compost, a suitable site needs to be chosen. It should be well-drained
and close to the garden or cropping area. The base of the composting area should be
concrete and measure 4.0 m long x 1.5 m wide. Instead of concrete, plastic sheeting
could be securely pinned to the ground. It is usual to divide the composting area
into three equal compartments, each approximately 1.3 m wide and 1.5 m long.
The Phase 3 Section needs a protective cover
to prevent loss of nutrients through run-off and
leaching. A shed is useful for storing composted
Phase 1 section Phase 2 section storage shed with
compost manure
material and to protect it from rain.
When construction of the composting area has
been completed, all composting materials should be
collected and sorted. All bottles, plastic containers,
stones and tin cans need to be removed. Plants with
hard woody stems are difficult to compost and it is
concrete base
a good idea to remove nut-grass and weed plants
Figure 8.16 The composting area. with seeds.
The Phase 1 Section is then built up as follows:
a layer of starter material, consisting of pen manure, is placed on the base to a
depth of 10 cm
a layer of organic matter is loosely arranged on top of the starter and built up
to about 25 cm in thickness; both the starter layer and the organic matter need
to be loosely arranged to allow air to circulate
1.0 kg of sulphate of ammonia is broadcast over the organic matter layer
0.5 kg of ground limestone is spread evenly on top of this
alternate layers of starter and organic material (plus the fertiliser and
limestone) are stacked until a height of 1.5 m to 2.0 m is reached
the heap is watered and kept loose and moist.

After 3 to 4 weeks, all the materials in the Phase 1 Section are transferred to the
Phase 2 Section, making sure that the undecomposed materials that were at the
bottom and sides of the old heap are placed in the middle of the new heap. A
suitable moisture level is maintained by watering when necessary. The compost is
left in the Phase 2 Section for a further 3 to 4 weeks, after which time it is moved
to the Phase 3 Section. The compost is left to decompose here for another 3 to

Section B: Crop Production

4 weeks. At the end of this period, the compost is transferred to the storage area
and is ready to be used on the garden or cropping area.
Make a list of the materials which need to be
During the decomposition of organic material, microbial activity results in high
removed from waste before it is composted.
temperatures which destroy parasitic organisms and some of the weed seeds in the
r4 plant wastes.
Once the material has been moved out of the Phase 1 Section, a new heap can
Explain why fertiliser and limestone are added to
be built up in this section, following the same sequence. In this way, the farmer has
the compost heap.
a continuous supply of compost to maintain soil fertility.
The composting process described here is suitable for situations where there is
a lot of vegetable waste and the farmer has a large enough area on which to build
Practical activity:
a site and storage area. Smaller farmers and gardeners may use specially designed
Prepare some compost following
plastic bins, which take up less space.
the guidelines given above.

8.11 Soil erosion

soil erosion Soil erosion is the process by which particles of soil are carried away from one area,
by water or wind, and deposited at another area. All soils undergo erosion, but if
there has been no clearing or cultivation of the land, the rate of erosion is slow and
allows the processes of soil formation to continue. If vegetation cover is removed,
Practical activity: as when land is cleared for agriculture, forestry or grazing, then the soil is exposed
Carry out a demonstration of soil to wind and water. Soil erosion is speeded up and can become a problem.
erosion using models which you Factors that control the amount of soil erosion are:
have made. amount of rainfall
wind speed and intensity
the type of rock
the slope of the land
r-i the amount and type of vegetation cover
Write a definition of soil erosion. the presence of grazing animals.

8.12 Different types of soil erosion

Soil erosion can be entirely due to natural causes or it can result from human
natural soil erosion Natural soil erosion occurs in an undisturbed natural environment as a result of:
running water on steep slopes
running water on sloping areas with loose, friable soil
landslides of loose, saturated soil, perched on an impervious layer, in hilly or
mountainous areas
strong winds blowing over loose soil in dry, semi-arid or and (desert) areas
sea-waves pounding the land in coastal areas.

accelerated soil erosion Accelerated soil erosion occurs as a result of the activities of human beings who
disturb the natural environment, creating soil conditions which speed up soil
erosion by water and wind.
These activities include:
burning the vegetation on the land, including 'slash and burn' agriculture
-- overgrazing of pastures by livestock
deforestation (the cutting and removal of trees)
Name the TWO main types of soil erosion.
mining and quarrying operations
creating bare soil patches on the land by overweeding or brushcutting too
List THREE causes of both the types of soil lack of ground cover, such as a cover crop or a mulch
erosion named in ITO 41. unsuitable cultural or soil conservation practices on hilly terrain.

8 Soil and soil fertility

8.13 The causes of soil erosion

1 Water
In the Caribbean, soil erosion by water is a problem during the rainy season.

Type of erosion Cause Effects

Splash Impact of heavy raindrops. Dislodges soil particles which splash on to young plants;
soil particles are carried away by running water.
Sheet Running water dislodges soil particles. Soil particles move downhill as a 'sheet of soil'; soil
gathers at the base of the hill.
Rill Water running down a bare area of sloping Creates many tiny channels, known as rills, where soil
land. has eroded away.
Gully High intensity rainfall and fast-flowing water Rills become more eroded. This leads to fewer, wider
on a sloping area of land. and deeper channels which are called gullies.
Landslide Intensive rainfall on loose soil above a sloping Loose soil slides away in this situation when it is
impervious layer. saturated with water.
Loss of topsoil Running water in hilly or mountainous areas. If soil is not protected by a cover crop, organic matter or
a mulch, topsoil can be lost.
Silting up of Soil particles carried away by running water. Causes silting up of streams and rivers, eventually
water courses leading to flooding of a river basin.
Alluvial soil Soil particles brought down mountainous Alluvial soil deposits form at the mouths of rivers, on
deposits slopes by streams and rivers. river banks and on flood plains.

Table 8.12 The types, causes and effects of soil erosion by water.

0 1, 1
water flows downhill
0 aa
soil builds up

splash erosion sheet erosion

rill erosion on a hillside gully erosion (rills have joined together)

Figure 8.17 Some examples of soil erosion caused by water.

soil creep Wind can also cause soil erosion. Strong winds can cause soil creep, which is the
gradual movement of loose soil particles, such as sand, on the soil surface towards
the opposite direction from which the wind is blowing.
saltation Saltation of soil particles occurs when strong winds cause loose soil particles to
leap suddenly, become airborne for a while and then eventually fall to the ground,
forming heaped areas of soil. Where mining, quarrying and land preparation
operations are carried out under dry soil conditions, soil particles in suspension are
Explain how wind can cause erosion. transported by winds and may be deposited many kilometres away.
Soil particles in the atmosphere can cause respiratory problems in people and in
farm animals.

Section 8: Crop Production

burning vegetation Burning vegetation as part of land clearing has positive and negative effect
Among the positive effects are:
unwanted material, such as cane-trash, is burnt out, so cane-cutters work
more efficiently
land clearing can be carried out more speedily
` harmful plants, such as nettles, are destroyed
List TWO advantages and TWO disadvantages of harmful animals, such as snakes, scorpions, centipedes and the nests of wasps
burning vegetation when clearing land for crop are destroyed
the ashes on the land add potash to the soil
the soil is sterilised as a result of the intense heat.

However, burning vegetation is not recommended as it creates smoke pollution i

the atmosphere. It is recommended instead that harmful plants and crop residue
are cut and stacked in an area where they can decompose slowly.
Other negative effects of burning vegetation are:
the destruction of organic matter which took many years to accumulate
humus in the soil is also destroyed
soil organisms are killed
the soil surface becomes bare with no plant cover so it is more exposed to soil
soil water is lost more rapidly through evaporation
leaching of nutrients can occur more readily.

Any bare land exposed to heavy rainfall can lose nutrients through leaching an
mineral particles from run-off. The effects of animals, through grazing or trampling
can leave soil bare and open to erosion, particularly in the rainy season.

` 8.14 Soil and water conservation methods
soil conservation Soil conservation refers to protecting the soil from erosion and maintaining i
fertility. It is of great importance to agriculture in the Caribbean region.

Cultural practices which conserve the soil

Cultural practices play a vital role in preventing soil erosion and maintaining sc
minimum tillage Minimum tillage is where soil is only cultivated to provide the planting hole
and rows for the crops. It does not expose soil to rainwater and can therefo
reduce erosion in hilly and mountainous areas.
ridging Ridging is where ridges are built across a slope to prevent the rapid flow of watt
downhill, and it can reduce soil erosion and help to retain water in the soil.
Organic matter, such as mulches or weeds that have been uprooted and If
lying on the soil, will reduce the direct impact of rain drops and allow water
mulch filter slowly down into the soil. A mulch is a protective covering over the s(
surface, usually of organic matter.
Rotational grazing helps to conserve pasture, because the animals are movt
around and the formation of bare patches is avoided (see page 243).

The importance of vegetative cover

vegetative cover Vegetative cover (see Figure 8.18) refers to a layer of vegetation covering ti
surface of the soil. Vegetation is used to prevent soil erosion and includes ti
following practices:

8 Soil and soil fertility

the planting of cover crops, which grow and spread rapidly, providing a
protective covering on the ground (legumes are often used as cover crops)
contour cropping where crops are cultivated along the contours of sloping land
strip cropping where deep-rooted and shallow-rooted crops are cultivated
in strips,1 to 1.5 m wide, across a hill slope (this is very similar to contour
grass barriers (normally included in a strip cropping system); the grass is
planted in line with the contours of the land; the fibrous roots of the grass
grow in thick clusters and bind the soil particles together
grassed drains using matted grass, such as Savanna or Bermuda, which is
Figure 8.18 A cover crop: an grown, cut and kept low in box drains dug across or down gentle slopes.
example of vegetative cover.

Forests and soil conservation

Forests are very important in soil management and water management. The roots
of trees and forest plants grow in thick clusters, binding soil particles and controlling
leaf litter soil erosion. The leaf litter that builds up provides a thick layer of organic matter
on the soil surface, covering and protecting the soil and reducing evaporation.
This organic matter is then decomposed by soil micro-organisms and nutrients are
released into the soil. The activities of other soil organisms mix upper and lower
layers of the soil so that nutrients are cycled. The forest canopy provides shade and
Identify FOUR different methods of using
vegetative cover to control soil erosion. helps to control the drying out of streams.
The planting of forest trees in mountainous regions can control soil erosion and
forests may be established as wind-breaks in areas where the soil is loose and liable
to wind erosion. Sometimes forest trees are cultivated amongst food crops, such as
Now does terracing prevent soil erosion? banana, cassava, citrus and avocado (this is an example of agro-forestry). The trees
stabilise the soil, providing vegetative cover and shade.
In arid and semi-arid areas, wind erosion is a major problem and the most
wind-breaks common method used to conserve the soil is the construction of wind-breaks.
Rows of trees are planted along the edges of cultivated areas. The trees slow down
the speed of the wind and prevent large amounts of sand or soil being blown away
to other areas.

Terracing and contour ploughing

terracing Terracing involves the construction of relatively flat strips of land along the
contours of a hillside, forming a number of steps which are sometimes referred
to as bench terraces. The broad banks of earth prevent water running down the
slope, controlling soil loss and soil moisture.
contour ploughing On gentle slopes, contour ploughing is practised. Land is cultivated along
the contours, preventing water flowing downhill. Before contour ploughing or
terracing, the farmer needs to establish the contour lines. This can be done using a
simple A-frame and marking the lines with stones or sticks (see page 346).

Water conservation and soils

With a climate that has a rainy season and a dry season, water conservation is
essential on most Caribbean farms. Farmers depend on water storage systems,
drains and dry farming techniques.

Water storage systems

Water storage systems used by farmers may include tanks, ponds, pools and wells.
Storage tanks can be made of galvanised iron, concrete reinforced with steel or
rotoplastic (pvc). Water-holding capacity varies and a farmer may have three or
more large tanks each holding 4500 litres, depending on the nature and size of the
Ponds and pools are normally constructed in the dry season, so that they are
ready for the onset of the rainy season. Often, fish are reared in ponds providing

Section B: Crop Production

another source of income for the farmer.

Wells can be dug out (from 3 to 10
Name TWO water storage systems which are metres in depth). The water comes from
commonly found on farms.
underground springs and the height to
which it rises depends on the water table.
gabions Gabions are cages of wire mesh, filled
with soil, rocks or sand. They are used
in constructing dams, retaining walls or
directing the flow of flood water. They
have advantages over other methods
of construction as they can be arranged
in various ways, are resistant to being Figure 8.19 A gabion retaining wall.
washed away, and drain freely. In a gabion
weir, the mesh baskets are arranged to
form a channel down a slope.

Drainage channels are dug around fields and plots. These can drain away excess
water in the rainy season and be used for irrigation in the dry season. Contour
drains are constructed across the hill slope, along the contour, to prevent the rapid
flow of water downhill.

Dry farming techniques

dry farming techniques Dry farming techniques include any technique which conserves water or prevents
the evaporation of too much water from the soil surface in the dry season. These
techniques include minimum tillage, mulching, use of manure and compost and
cover crops. Controlled irrigation (using manual systems, hoses or sprinklers) may
be used to water crop plants in the dry season.

Practical activities:
1. Use an A-frame to establish
contour lines. See page 346 for Soil consists of four components: mineral matter, organic matter, water and air.
advice on using an A-frame. The mineral component is derived from rocks by physical, chemical and
2. Visit a watershed management biological weathering.
area. Most physical weathering is brought about by frost, but stresses from roots, the
action of water, wind and the sun can contribute to breakdown of rocks.
Chemical weathering alters the chemical nature of rock and can be brought
about by water, oxygen and carbonic acid.
Biological weathering refers to the activities of living organisms which bring
about the disintegration of rocks and the formation of soil.
Volcanic soils are formed from the magma and volcanic ash which follow an
Plant and animal matter is broken down by soil micro-organisms to form
Some animals contribute to soil formation by burrowing, and plant roots create
channels in the soil.
Farming activities such as land clearing, mining and tillage affect soil formation
and fertility.
A soil profile refers to the vertical wall of a pit showing different horizontal
layers or soil horizons, each with varying physical and chemical properties.
The mineral component of soil consists of different sized particles classified as
gravel, sand, silt and clay.
The organic matter is made up of the dead and decaying remains of plants and
animals in the process of being broken down to form humus.
The soil water, containing dissolved mineral salts, is present in the pore spaces
and as films around the tiny mineral particles.

8 Soil and soil fertility

Soil air depends on the air-water relationship in the pore spaces. It is important
for aeration, root respiration and biochemical processes.
Soils may be classified into sand, clay and loams, depending on the proportions
of the different sizes of the mineral particles.
Soil texture is dependent on the size and relative proportions of the different
mineral particles.
Soil structure is dependent on the aggregation of the mineral particles into
lumps and crumbs.
Soil porosity and soil aeration are interdependent and are affected by the
drainage of the soil.
Soil temperature affects living organisms in the soil, particularly the activities
of the micro-organisms. Mulching, vegetation cover and irrigation can help to
keep soils cool.
Soil contains 14 of the 17 essential mineral elements for plant growth.
Soil nutrients are present in the soil solution and also held around the colloidal
clay and humus particles.
Soil microbes are essential for the decomposition of organic matter, the
formation of humus and the recycling of mineral elements in the soil.
The carbon and nitrogen cycles show the transformations which these elements
undergo as they are cycled in nature.
Soil fertility is influenced by climatic, biotic and topographic factors, together
with the nature of the parent material and fertilisers.
Minor elements (trace elements) are important for the healthy growth of crops.
These are only required in tiny amounts but have significant effects on crop
production if lacking.
( Inorganic fertilisers supply one or more of the three major nutrients, nitrogen,
phosphorus or potassium, and are graded according to the proportions of each
nutrient they contain.
Soil fertility is maintained by the application of soil amendments, the use of
different cropping systems, efficient soil and land management, irrigation and
Soil amendments include fertilisers, manures, organic matter and liming
A farmer needs to work out which amendments are needed for the land and
any crops grown on it.
Liming materials reduce soil acidity, increase calcium and magnesium and
It promote the activities of soil organisms.
Cropping systems and cultural practices help to maintain soil fertility.
tg Compost is made from waste plant material, such as leaves, soft stems, vegetable
peelings and rejected fruits.
11 A compost heap can be constructed using layers of pen manure, vegetable
waste, fertiliser and limestone.
[11 Soil erosion is the process by which soil particles are carried from one area by
water or wind and deposited in another area.
to Natural soil erosion occurs in a natural undisturbed environment but accelerated
soil erosion is caused by humans.
Soil erosion is caused by intensive rainfall which results in water running down
slopes carrying soil particles with it.
:al Wind can cause erosion in dry or semi-arid conditions where the soil particles
are loose.
as Soil conservation involves retaining a cover of vegetation, planting forests,
contour-cropping, strip cropping, the formation of terraces and wind-breaks.
Water conservation measures include the use of storage tanks, building of pond
and pools and digging of wells.

Section B: Crop Production

1101 Weathering is the breaking down of bedrock into smaller and smaller
particles by physical, chemical and biological processes.
1102 Physical, chemical and biological.
ITQ3 Physical weathering is brought about by the action of frost, water and
1104 Rainwater dissolves the carbonates in the rock, which then breaks up into
smaller fragments.
1105 Plant roots growing in cracks exert pressure which causes rocks to split.
1106 Volcanic activity, decaying organic matter, soil organisms and human
1107 Draw a diagram with all the horizons labelled and check with the diagram
on page 95.
1108 Depending on the thickness of each horizon, 0 will always be disturbed
and parts of A. If the A horizon is thin, then all of A and part of B will be
1109 Stones, sand, silt and clay; sand may be divided into fine sand and coarse
11010 Organic matter is composed of the fresh and decaying remains of plant
and animal material and humus.
11011 Soil air and soil water occupy the pore space in the soil. If there is a high
proportion of soil air, there will be less soil water and vice versa.
11012 A loam soil has a mixture of sand, silt and clay particles in more or less
equal proportions. A sandy soil has a larger proportion of sand particles.
11013 Soil texture refers to the coarseness or the fineness of the soil the 'feel'
of the soil.
11014 The farmer can rub the soil between the thumb and fingers or the soil can
be made wet and moulded in the hand.
11015 Prism-like or columnar with smooth flat faces.
11016 Climate, activities of soil organisms, presence of humus, activities of roots,
tillage operations.
11017 Soil porosity is the volume of pore space in a lump of soil that is not
occupied by mineral particles.
11018 Three from: soil cover; sunlight; vegetation cover; soil moisture; organic
matter content.
11019 Microbial activity is increased, soil organisms are more active and the
germination of seeds is more rapid.
11020 The nine macro-nutrients are nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon,
phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, calcium and magnesium. They all come
from the soil apart from carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
IT021 Nutrients are adsorbed on to clay and humus particles. They have large
surface areas and surface charges which attract the nutrient ions and
ITQ22 It is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of the soil water and
indicates the acidity or alkalinity of the soil.
ITQ23 The mineral salts are more soluble and more easily leached away in the
11024 Respiration and photosynthesis.
11025 Actinomycetes, bacteria and fungi.
11026 Nitrifying bacteria convert ammonium compounds to nitrites and nitrites
to nitrates.

8 Soil and soil fertility

ITQ27 Rhizobium, Azotobacter and Clostridium.

ITQ28 Climatic factors affecting soil fertility are rainfall, temperature, wind and
11029 Soils on the slopes of mountains and hills are shallow due to erosion.
Fertile soils are found in the valleys. The mountainous and hilly regions
are difficult to cultivate.
ITQ30 Topsoil and water in the soil are conserved. There is less erosion and the
activities of soil organisms are promoted by the organic matter in the
form of leaf litter on the soil.
II- 031 Iron is needed for the formation of chlorophyll molecules.
11032 There is a deficiency of zinc in the soil.
11033 The labels indicate the nutrient content and the nutrient ratio.
111134 It is the ratio of N, P and K in the fertiliser.
ITQ35 Soil amendments are materials that supply ingredients and nutrient
elements which improve soil fertility. Their function is to improve soil
structure, increase water-holding capacity and ensure drainage and
ITQ36 Type of soil, crop group, crop stage and weather conditions.
ITQ37 Reduces soil acidity, increases calcium and magnesium and promotes the
activities of soil micro-organisms.
11038 List to include: bottles, plastic containers, tin cans, stones, woody stems,
nut grass and weed plants with seeds.
ITQ39 Fertiliser supplies nitrogen for the micro-organisms and the limestone
provides a suitable pH for the micro-organisms.
IT040 Soil erosion is the process by which mineral particles are carried away
from one area by water or wind and deposited in another area.
1 -1041 Natural soil erosion and accelerated soil erosion.
11042 Natural soil erosion: running water on steep slopes, landslides, strong
winds and sea waves. Accelerated soil erosion: burning, overgrazing,
deforestation, mining, quarrying, lack of ground cover.
11043 Wind can cause soil creep, which is gradual movement of particles on a
surface, and saltation of sand particles, where they become airborne in
strong winds.
11044 Advantages: unwanted material burnt, speedy land clearing, soil sterilised,
weeds burnt, harmful animals destroyed, potash added to the soil.
Disadvantages: destruction of organic matter and humus, soil organisms
killed, soil water lost, soil surface becomes bare, leaching of nutrients.
11045 Four from: cover crops, contour cropping, strip cropping, planting forest
trees, grass barriers, and grassed drains.
11046 The broad banks of earth prevent water running down the slope, so soil is
not washed away.
ITQ47 Two from: storage tanks, pools, ponds and wells.

Section B: Crop Production

Examination-style Multiple Choice Questions

questions 1. Physical weathering of soil is caused by:
A carbonic acid
B oxygen
C wind
D humic acid
2. In a soil profile, the zone of leaching is the:
A 0 horizon
B A horizon
C B horizon
D C horizon
3. The percentage of organic matter in a loam soil is about:
A 50%
B 45%
C 25%
D 5%
4. The finest mineral particles in soil are:
A silt
B clay
C sand
D gravel
5. The composition of the soil air differs from that of the atmosphere as it
A a higher oxygen content
B a lower moisture content
C a higher carbon dioxide content
D a higher nitrogen content
6. Calcium is a macro-nutrient needed by plants for:
A protein synthesis
B chlorophyll formation
C development of root tips
D succulence of fruits
7. Protozoa in the soil:
A fix atmospheric nitrogen
B feed on soil bacteria
C decompose lignin and cellulose
D cause diseases in crops
8. Rhizobium is a bacterium involved in the process of:
A nitrification
B denitrification
C decomposition
D nitrogen fixation
9. Boron is a trace element required by plants for:
A synthesis of respiratory enzymes
B formation of chlorophyll
C amino acid synthesis
D normal cell division
10. Accelerated soil erosion is caused by:
A overgrazing
B landslides
C strong winds blowing over desert areas
D running water on steep slopes

8 Soil and soil fertility

Short answer and essay-type questions

11. (a) Explain the meaning of: (i) soil aeration (ii) soil porosity.
(b) State the importance of 'soil porosity' in agriculture.
(c) Why is it necessary for a farmer to aerate the soil of his vegetable
12. (a) Copy and label the typical soil-profile diagram below:


(b) Name and describe the following layers:

(i) the layer marked II
(ii) the layer marked RI
(c) State the importance of the layer marked I.
13. (a) (i) Name FOUR major factors which affect soil temperature.
(ii) Discuss TWO of the factors you have named for (i).
(b) List FOUR practices which are used by farmers to lower soil
(c) State TWO beneficial effects of optimum soil temperature in
Caribbean agriculture.
14. (a) What are the TWO main groups of soil particles which supply
nutrient elements to crop plants?
(b) State the major features which enable clay and humus soil particles
to attract nutrient ions and water.
(c) Differentiate between anions and cations.
(d) Explain how soil nutrients are absorbed or taken up by the roots of
15. (a) Name ONE of each of the following bacteria associated with the
nitrogen cycle:
(i) symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria
(ii) non-symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
(b) Explain the role of bacteria in the processes of nitrification and
denitrification, related to the nitrogen cycle.
16. (a) State the following agricultural practices carried out by farmers:
(i) TWO which help to improve the physical environment, and
(ii) TWO which are harmful to the physical environment.
(b) Discuss each of the agricultural practices you have stated in (a),
explaining their beneficial or harmful effects to agriculture.
17. (a) List FIVE major factors which affect soil formation.
(b) Discuss any THREE of the factors which you have listed.
18. (a) State the effects of the following on soil formation:
(i) volcanic action
(ii) animal and plant matter.
(b) Describe the activities of living organisms (biotic agents) in soil

Section B: Crop Production

19. (a) What is meant by the term 'weathering of rocks'?

(b) State the major agents of chemical weathering and their respective
(c) Describe any TWO of the chemical weathering processes, you have
identified in (b) in relation to soil formation.
20. (a) State FIVE reasons why farmers should apply organic and inorganic
fertilisers to their crops and field plots.
(b) (i) List FOUR factors which should be considered in determining
the fertiliser needs of crops and soils.
(ii) Discuss any TWO of the factors which you have listed.
21. (a) (i) What is meaning of 'fertiliser ratio'?
(ii) List TWO fertilisers which have the same fertiliser ratio.
(b) The recommendation was N.P.K.: 10:20:10 at 500 kg per hectare but
Farmer Susan purchased N.P.K.: 5:10:5, because this was cheaper.
(i) At what rate should she apply the fertiliser purchased?
(ii) Give an explanation for your answer to (b) (i).
22. (a) (i) Explain the meaning of soil erosion.
(ii) Name TWO natural agents of soil erosion in the Caribbean.
(b) List and discuss the following measures used by farmers to control
soil erosion:
(i) TWO cultural practices
(ii) THREE vegetative covers
(iii) THREE mechanical devices.

111 1

[and 1114 a ratio n

By the end of 3 describe the relationship between climate and agricultural production
this chapter 3 measure rainfall and temperature
you should be 3 interpret weather records
able to:
3 use weather records in decision-making in farming
3 describe land preparation methods
3 explain the importance of machinery in crop production
3 describe the care and maintenance of simple tools and equipment
3 describe the safety precautions that should be taken when operating
tools, machinery and equipment.

Concept map

Land preparation

Climate and weather Methods Machinery in crop husbandry

Seasonality of - Land clearing Types

Tillage - harvesters
Changing weather -tractors
patterns - attachments

Safety precautions
temperature and Levelling and
making beds protective clothing
[ correct procedures

interpret weather
Care of simple
tools and

use weather
records in farming

Section B: Crop Production

9.1 The relationship between climate and

agricultural production
The fertility of the soil has a great influence on the types of crops that can be grown
and the crop yield. As we have seen in Chapter 8, the climate in the Caribbean has
affected the soil types and the maintenance of soil fertility. An alternation between
dry seasons and wet seasons means that farmers must be aware of the climatic
conditions when deciding what to grow, where to grow it and how to prepare the

The Caribbean climate

tropical marine climate Most Caribbean countries have a tropical marine climate, with warm temperatures
all year round. This type of climate occurs on tropical islands in equatorial regions
situated between 5 and 25 north and south of the Equator. In the Caribbean,
the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea are warm at all times of the year. The
average temperature is around 27C, but there are variations depending on the
season. For example, in Jamaica the average temperature is 27C in July and 24C
in January.
There is a rainy season from May to October and the rest of the year is relatively
dry. During the rainy season, the northern and eastern sides of mountainous
islands get most of the rain. The southern and western sides can be dry, as they
are sheltered from the prevailing trade winds. In Dominica, which has mountain
peaks, there is an annual rainfall of 7600 mm, whereas in Barbados, which is
flatter, annual rainfall is around 1500 mm. The rainy season coincides with the
summer hurricane season.
hurricanes Hurricanes are very violent storms. They can occur at any time from June to
November, but are most frequent during August and September. They usually
develop over the ocean in the eastern Caribbean during the summer, when the
surface temperature of the sea is high and air pressure falls below 950 millibars.
Wind speeds of 120 to 250 km per hour occur and there is extremely heavy rainfall.
Hurricanes cause structural damage to property and crops, as well as flooding.

The effect of rainfall on plants

Due to the warm temperatures, plants that thrive in tropical conditions grow
quickly and germination is rapid. Rainfall, its amount and when it occurs, has a
much greater effect on agricultural production than temperature.
During the rainy season, it is important that the ground does not become
waterlogged, so efficient drainage is essential. in the dry season, irrigation is needed
for those crops that do not tolerate dry conditions. Some crops, such as cocoa and
bananas, need 2000 mm of rainfall annually, distributed throughout the year, if
they are to grow successfully. Other crops, such as sugar cane, corn and rice, need
Explain what is meant by a tropical marine most rainfall during the growing season. Sugar cane, in its early growing period
between May and August, requires heavy rainfall. This needs to be followed by
long periods of sunshine to increase the sugar content of the cane.
II,. -
Why is it important for a farmer to keep up-to- Forecasting the weather
date with weather forecasts?
Farmers need to know about the climatic conditions of the area they are cultivating
so that they can grow crops that are suited to the soil and climate. With better long-
term weather forecasting, it is possible to predict changing weather patterns so that
Practical BCtlVlty: harvesting, planting and spraying can be carried out at suitable times. Hurricane
Use the internet to follow the warnings are given on the radio and television several days in advance. About 36
tracks taken by this year's hours before a hurricane is due, a hurricane alert is issued and people are warned
hurricanes, to take precautions. Farmers try to ensure that their buildings areas safe as possible
and that their livestock are protected.

9 Land preparation

9.2 Measuring rainfall and temperature

Measuring rainfall
rainfall totals Rainfall totals are recorded every month (this is the Month Average
total amount of rain which has fallen in a month). rainfall (mm)
Information gathered over many years can show January 20
the seasonal pattern of rainfall for an area. The February 10
information in Table 9.1 indicates that there is a March 22
wet season from May until October when a dry April 27
season begins.
May 102
Using a rain gauge June 91
rain gauge Rainfall is measured using a rain gauge. This July 91
apparatus consists of: August 95
a large outer cylinder made of tin or copper September 100
a funnel with a small opening October 1 80
a jar in which the water is collected. November 66
December 32
In addition, a measuring cylinder is needed to
measure the collected rainwater. Table 9.1 Average rainfall
The outer cylinder is placed in the ground, partly figures for Kingston, Jamaica.
buried, to make it stable. It should be in a flat, open
space away from trees and tall buildings which could affect the amount of water
getting into the gauge (from splashing or from run-off). The funnel fits closely
to the top of the outer cylinder and water passes through into the collecting jar.
The jar is emptied every 24 hours. The quantity of water is measured using the
measuring cylinder and is then recorded in mm.

Rain enters the rain gauge Measuring

1 1 1 1 1 1 111

I l I
Knife-edge I i

ridge to l

Top section
with funnel
attached _0.5
Funnel with
very small
opening to
minimize Bottom section
evaporation containing the
of the water collecting jar
30 cm to prevent
soil splashing into
surface I the rain gauge

Buried in the ground

to stabilise the rain
Practical activity:
Set up and use a rain gauge. Figure 9.1 A rain gauge this type of rain gauge can be easily set up in most

More modem electronic gauges, which measure and record the rainfall
automatically, are now used in most weather stations. A simple type of gauge can
Why should a rain gauge be placed away from be set up using a beaker or a measuring cylinder, but the measurements will not
trees and buildings? be accurate as water will be lost due to evaporation.
Section B: Crop Production

Measuring temperature
temperature Temperature is a measure of how hot or cold something is. It is measured using a
thermometer, which consists of a glass tube containing a liquid. The liquid expands
when the temperature rises and contracts when the temperature falls. Sometimes
the liquid used is alcohol containing a red dye, but many scientific thermometers
use mercury. The glass tube is calibrated so that the temperature is easy to read off.
Scientific temperature measurements are made using the Celsius scale, where 0C
is the temperature at which water freezes and 100C is the temperature at which
water boils.
For recording climatic temperature data, it is usual to use maximum and
maximum thermometer minimum thermometers. The maximum thermometer records the highest
temperature reached during the period of measurement and the minimum
minimum thermometer thermometer records the lowest temperature. Inside each of the glass tubes of the
thermometers, there is a small piece of glass called an index.
index glass tube
The maximum thermometer contains mercury and when the
temperature rises, the mercury pushes the index upwards. When
o o ,o p b o the temperature falls, the index is left behind and the maximum
temperature reached can be read by looking at the lower end of the
,, index and reading the figure from the scale.
Note: The maximum temperature was 35C The minimum thermometer contains alcohol. The alcohol expands
as the temperature rises and it rises up the tube, flowing past the
index glass tube index. When the temperature falls, the alcohol contracts and the
index is dragged down the tube. To read the minimum temperature,
x x w ro
0 . . the position of the end of the index closest to the edge of the alcohol
is used.
When readings have been taken, the thermometers need to be
Note: The minimum temperature has been 20C shaken to restore the index to the level of the fluid.

Figure 9.2 A maximum thermometer (top) and a The Stevenson screen

minimum thermometer (bottom). If temperature comparisons between different areas are to be made,
then thermometers have to be kept in standard conditions. For this
Stevenson screen purpose, the thermometers are kept in a Stevenson screen.
A Stevenson screen has the following features:
What is the difference between a maximum and a it is painted white to reflect the
minimum thermometer? sunlight
it has louvred sides allowing air to
flow freely around the instruments
Why are maximum and minimum thermometers it should have a double roof;
kept in a Stevenson screen? the air space created is a poor
conductor of heat and the effect of
the heat from the sun will be less
it is located on a grassy surface
Practical activity: well away from trees and buildings
Set up and use maximum and it should stand 112 cm above
minimum thermometers to ground level to decrease the
compare temperatures over a effect of heat conduction from the
period of one month.

Stevenson screens often contain other

recording instruments, such as wet
wet and dry bulb hygrometers and dry bulb hygrometers to measure

Figure 9.3 A Stevenson screen for

housing weather-recording instruments.

9 Land preparation

9.3 Interpreting weather records

The measurements made by meteorologists are used to forecast weather, either on
a short-term basis or over longer periods. Short-term forecasts are usually made
for periods of 5 to 7 days, but weather patterns can change quickly and farmers
should check the forecast on a daily basis, particularly if considering harvesting or
meteorological organisations Observations are collected by the Caribbean meteorological organisations and
farmers obtain weather reports using the internet, radio and television. Certain
symbols, recognised internationally, are used to indicate the weather on maps.
Some of these are illustrated in Figure 9.4.
Interpreting symbols on weather maps is relatively straightforward. The symbols
for rainfall and wind speed indicate the quantity and nature of the rainfall expected
and the severity of the winds.

(a) Total cloud cover

No cloud 1/8 o less
/4 cloud
8 cloud
(111 Ell 4111 0 0
/2 cloud
8 cloud
/4 cloud
/8 cloud
No blue

(b) Rainfall

Light and intermittent V Showers

Light and continuous A Hail

Moderate and intermittent , Drizzle

t Moderate and continuous R. Thunderstorm
R. .
Heavt and intermittent Thunderstorm with hail

Heavy and continuous Fog = Mist Haze

(c) Wind strength

Speed Speed Symbol Speed Speed Note: Each half feather - 5 knots
(knots) (km/hr) (knots) (km/hr)
A whole feather I--- -10 knots
Calm Calm III 65 A shaded triangle L - 50 knots
0 0 35
O Less than 5 Less than 9 11 1 1 0 40 74
9 1111r 83
0 5 0 45
1 0 10 19 1 Q 93
Q 15 28 , 0 55 102
II Q 20 37 \ Q 60 111
II, 46 Q 65 120
Q 25 k\'
III Q 56 70 130 Practical activity:
30 1\\ 0
Use the internet to find your local
(d) Fronts
weather forecast and the forecast
Symbol System for the Caribbean region. How

Cold front
does the forecast weather differ
across the region?
p Warm front
Quasi-stationary front

Il Intertropical Convergence Zone (narrow zone, one area of activity)

Ca Intertropical Convergence Zone (wide zone, two areas of activity)

Figure 9.4 Some international weather symbols representing cloud cover rainfall, wind strength and fronts.

Section B: Crop Production


A front forms where different air masses meet. The symbols for fronts indicate the
boundaries between air masses that have different properties. The Caribbean is
affected by two air masses:
polar air mass the polar air mass which originates in Canada and the USA in winter and
moves southward to the Caribbean
tropical maritime air mass the tropical maritime air mass consisting of warm, moist air in the Gulf of
Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

cold front Where the cold air mass meets the warm air mass, there is a cold front at the edge
warm front of the polar air and a warm front at the edge of the tropical air. When cold air
meets the warm, moist Caribbean air, it causes the warm air to rise. The warm air
is cooled, condensation takes place and rain clouds form. As a result, there is heavy
rainfall, thunderstorms, the temperature decreases and the wind changes speed
Name THREE sources of information about the and direction. This type of weather is called the Northers because it originates
weather. from North America.
As the cold air mass continues to move southwards, it becomes warmer until
eventually there is little difference between the temperatures of the two air masses.
Under these conditions, the cold air mass does not move much, the weather
quasi-stationary front conditions are more stable and a quasi-stationary front is established.

t wo major air streams (the North East Trades and the South East Trades)
Describe what happens when the polar air mass
meets the tropical maritime air mass. meet, rain and thunder showers are produced. This happens because the air of

the South East Trades is cooler than that of the North East Trades and causes the
warmer air to rise and bring about the wet conditions.
Intertropical Convergence Zone Where these two air streams meet is called the Intertropical Convergence Zone
(ITCZ) (ITCZ). This zone moves northwards during the northern summer, bringing heavy
rain to Trinidad and Tobago from June to August. During winter in the northern
hemisphere, the wind systems shift south of the Equator and from January to May
areas north of the Equator have their dry season.

V Miami N
Gulf of Mexico
0 500 Km
o^ 0
Tropic of Cancer
'a - -- -- --- ------- ------------ ------ 23'N

O o

Cuba o NE Trade Winds

Jamaica 0

Q Dominica

Ca ribbean Sea

t Warm air
E er
' Cold air o a
Areas of convergence of air
1 NE Trades and SE Trades Trinidad
2 Cold air from N. America
and warm air from the
Tropics Guyana

Figure 9.5 Convergence zones in the Caribbean.

9 Land preparation

9.4 Weather records and farming decisions

Effects of heavy rain
leaching During the wet season, nutrients are lost from the soil by leaching. In order to
maintain the fertility of the soil, farmers have to add fertilisers and manure,
together with using cultivation methods such as rotation of crops. Application of
fertilisers has to be timed to avoid heavy rainfall and fit in with the growth of the
crop. A farmer would be wasting money if he added fertiliser when heavy rainfall
was due much of it would be leached.
Heavy seasonal rainfall floods low-lying areas and this can disrupt farming
activities. For example, if heavy rains come at the end of the sugar cane harvesting
season, then it becomes difficult to use heavy machinery. The fields are muddy, the
soil is churned up and the crop may be spoilt. To overcome this problem, extensive
drainage schemes have been set up in areas that are likely to be flooded. Often,
drainage channels can serve two purposes: removal of excess water in the rainy
season and irrigation in the dry season.

Effects of temperature
Although warm temperatures favour plant growth, they also encourage the
decomposing micro-organisms that are involved in the breakdown of organic
matter in the soil. Plant and animal remains are broken down quickly and the
humus content of the soil in warm areas is often low. In Chapter 8, the importance
of organic matter and the maintenance of soil fertility were described; farmers are
encouraged to use manure and compost as part of the regular treatment of their
Warm temperatures also encourage pest organisms, such as aphids and mites,
which damage crops and cause diseases in animals. The use of pesticides and other
control methods has to be fitted into the farming operations. The weather forecast,
together with a knowledge of the life cycle of the pest, can help the farmer decide
on the best time to spray the crop or remove the disease-affected plants.

The seasonal patterns of weather are more or less predictable each year: there will
be a rainy season and a dry season. Farmers can fit their operations to this cycle
of weather. The one feature that is less predictable is the occurrence of hurricanes
and tropical storms. The hurricane season extends from June to October, but
during that time there may be few hurricanes or many and their severity can vary.
Hurricanes can destroy buildings, infrastructure and communications as well as
disrupting the production of crops and the rearing of livestock. However, there
Name TWO major effects of heavy rainfall on are warning systems and because the Caribbean lies in the path of such weather
farming. systems, most farmers are aware of the dangers and take precautions.

9.5 Land preparation methods

Land preparation ensures that the soil is well-prepared before a crop is planted. It
involves clearing, tillage, fertilising the soil, liming, drainage, levelling the land and
bed formation.

clearing Clearing the land is normally the first operation. Depending on what the land was
previously used for, it usually involves removing trees, bushes and shrubs, tall
grasses or crop residues. Areas that had been abandoned and may have become
overgrown with trees and dense foliage may be cleared manually, using an axe or
a cutlass, or mechanically with a chainsaw and a bulldozer.

Section B: Crop Production

Clearing land of grass, bush and crop residues is done by brushcutting. This can
be done manually, using a brushing cutlass, or mechanically, using a weed wacker
or a brush cutter attached to a tractor.
When land is bulldozed it is essential to save the topsoil.
The sequence when clearing land is:
trees are removed and heaped in windrows
topsoil is scraped off and placed in heaps
land is graded, filling in any depressions
topsoil is then spread over the entire area.

Tree trunks and twigs, which have been chopped or bulldozed, should be placed in
windrows (heaps) and allowed to decompose; in this way organic matter, humus
and nutrients are released into the soil.
cut trees and branches are heaped in a row

List the equipment needed to remove trees from
abandoned land.

1 I

How can bushes, crop residues and tall grasses
be removed from land mechanically? Figure 9.6 A brushing cutlass (left) and a windrow (right).

tillage Tillage refers to breaking up the soil surface and incorporating organic matter into
the soil. It is usually divided into two stages: primary tillage, where the soil is broken
up by ploughing, and secondary tillage which involves the refining of the soil.
primary tillage In primary tillage, land which has been cleared is either dug manually with a
garden fork or ploughed mechanically using a tractor. The tractor may be a hand
tractor with a rotary plough or a four-wheeled tractor with a mouldboard or disc

Figure 9.7 A tractor with a plough (primary tillage).

The effect of primary tillage is to:

loosen or break up the soil surface
allow air and water to enter the soil more freely
bury or mix organic matter with the soil.

At the end of primary tillage, the soil is in large clods or lumps.

9 Land preparation

secondary tillage Secondary tillage refers to breaking up large clods of soil into smaller pieces (or
aggregates) and the production of a tilth. The process may be done manually, using
a hoe, rake or cutlass, or mechanically using a harrow and a rotovator.

Using a hoe. Using a rake. Using a cutlass.

Using a rotovator. Mechanical tillage using a harrow pulled by a tractor.

Figure 9.8 Secondary tillage practices.

The effect of secondary tillage is to:

obtain a tilth suited to the crop
produce a seed-bed for the cultivation of crops
cut up and mix organic matter (crop residues or stubble) into the soil
allow the roots of crop plants to penetrate easily and grow freely in the soil.

Farmers use two main methods of tillage, either manual or mechanical.

lanual methods Mechanical methods

ommonly used by small-scale and Used extensively by large-scale farmers.
What is the meaning of tillage? asant farmers.
an be used on hilly terrain as well as Difficult or sometimes impossible to use
flat or undulating land. on hilly terrain.
physical strength or physical Rely on power from machines.
What is the difference between primary and
secondary tillage?
borious,, tedious and time-consuming. Speedy, effective and economical.
ay be seriously affected by a scarcity Greatly reduce the need for manual
o labour.
List TWO advantages of manual methods of
tillage. Table 9.2 Comparison of manual and mechanical methods of tillage.

Section B: Crop Production

drainage It is essential to provide drainage for the removal of excess water from the surface
and sub-surface of the soil, especially during the rainy season. There are many
types of drains and drainage systems. These range from simple channels to complex
systems which can also provide irrigation during the dry season (see Figure 9.10).
The preparation of drains may be done manually, using a fork, spade, hoe, rake
and garden line; or drains can be dug mechanically using a ridger/banker (see
Figure 9.9) and a back hoe.

45-60 cm 1.5 m

15 cm 'e
cm ^

30 cm

box drain V (vee) drain trench, canal or storm dram

Figure 9.9 A ridger/banker.

60-90 cm deep e

tile drain (underground) rubble drain (underground) contour drains (on hillsides)

Figure 9.10 Some common types of drains.

Levelling and making beds

After drains have been dug, the land needs to be levelled to form beds suited to
the crop, soil type, the season or weather conditions. During the dry season, flat-
topped beds may be used, but in the rainy season the beds need to be constructed
so that excess water is removed, especially in areas with clay soil. Cambered beds
have slightly sloping tops. Ridges and furrows create channels for water to drain
Practical activity: away and mounds have raised portions in the centre. The farmer may use a variety
Prepare some land for planting a of beds: cambered beds, ridges and furrows, mounds on cambered beds and ridges
crop of your choice. The type of and furrows on cambered beds.
crop will influence the amount of
flat-topped beds cambered beds ridges and furrows
preparation needed.

mounds on cambered beds ridges and furrows on

cambered beds

Why should levelling be done at the same time

that the land is being prepared for the crop? Figure 9.11 Some examples of beds.

9 Land preparation

9.6 Machinery used in crop husbandry

machine A machine may be defined as:
an instrument or device used for carrying out a task
any equipment or apparatus, specially designed for a particular purpose and
used for the transmission of force, power or motion to produce a desirable

In agriculture, several types of machines are used for tasks such as ploughing,
Why have machines improved agricultural planting, harvesting, plucking, ear-notching and castrating. New machines are
production? continually being designed and existing machines are re-designed and improved.


1. have changed and 2. enable more farm work 3. enable agricultural tasks
improved agricultural to be done, more to be done more
production, worldwide effectively, per day efficiently, saving time
and money

4. help to red ce the cost 5. help to elle late drudgery,

of production and to motivating oung people
increase farm profits to take up agriculture as
a career

Figure 9.12 The importance of machines in crop husbandry.

seeders Seeders, otherwise known as planters, may be of various types. Some consist of
drills, which sow seeds directly on to the soil. Sometimes drills combine seeds and
fertilisers, so that the seeds are planted with an appropriate fertiliser for the crop.
transplanters Transplanters are machines which plant seedlings such as tomato, sweet peppers
or rice, or they may plant bulbs, tubers or corms.
The advantage of a seeder is that the seeds are planted evenly and at the required
density. This is a more efficient method than broadcasting the seed. The machines
that can transplant seedlings speed up the operation, saving time and the cost of
manual labour.

harvester There are various types of harvester, each designed to harvest a specific crop. These
machines speed up the process of gathering in a crop, saving time and manual
The simplest types are those
which can be attached to a
tractor, such as the sweet potato
harvester. This machine digs the
tubers, lifting them from the soil
on to a conveyer belt.
combine harvesters Combine harvesters are used for
grain crops, such as rice and other
cereals. This type of harvester is
self-propelled and cuts, threshes
and winnows the grain, which
is then gathered in trailers and
transported away for storage.
Sugar cane can also be harvested
by special combine machines. Figure 9.13 A sugar cane harvester.

Section B: Crop Production


tractor The tractor is one of the most useful pieces of farm machinery. It is mainly used
for pulling ploughs, harrows, cultivators and trailers, and for transmitting power
(by means of the power-take-off shaft) to attachments (brushcutters, rotovators,
fertiliser spreaders and threshers).
Which type of tractor would you recommend to a Tractors are built for use in different environmental situations and purposes.
farmer whose farm was 20 hectares? Therefore tractors will vary in:
horsepower (hp) or kilowatts (KW)
What are the advantages of using a mechanical mode of mobility: wheels or tracks Wheeled tractors I I Crawler tractors
seeder rather than sowing seeds by hand? price, including resale value. two-wheeled tractors bulldozers
four-wheeled tractors: I I excavators
small I I graders
medium-sized loaders
large harvesters

Figure 9.14 The classification of


Type of tractor Features Uses

Two-wheeled: 5 to10 horsepower or 3.75 to 7.5 KW engines Suitable for smallholdings from I to 2.5 hectares;
e.g. Merry Tiller mounted on 2 wheels; 2 handles and lever tilling light soils on flat or gently sloping land; not
Gravely controls; attachments include brushcutter, difficult to operate; not suitable for use on steep
rotovator, rotary plough, trailer, slopes, rough land or dry clay soils.
Four-wheeled: Gasoline or diesel engines; 10 to 20 horsepower Suitable for small farms of less than 2.5 hectares;
Small or 7.5 to 15.0 KW; small front wheels; large rear economical to use with diesel engine; limited in
wheels; pneumatic tyres; attachments include scope for tasks such as levelling and grading; not
brushcutter, plough, rotovator, trailer, suitable for long hours on clay soils.
Four-wheeled: Engine capacity 30 to 60 hp or 22.4 to 44.8 KW; Suitable for medium-sized farms of 2.5 to 25
Medium si milar features to a small 4-wheeled tractor. hectares; used for mowing, tilling, planting,
fertilising, spraying and threshing; economical to use
with diesel engine but higher maintenance costs.
Four-wheeled: Same features as other 4-wheeled tractors but Suitable for large farms of greater than 25 hectares;
Large engines have a capacity of 80 to 100 hp or 59.7 to greater scope for a range of agricultural operations
74.6 KW or more; may have additional ballasting including ploughing, grading, levelling and
for increased grip in the form of metal wheel grips harvesting; higher maintenance costs; requires well-
or spiked metal w heels. trained an d skilf u l opera tors.

Table 9.3 Types of tractors.

Figure 9.15 A two-wheeled tractor. Figure 9.16 A four-wheeled tractor. Figure 9.17 A crawler tractor with a
device for tilling attached.

9 Land preparation

crawler tractors Crawler tractors are more powerful than wheeled tractors and have metal chain
belts on sprockets, instead of wheels and rubber tyres. They are suitable for land
clearing operations, site preparation for roads and buildings and the construction of
dams and embankments (levees). They are used where land is damp and slippery,
What attachment would he needed to plough a covered in tree stumps and stubble and not suitable for the four-wheeled tractor.
heavy clay soil?
These machines are expensive, have high maintenance costs and require skilled
operators. Many farmers find it more economical to hire such equipment when it
is needed for a specific purpose, rather than investing in a machine which might
List the functions of a harrow. I not be used all the year round.

Tractor attachments
tractor attachments Tractor attachments are devices that fit onto tractors. They make agricultural
operations easier, saving time and labour. Table 9.4 summarises the main uses of
each attachment. Harvesters and seeders may be attached to tractors. These have
been described earlier in the chapter.

Name of attachment Main uses

Mouldboard plough cuts a furrow slice and inverts the soil
primary tillage
buries vegetation and organic matter
Disc plough rotating discs cut and invert furrow slices
ploughing heavy clay soils, stony soils and soils containing stubble
Chisel plough chisel-shaped tines break up hardpans -1
broken-up hardpan not brought to surface
referred to as a subsoiler
Rotovator secondary tillage after land has been ploughed with mouldboard or disc plough
primary tillage of cultivated land, vegetable plots or rice fields
preparation of seedbeds requiring a fine tilth
Harrow cuts up and incorporates crop residues in soil by means of discs mounted on a frame (disc
breaks up heaps of manure on pasture (tine harrow)
secondary tillage
Brushcutter cuts down grass, weeds and herbaceous plants in lawns, pastures, orchards and field plots
also known as a mower; can be rotary or flail, finger-bar, cutter-bar or reciprocating
Trailer attaches to draw-bar of tractor
transport agricultural inputs (planting materials, manure, fertilisers) and produce
may be tipping or non-tipping
Fertiliser spreader broadcasts fertiliser evenly on to pasture or cultivated field plot
can be calibrated to spread the required amount
Manure spreader spreads manure in solid or liquid form (slurry) on to fields or pasture
may have rotating shredders
Crop sprayer applies pesticides to the soil
pumped from a boom with 'fan-type' or 'hollow cone' nozzles
can be calibrated to spray the right amount

Table 9.4 Tractor attachments and their uses.

Figure 9.19 A chisel Figure 9.20 A fertiliser Figure 9.21 A

Figure 9.18 A disc plough. plough. spreader. mouldboard plough.

Section B: Crop Production

9.7 Care and maintenance

Tools and equipment should be well-maintained so that they will:
be in good condition when needed for use
remain serviceable
last for many years.

Major practices for the maintenance of tools and equipment are summarised in
Table 9.5.
Practice Procedure
Cleaning Some tools and equipment need to be washed after use, e.g. fork, hoe, cutlass, rake.
Other tools and equipment not soiled with mud may be wiped with a moistened rag, e.g. hammer, saw
secateurs, file.
Drying After washing, tools should be dried with a rag or left in the sunshine.
Sharpening Tools such as cutlass, hoe, knife, axe and hatchet have blades with sharp cutting edges and need to be
sharpened using a grindstone or a file.
Repairing May involve:
soldering, e.g. handles or the rose of a watering can
welding, e.g. broken forks, spades, shovels, rakes
replacing handles, e.g. hoes, cutlass, hammer, spade.
Painting Oil paint applied to the handles of tools helps to pr otect them, p rolonging their serviceable life.
Oiling or Oil is applied to blades or prongs of tools to prevent rusting; usually done with a rag moistened with oil or
greasing an aerosol lubricant spray.
Joints, springs and other hinged parts of tools and equipment are lubricated using grease or a spray.
Storing Tools should be stored in a special area using a tool rack, cupboards and shelves; to prevent rusting, avoid
storing tools close t o fertilise rs.

Table 9.5 Care and maintenance of tools.

Keeping records
tr i
It is essential to keep records of tools and equipment. Such records should include:
Describe how tools and equipment should be an inventory of all tools and equipment on the farm
stored safely.
date purchased and cost
any tools loaned, together with the name of the borrower, date borrowed and
tr date returned, the condition on return
Now can you prevent tools from becomin any regular maintenance, such as safety checks.
Maintaining a knapsack sprayer
knapsack sprayer A knapsack sprayer is a manual farm
machine used to spray pesticide mixtures
on to crops.
It consists of:
a tank to hold the pesticide
an adjustable lance with a pressure
relief valve to avoid spraying above
target pressure
a nozzle attached to the end of the
lance for spraying the pesticide control
a pump operated by a pumping
a contoured frame with padded
shoulder straps and adjustable waist

Figure 9.22 A knapsack sprayer and

its parts.

9 Land preparation

To use the equipment, chemicals are poured into the tank and the tank cover
is screwed on securely. Air is pumped into the sprayer tank, using the built-in
pumping device. The nozzle cap is adjusted to give the desired size of droplets. The
sprayer can then be used to spray the crop thoroughly. It is best to avoid spraying
on a very windy day and protective clothing should always be worn.
After spraying, the following procedures should be carried out:
the residual air pressure should be released from the sprayer tank using the air
pressure release valve
any unwanted chemical mixture should be emptied out of the tank and
disposed of in a hole in the ground
Practical activities: the sprayer tank should be washed out with detergent
1. Clean and maintain some the filter should be checked for any chemical particles which may block the
simple tools. nozzle
2. Clean and maintain a knapsack clean water should then be sprayed through the system
sprayer. the sprayer should be dried and any parts requiring grease should be
the sprayer and chemicals should be stored in a cool, well-secured area.

9.8 Safety precautions when operating tools,

machinery and equipment
In agriculture, safety practices are very important in the handling of tools,
equipment, machinery, fuels, pesticides and other chemical substances.

Tools and equipment

Each tool or piece of equipment is specially designed for carrying out a particular
agricultural operation. It is therefore important to choose the tool or equipment
best suited to the task: using the wrong tool can be hazardous.
The following safety practices should be followed:
ensure the tool or piece of equipment is in good condition, with any handles
firmly attached, blades or prongs clean and sharp, and moving parts oiled or
wear the correct safety gear: tall rubber boots, goggles, gloves, coveralls, hard
hat where appropriate; avoid dangling straps or belts
control the equipment when chopping, digging, cutting, brushcutting or
focus on the task while operating the equipment; stop if distracted
place equipment down safely when not in use; sharp tools should be stuck
upright in the soil so that they are clearly visible, or placed flat on the soil with
their prongs or sharp edges facing downwards
avoid laying tools or equipment on pathways or on heaps of weeds, where
they could cause injury or be forgotten.

Safety gear
Special safety equipment protects both the operator and the machinery. It may
consist of special gear for use with equipment or safety devices on the machinery.

safety gear Safety gear includes:

clothing: coveralls which are tough, durable and fireproof
head gear: hard hat and helmet, often with face shield
boots: steel-tipped, with non-skid soles
gloves: leather, fabric, disposable
safety glasses, goggles
respirators and face masks: offer protection from fumes, smoke and dust
ear-muffs: protection from loud noises.

Section B: Crop Production

safety devices Machinery and equipment may be fitted with safety devices such as:
safety clips, buttons, bars
shields, guards, filters
safety fuses
colour-coded lights
an automatic shut-off which stops the equipment if there is a malfunction.

Safety and tractor operations

The tractor and its attachments should be in good condition. Any attachment must
be safely hitched with protective shields and safety guards in place. The driver
needs to be trained and wearing appropriate clothing (hard hat, steel-tipped
boots, no dangling clothing, straps or belts). He should adjust the seat so that it
is comfortable and all controls can be reached easily, and make sure that the rear
view minor is also adjusted. It is important to be aware of slippery areas, slopes,
proximity to services (gas, electricity and water mains), farm animals, children and
pets. When the operation has been carried out, the engine should be switched off
and the hand brake applied before adjusting or removing any attachments.
Figure 9.23 Safety gear worn by
someone using a knapsack sprayer. Handling fuels and chemicals
Most fuels used on the farm are combustible and care has to be taken when they
are handled, used and stored. Gasoline, dieseline and kerosene are used to power
tractors, water pumps and generators. These fuels should be stored in special
rri containers approved by the Bureau of Standards. There should be 'no smoking'
and 'no naked flame' signs in the storage areas and in areas where the fuels are
Distinguish between safety gear and safety
devices. handled. Storage areas should be fitted with locks.
Chemicals, such as artificial fertilisers and pesticides, should be handled with
rrc care and stored in a locked room. Protective clothing should be worn when these
How should fuels and chemicals be stored on the chemicals are being used and all containers need to be thoroughly washed after
farm? use.

Caribbean countries have a tropical marine climate with warm temperatures all
year round.
There is a rainy season (May to October) and the rest of the year is relatively
dry. Hurricanes occur during the period from June to November.
Because of the warm climate, plants grow well and seeds germinate rapidly.
Rainfall affects agricultural production: in the rainy season there is leaching of
Figure 9.24 Storage tanks for fuels
nutrients from the soil and flooding.
and compressed gas.
In the dry season, some crops need to be irrigated.
Weather forecasts help farmers to determine the best times for certain farm
operations, such as land preparation and harvesting.
Rainfall is measured by a rain gauge, set up away from buildings and trees.
Temperature is measured using a thermometer. It is usual to record the
maximum and minimum temperatures each day, using special thermometers.
Over the Caribbean region, cold and warm fronts occur when the polar air
mass meets the tropical maritime air mass.
A cold front causes the warm air to rise, clouds are formed and there is rain.
The Intertropical Convergence Zone is formed by the North East Trades air
stream meeting the South East Trades air stream. The movement of this zone
causes the wet and dry seasons in the Caribbean.
Studying weather records and weather patterns can be helpful to farmers.
Land preparation is essential in ensuring that the soil is prepared for growing
The first operation is to clear the land of trees, shrubs, grasses and crop residues.

9 Land preparation

Tillage involves ploughing the soil to break up the surface, to incorporate

organic matter and to prepare a good tilth for the planting of crops.
Tillage can be done manually or mechanically using a tractor and attachments.
Before crops are sown, the land may need to be fertilised and limed. Drainage
has to be provided to cope with excess water during the rainy season.
The land is levelled and beds are formed. The beds are designed to suit the
terrain and cope with the climate. Cambered beds are used in the rainy season,
so that the ground does not become waterlogged.
Many different types of machinery are now used in farming and make the
preparation of land and other tasks easier for the farmer.
Tractors, with their attachments, speed up tasks that were previously time-
consuming. There are different sizes of tractors, some with wheels and others
with metal chain belts that give grip on sloping terrain.
Other specialised equipment has been designed to harvest crops, sow seeds,
spray fertilisers and pesticides, cut grass and weeds and spread manure.
All tools, machinery and equipment need to be cleaned and maintained. Tools
are stored in racks, shelves and cupboards.
Everyone needs to be aware of the safety precautions when using tools and
equipment. Safety clothing and goggles should be worn when operating
machinery or spraying chemicals.
Safety devices on machinery should be in place and checked regularly.
Gasoline and kerosene should be stored in the correct containers. There should
be no smoking and no naked flames where these fuels are kept.
Chemicals used on the farm should be stored safely and equipment washed
after use.

ITCH A tropical marine climate has warm temperatures all year round; it is
typical of islands in the equatorial regions; average temperature is 27C.
ITQ2 In order to be able to plan the farm operations; so that spraying is not
done on windy days; land preparation and harvesting are not done when
there is likely to be heavy rain.
1103 There could be run-off from tall buildings and splashing from trees; both
affect the quantity of rain getting into the funnel of the rain gauge.
IT04 A maximum thermometer is filled with mercury and records the
maximum temperature reached in the day. A minimum thermometer is
filled with alcohol and records the lowest temperature.
11115 To keep them screened from the sun, from air movements and from
conduction of heat from the ground.
IT06 Weather information can be obtained from the radio, television and
ITU When the polar air mass meets the tropical maritime air mass, there is a
cold front at the edge of the polar air and a warm front at the edge of the
tropical air. The warm air rises and rain clouds form.
ITQ8 Leaching of nutrients from the soil and flooding of the land, so that crops
are destroyed and work on the fields is impossible.
ITQ9 Trees can be removed using an axe or chain saw and a bulldozer.
IT(11 0 These can be removed using a weed wacker or a brushcutter attached to a
ITIll 1 Tillage is the breaking up of the soil and the incorporation of organic
11012 Primary tillage involves ploughing the land to break up the soil surface.
Secondary tillage is breaking up large clods of soil into smaller aggregates.

Section B: Crop Production

11013 It is better to use manual methods on small farms and where the terrain
is hilly or mountainous.
11014 Levelling is done when land is prepared for the crop so that lumps are
removed and there is a flat surface on which to plant seeds and seedlings.
11015 Machines speed up operations on the farm, more land can be cultivated,
and more work can be done each day. More food can be produced.
11016 A four-wheeled medium tractor with attachments.
11017 The mechanical seeder can be adjusted to give the right sowing density,
the seeds are sown more evenly and the job does not take as long.
11018 A disc plough.
11019 To cut up and incorporate organic matter into the soil, to break up heaps
of manure, and to produce a good tilth during secondary tillage.
ITQ20 Tools should be stored in a special area, on racks, on shelves or in
11021 Wipe them over with an oily rag and keep them in a dry place.
11022 Safety gear refers to clothing, face masks, goggles and ear muffs that are
worn by the operators of machinery. Safety devices are clips guards and
filters that are fitted to machinery and equipment to protect the operator.
11023 Fuel and chemicals should be stored in locked stores. There should be no
smoking or naked lights near fuel stores.

Examination-style Multiple Choice Questions

1. The best attachment to use to break up a hardpan is a:
A mouldboard plough
B disc plough
C chisel plough
D rotovator
2. A face mask should be worn when operating a:
A crop sprayer
B manure spreader
C fertiliser spreader
D harrow
3. The Intertropical Convergence Zone is formed when:
A the polar air mass meets the tropical maritime air mass
B the polar air mass meets the North East Trades
C the South East Trades meet the tropical maritime air mass
D the North East Trades meet the South East Trades
4. Which agricultural equipment would you use to clear shrubs and vines
from an area of abandoned land?
A rotovator
B brushcutter
C harrow
D plough

Structured and essay-style questions

1. (a) Describe the main features of a medium-sized, four-wheeled farm
(b) State the major advantages and disadvantages of such a tractor for
the farmer.

9 Land preparation

2. (a) (i) List FOUR types of plough drawn by the farm tractor.
(ii) State the main uses of each of the ploughs named in (a)(i).
(b) Farmer Rose is planning to plough a plot of land (comprised of heavy
clay soils, corn stubble and stumps of pigeon pea plants) to cultivate
a crop of cabbage. Which of the ploughs should she use to prepare
the soil for planting? Give reasons for your answer.
3. (a) Naming examples, distinguish between tractor attachments used for:
(i) primary tillage, and
(ii) secondary tillage.
(b) State the main purpose of each of the following attachments:
(i) brushcutter (ii) rotovator
(iii) harrow (iv) trailer
4. (a) List safety gear for workers handling agricultural machinery.
(b) Name FOUR types of safety devices usually built into agricultural
machinery and equipment.
(c) State the importance of safety equipment.
5. (a) Name hand tools and equipment best suited for the following
agricultural operations:
(i) tillage (ii) pruning (iii) harvesting.
(b) State the safety practices which should be followed when using
agricultural tools and equipment.
(c) List the practices necessary for the maintenance of agricultural tools
and equipment.
6. (a) Name THREE combustible fuels commonly used on the farm.
(b) State the importance of such fuels for the farmer.
(c) Explain the precautionary measures which should be followed in
handling such fuels on the farm.
7. Describe how you would use a knapsack sprayer to apply pesticide to a
crop. Include safety measures and how you would clean the equipment
after use.
8. Give an account of the climatic factors which influence crop production
in the Caribbean.

// 11/ /rununmu..........

Plant for ppolo 9V an.d

By the end of 3 describe the external and internal structure of plants
this chapter i describe the functions of the plant structures identified
you should be / explain the processes of sexual and asexual reproduction in plants
able to: 3 distinguish between natural and artificial asexual reproduction
3 relate reproduction in plants to crop production
3 describe the conditions needed for the germination of seeds and the
growth of seedlings
3 explain the roles of photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration,
absorption, translocation, photoperiodism and phototropism in the life
of plants
3 discuss the effects of environmental factors on plant growth and

Concept map
Plant morphology and physiology

Structure and Sexual

Asexual Crop Germination Plant
functions of reproduction in
reproduction production of seeds processes
plants plants

Sexual and
and dicots: Parts of a rhizome asexual hypogeal
seeds flower sucker reproduction: epigeal Transpiration
stem corm Advantages
root bulb Disadvantages light Translocation
leaf Pollination
tuber water
runner temperature
stolon Sowing seeds
Fertilisation and care of
budding seedlings
tissue culture
Seed formation
stem cutting Effect of environmental factors on
root cutting crop production

10 Plant morphology and physiology

10.1 The structure of plants

To cultivate crops, a farmer needs to understand plant structure. Crops can be
grown for their leaves (lettuce), leaf stalks (celery), stems (sugar cane), roots
(carrots), flowers (cauliflowers), fruits (bananas) and seeds (coffee).
Different crops have different requirements and growth patterns, so a farmer
needs to consider the types of crops best suited to the environmental conditions
of the area.

Plant classification
Plants may be classified according to their major group, family, life cycle or growth
seed plants, flowering plants Major group: seed plants, sometimes referred to as flowering plants, produce
monocotyledons, dicotyledons both flowers and seeds; they are further subdivided into monocotyledons and
family Family: monocotyledons and dicotyledons can be divided up into smaller
groups which have many features in common, e.g. peas and beans belong to
the family Leguminoseae.
Life cycle: some plants germinate, grow, flower, seed and die, completing their
annuals life cycle in one growing season or in one year (these are the annuals, such as
lettuce, peas, corn, tomatoes); some take two growing seasons or two years
biennials (biennials, such as carrot, celery, radish, beetroot); others continue to grow,
perennials flower and produce seeds for many years (these are the perennials, such as
citrus, mango, cocoa, coffee).
herbs Growth habit: herbs are plants with soft, non-woody stems, usually less than
shrubs 2 m in height (parsley, bodi beans, coleus, balsam); shrubs have stiff, woody
stems, produce branches close to the ground and grow to heights of less than
trees 5 m (West Indian cherry, guava, hibiscus); trees are tall woody plants with a
well-defined trunk and branches at some distance from the ground (mango,
breadfruit, cedar, teak and mahogany).

Monocotyledons and dicotyledons

Monocotyledons, usually referred to as monocots, and dicotyledons, referred to as
dicots, are made up of a root system and a shoot system. They can be distinguished
by the structure of their seeds, arrangement of their flower parts, root systems and
the shape of their leaves. A comparison of the two groups is given in Table 10.1.

Monocots Dicots
Seeds have one cotyledon (seed leaf) Seeds have two cotyledons and an 111
and an embryo. embryo.
Fibrous root systems. Tap root systems.
Stems with scattered vascular bundles. Stems with cylindrical arrangement of
vascular bundles.
Usually no cambium present in stem or Cambium usually present in stem and
root. root.
Long thin leaves with parallel veins Rounded, broader leaves with net-like
arrangement of veins.
Flower parts in threes, e.g. 3 petals, Flower parts more numerous, often in
3 stamens; grass flowers lack brightly fours and fives, e.g. 5 petals, 5 stamens;
Name ONE example of a monocot plant and ONE coloured petals or sepals. obvious petals and sepals, often brightly
example of a dicot plant. coloured.
Mainly herbs and grasses, with few Herbs, shrubs and trees, e.g. cabbage,
trees, cotton, citrus.
' e.g. corn, rice, sugar cane, bamboo.
How do the flowers of monocots differ from the
flowers of dicots? Table 10.1 The major characteristics of monocots and dicots.

Section B: Crop Production

single spikelet



whole grass plant whole tomato plant

Figure 10.1 A grass plant (monocot) and a tomato plant (dicot).

Plant structure
contains reproductive parts
flower bud

takes in carbon dioxide;
absorbs light for
^^ bud

supports leaves and flowers;
transports water and minerals

r root branches main root
root system:
,.. . provides anchorage
takes up water
takes up minerals

Figure 10.2 The external structure of a typical flowering plant.

Figure 10.2 shows that the root system is below the ground and the shoot system is
above ground. The root system provides anchorage and takes up water and mineral
r ions from the soil. The shoot system supports leaves and flowers, transports water
from roots to leaves, and transports food made in the leaves to other parts of the
plant. The flowers contain the reproductive structures and produce fruits which
contain seeds.

10 - Plant morphology and physiology

There are four main types of roots:
tap roots tap roots consist of a main, or tap, root with lateral roots growing out to the
side (e.g. tomato, mango)
fibrous roots fibrous roots consist of a cluster of roots growing from the base of the stem
(e.g. coconut palm, corn)
adventitious roots adventitious roots grow from the base of stem cuttings (e.g. croton) or from
leaves (e.g. Bryophyllum)
aerial roots aerial roots grow above ground (e.g. Ficus, Philodendron).

Practical activity:
Make drawings of different types
of root systems. aerial

List the main types of roots. 1 adventitious

epidermis Figure 10.3 Main types of roots. Tap root systems are typical of dicots; fibrous
cortex root systems are found in monocots.
Dicot roots
The internal structure of a young dicot root is made up of four types of tissues:
epidermis: a single layer of cells on the outside of the root; cells in young roots
have outgrowths forming root hairs; function is to protect the young root and
to absorb water and mineral ions
Figure 10.4 The internal structure cortex: many unspecialised thin-walled cells, called parenchyma tissue; forms
(transverse section) of a young dicot the bulk of the young root; the cells have spaces between them (intercellular
root. The arrangement of the tissues in spaces)
a young monocot root is very similar. endodermis: a single layer of cells separating cortex from vascular tissue; the
cells control movement of soluble materials between cortex and vascular tissue
vascular tissue: a cylinder at the centre of the root.
Practical activity:
The vascular tissue is made up of several different types of cells (see Table 10.2).
Make drawings of a transverse
section through a young root and Tissue Location in root Functions lir
label all the parts. Xylem In centre of root; can be Transport of water and mineral ions
star-shaped. from soil to aerial parts of the plant.
Phloem Groups of cells found Transport of soluble food substances
between the projecting from where they are made in leaves to
parts of the xylem. the roots.
What are the functions of the xylem and phloem Pericycle Single narrow layer of cells Gives rise to branch roots and the
in a root? just inside the endodermis. cambium tissue which can produce
more vascular tissue and the outer
corky layer on older roots.

What is the pericycle and what is its function?

Section B: Crop Production

herbaceous stems Stems can be soft and non-woody (herbaceous) or woody. Herbaceous stems are
woody stems often green and carry out photosynthesis, but woody stems are covered in a layer
of bark which is waterproof. Monocots have non-woody stems, but dicot trees
and shrubs have woody stems. The stems of most plants grow upright, but some
have underground stems called rhizomes. Cacti have stems which are modified for
vascular bundle
storage of water.
cambium Dicot stem
xylem A dicot stem is made up of the same tissues as the root, but they are arranged
the epidermis has stomata (openings through which exchange of gases occurs
during respiration and photosynthesis)
Figure 10.5 The internal structure there is no definite endodermis
(transverse section) of a young dicot vascular tissue is in separate bundles arranged in a circle around a central
stem. region of cells forming the pith
cambium tissue is located between the xylem and the phloem in each vascular
How does the arrangement of tissues in a stem
differ from that in a root? Monocot stem
The arrangement of tissues in a young monocot stem differs from a dicot stem:
It the vascular bundles are scattered throughout the stem
Distinguish between herbaceous and wood y there is no distinction between the cortex and the pith
stems. there is usually no cambium between the xylem and phloem in the vascular
1'_ bundles.

Practical activity: Leaves

Make drawings of transverse
A typical leaf consists of:
sections through young monocot a leaf blade, or lamina, which is the flat part
stems and dicot stems. a leaf stalk, or petiole, which attaches the leaf to the stem
a midrib, or main vein, consisting of the transporting tissues
a network of smaller veins.

The tip of the leaf is called the apex. The edges of the leaf are referred to as the
The leaves of monocots (e.g. grasses) are long and thin with no definite midrib,
but with parallel veins. The leaves of dicots vary in shape and arrangement, with a
midrib and a network of smaller veins.
simple leaves Simple leaves have a leaf blade that is not divided, but the margin may be smooth
compound leaves (cashew), serrated (hibiscus) or lobed (castor oil). In compound leaves, the blade
is divided into leaflets attached to the leaf stalk. The leaflets may be arranged like
the fingers on a hand (palmate) or in a row either side of the midrib (pinnate).
Examples are shown in Figure 10.7.



monocot leaf pinnate leaf simple dicot leaf palmate leaf

Figure 10.6 The external features of Figure 10.7 Types of leaf.

a typical leaf.
10 Plant morphology and physiology

Leaves may be modified for food storage (fleshy leaf bases in onion), for protection
(outer scale leaves of onion), and for extra photosynthesis (flattened leaf bases of
What are the external differences between
monocot and dicot leaves?
Internally, leaves are made up of epidermis, mesophyll and vascular tissues (see
Table 10.3).

Type of Position in leaf and characteristics Functions

Epidermis Upper epidermis: single layer of cells covering upper Protects the internal tissues; cuticle on upper
surface; layer covered by waxy cuticle; contains fewer epidermis slows down the evaporation
stomata than the lower epidermis. of water from the leaf; stomata allow gas
Lower epidermis: single layer of cells covering lower exchange.
surface; contains more stomata than the upper epidermis.
Mesophyll Tissues between the upper and lower epidermis; cells contain The chloroplasts in the mesophyll cells contain
chloroplasts divided into: chlorophyll, which absorb light energy needed
Palisade mesophyll in the upper part of the leaf; can be for photosynthesis; most photosynthesis occurs
one to three layers thick; cells are elongated, at right angles in the palisade mesophyll; air spaces in spongy
to the upper epidermis and packed tightly; contain large mesophyll allow the circulation of gases
numbers of chloroplasts needed for photosynthesis and respiration.
Spongy mesophyll in the lower part of the leaf; cells are
irregularly-shaped with large air spaces between; contain
fewer chloroplasts than palisade cells.
Vascular Vascular tissue is linked with vascular tissue in the stem; The xylem transports water and mineral ions
tissue present in the main vein and the network of smaller veins; to the leaf; phloem transports sugars from the
composed of xylem and phloem. leaves to other parts of the plant; the xylem
in the midrib and leaf veins supports the leaf
4iilit tissues.

Table 10.3 The internal tissues of a leaf, their characteristic features and functions.

cuticle Cell wall

upper epidermis

000 000
_rrt e? , 0N 000
(:) 000
OO og 0 0 o 0 0 0

O O o
0 n o 2,

op 0
0 0 O
palisade cells-- o
0 0
ot 0 0 o
No 0.9-
O 0 . o
0 0 oo 000 xylem vessel
0 , 0 o to, .)(.? 0,
0 0

mesophyll cells air space saturated with water vapour

- moist cell wall

Hlower epidermis
What are the functions of the epidermis of the 10 C
leaf? stoma guard cell
(gap between

the guard cells)

Figure 10.8 The internal structure of a dicot leaf.

Practical activity:
Make drawings of leaves of The arrangement of the tissues in a monocot leaf (e.g. grasses) differs from that in
monocots and dicots to show their a dicot leaf:
internal and external structures. there is no palisade mesophyll
there is less distinction between upper and lower epidermis
there is no definite midrib.

Section B: Crop Production

embryo A seed contains the embryo which will develop into a young plant. It also contains
testa a store of food for the embryo. A seed is surrounded by the seed coat or testa.

Dicot seed
The broad bean seed is an example of a dicot seed. It has these external features:
the testa, which protects the embryo and the food store
the tiny hole, called the micropyle, through which water enters before
germination can occur
the scar (hilum) showing where the seed was attached to the pod.

cotyledons If the testa is removed, you can see two cotyledons, or seed leaves. The embryo
radicle, plumule consists of the radicle, which grows into the root of the seedling, and the plumule
which develops into the shoot system. These features are shown in Figure 10.9.

a) External appearance b) The testa removed

of a broad bean seed

seed coat seed leaves

or testa (cotyledons)
contain food store
tiny hole
where water plumule
enters before (embryo shoot)
germination embryo

scar where radicle

seed was (embryo root)
to pod

Figure 10.9 Internal and external structure of a dicot seed (broad bean).
Monocot seed
A monocot seed, such as the maize grain in Figure 10.10, differs from the broad
bean seed:
the outer protective coat is formed from fusion of the testa and the fruit wall
as the maize grain is a one-seeded fruit
i s
there is only one cotyledon
Name THREE features that can be seen on the the food store, called the endosperm, is separate from the cotyledon.
outside of a bean seed.
Section through a maize grain A whole maize grain

fruit wall
State where the food is stored in a maize seed
and in a bean seed. food store fruit wall

position of cotyledon
Practical activity: embryo
radicle position of embryo
Investigate the external and

internal structure of monocot and cotyledon point of attachment

to cob
dicot seeds. Make drawings and
write notes about the differences
kil that you find. Note that the maize grain is a one-seeded fruit; the testa and fruit wall are fused

r^ l
Ic l Figure 10.10 Internal and external structure of a monocot seed (maize grain).

1 0 - Plant morphology and physiology

10.2 Sexual and asexual reproduction in plants

Sexual reproduction
The flowers of seed plants contain the organs of sexual reproduction. Most
flowers, such as guava, contain both male and female parts in one flower and are
hermaphrodite called hermaphrodite. But other plants, such as pumpkins, produce separate male
flowers and female flowers on the same plant.

Parts of a flower
A typical flower has the following parts:
a flower stalk, or pedicel: attaches the flower to the stem
receptacle a receptacle: the swollen tip of the pedicel to which all the other floral parts
are attached
calyx a whorl (ring) of sepals, called the calyx: often green; protects the other flower
parts when in a bud
corolla a whorl of petals, called the corolla: usually brightly coloured to attract
pollinating insects
stamens the male parts of the flower, called stamens: each consists of a filament, or
anthers stalk, bearing anthers in which the pollen grains containing the male gametes
are formed
carpels the female parts of the flower, called carpels: each consists of a receptive
stigma surface, the stigma, attached to the ovary by the style; the ovary contains
ovules in which are the female gametes, or egg cells.

Male flowers have all the above parts except the carpels. Female flowers lack


stigma and style


anther !
nectar)/ stamen
filament I

flower stalk

Figure 10.11 The parts of a typical flower (this flower has both male and female
Name the parts of the flower concerned with the
production of the male gametes.
The ovules, which are the potential seeds, are inside the ovary. Depending on the
species, flowers may have one or more carpels and the number of ovules in each
carpel may vary. The number of stamens varies and their location and size depend
What is the function of the style? on the method of pollination.


pollination Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anthers to the stigma. The pollen may
be transferred from the anthers to the stigma of the same flower or to another
self-pollination flower on the same plant; this is known as self-pollination. Or pollen may be
transferred from the anthers of one flower to the stigma of another flower on a
cross-pollination different plant of the same species; this is known as cross-pollination.
Pollination is essential for the production of economic crops, such as cereals
and fruits. Increased pollination leads to increased yields, which results in higher
incomes for the farmers. Cross-pollination is used in plant breeding to increase the

Section B: Crop Production

vigour of a species and to produce plants which are more resistant to pests and
diseases. Farmers are encouraged to place beehives in their orchards and to avoid
t excessive use of insecticides during the flowering period of crops. These measures
Write a definition of pollination. increase the chance of cross-pollination.
Pollination can be brought about by birds, other small animals and humans,
but the main agents are wind and insects. Wind-pollinated flowers and insect-
pollinated flowers show adaptations to their mode of pollination (see Table 10.4).
Name THREE agents which can bring about
pollination. Wind-pollinated flowers Insect-po inated flowers
owers are often small; petals and Flowers are often large, with brightly
pals may be absent; no scent coloured petals to attract insects; may
t -
be scented.
Why is the pollen of wind-pollinated flowers light o nectaries. Nectaries produce sugary nectar to
and smooth? attract insects.
Anthers have long filaments and dangle Anthers have short filaments and are
outside the flower, fixed inside the flower.
Stigmas are long and feathery to trap Stigmas are sticky so that pollen from
Practical activity:
the pollen insect's body attaches.
Look at some pollen from a wind-
Very large amounts of pollen produced. Much smaller amounts of pollen
pollinated flower and some pollen produced.
from an insect-pollinated flower. Pollen grains are small, light and Pollen grains are heavier and sticky; the
Make notes on the differences smooth outer wall is often sculptured.
that you observe. Examples: grass cerea Examples: beans, guavas.

Table 10.4 A comparison of wind-pollinated and insect-pollinated flowers.

fertilisation Fertilisation is the fusion (joining) of a male gamete with a female gamete to form a
zygote, which develops into the embryo. After pollination, pollen grains germinate
on the surface of the stigma and pollen tubes grow down through the tissues of the
style to the ovary. At the tip of each pollen tube are three nuclei: two male nuclei
(the male gametes) and a pollen tube nucleus. When the pollen tube reaches an
ovule, the tip releases the nuclei. One male nucleus fuses with the egg cell (female
gamete) in the ovule to form the zygote. The second fuses with nuclei in the ovule
to form food storage tissue. The zygote develops into the embryo.

Seed formation
seed formation After fertilisation, seed formation occurs. The fertilised egg develops into the
embryo of the new plant. Food, made by photosynthesis in the parent plant, is
stored in the endosperm tissue. In some seeds, such as peas and beans, the food
store develops in two cotyledons which become swollen. In other seeds, such
as castor bean and maize, food is not stored in the cotyledons, but remains as a
separate tissue. The tissues which surrounded the ovule in the ovary become the
Describe what happens during fertilisation. seed coat.

Asexual reproduction
asexual reproduction Asexual reproduction refers to the propagation of plants by means of vegetative
parts and does not involve gametes. Asexual reproduction can be achieved by
natural methods, e.g. tubers, suckers and rhizomes, or artificially by cuttings,
budding, grafting and tissue culture.

Natural methods of asexual reproduction

Several crops produce vegetative parts (see Figure 10.12) which farmers use as
planting materials. A farmer can grow bananas from banana suckers, yams from
yam tubers and eddoes from eddoe corms. These vegetative parts are referred to as
organs of perennation organs of perennation; they store food, enabling the plant to survive in a dormant
state during the dry season and to resume growth when conditions become
favourable (see Table 10.5). Many of the plant parts used in natural vegetative
propagation are also eaten by humans and other animals (e.g. potato tubers).
10 Plant morphology and physiology

root tuber.
sucker e.g. sweet pota


rhizome, e.g. ginger

stolon, e.g. grasses


Figure 10.12 Examples of vegetative organs.

Vegetative Description Example

sucker Underground shoot growing banana; pineapple
from the basal part of the
parent plant.
tuber Swollen underground stem yam and Irish potato are stem
or root: tubers
stem tuber: with axillary sweet potato and cassava are
buds and scale leaves root tubers
root tuber: without (sweet potato: with portion of
axillary buds and scale stem attached, will sprout.
leaves cassava: does not sprout)
rhizome Thick, underground stem: ginger; saffron; canna lily;
branched with axillary and ginger lily
terminal buds and scale
Corm Short, swollen underground eddo; tannia; dasheen
stem arising from the parent
bulb Very short, disc-like stem onion; lily
with tightly rolled, fleshy
and scale leaves.
stolon Slender, creeping stem: Bahama grass; nut grass
usually underground,
branched, rooting at the
Name FIVE natural methods of plant propagation.
runner Creeping stem: usually on strawberry; savanna grass;
the soil surface, with long pumpkin
internodes, rooting at the
Define asexual reproduction. nodes.

Table 10.5 Some organs of perennation.

Section B: Crop Production

Artificial propagation
The main methods of artificial propagation are:
cuttings, e.g. cocoa, guava
layering, e.g. rose, lime
budding, e.g. orange, avocado
grafting, e.g. mango
tissue culture, e.g. orchid, banana.

Cuttings are pieces of stem, root or leaf, taken from a plant and given the right
conditions for growth. They contain cells capable of dividing and producing new
tissues. After cuttings have been taken from the parent plant, they need to be kept
in suitable conditions of humidity, light and temperature. High humidity prevents
cuttings from drying out, so they are usually kept in a propagator.
stem cuttings Types of stem cuttings (pieces of stem from which new plants will grow) are
listed in Table 10.6.

Type of cutting Details of technique Examples

Hardwood; taken from Length 12-20 cm with four buds; Grape, pomegranate
mature plants with leaves