Earth & Geography

Where Did Agriculture Begin? How It Started?

We all have heard and known the term ‘Farmers and farming’ for a long time now. We were taught that the practice of cultivating land for crops and breeding animals for products is compiled under a broad term called ‘Agriculture’.

Ever wondered that if our ancestors were cavemen and hunted for a living and then evolution happened, we are missing a step of who, how, when and why discovered it?.
Now let’s solve this mystery and clear our concepts of the term AGRICULTURE.

First of all agriculture word is a mixture of two words ‘agri’ and ‘culture’ which means field and cultivating respectively, originating from Latin root.

In simple words agriculture is the art, science, technique, knowledge, and creativity of the farmer for the practice of cultivating the soil, growing crops and raising livestock. It includes the preparation of plant and animal products for people to use and their distribution to markets. Most of the world’s food and fabrics are a final product of agriculture.

Agriculture is the main occupation in India where seventy percent of the population still practices it for a living. These farmers grow and supply food. There are various types of farming under this broad category of agriculture such as arable farming where crops like wheat barley and rice are grown, another one is pastoral farming where cattle are bred for dairy products such as milk, ghee, curd etc. There are various other kinds of farming too such as breeding honeybees for honey and mixed farming where farmers grow crops and breed animals together, which prevails in ninety percent of Indian villages to support their poverty arena by helping in generating some extra revenue and last but not the least ‘Horticulture’, it deals with cultivation fruits vegetables and other such crops.. Through above lines, we have clearly figured out that agriculture plays a very vital role in any country’s economy as it supports many people’s livelihood and provides the basic needs of others residing in a country to whom it is exported and marketed to. Thus the whole chain of farmers, shopkeepers, and consumers survive on agriculture.

Agriculture is very common practice as we all know but with the advantages of agriculture such as survival and providing us products it has various disadvantages too on the environment which can be listed as soil exhaustion which means over usage of soil and exploiting it with fertilizers resulting in depleting the mineral levels of the soil.

Nowadays as agricultural culture is very demanded sector it has emerged various technologies and modernization in the process. There is a whole study for agricultural science which is known as Agronomy which deals with the study of crops and in the soil which they grow the developed methods to improve the usage of soil and deplete the disadvantages caused by agriculture. Whereas Agricultural Engineering refers to knowledge about the farm machines and types of equipment.

All this kind of knowledge is very necessary for a farmer to cultivate or grow a healthy crop and generate maximum value.

With all this information we know that surely, life without agriculture, now isn’t practically possible. But the question stands still, who discovered it and when?

Agriculture came into practice 12.000 years ago from today. There are various theories saying different aspects of the invention of agriculture.

Traces of farming were seen in the ancient period of Mohenjodaro where proper canal system was designed for irrigation of crops. Another theory is portrayed by ‘Neolithic theory’ which says that it was amongst 10000 to 2000 BC when this transition from human societies of hunting and gathering shifted to farming which was believed to originated earliest in the middle east. Some even state Iraq as the origin of agriculture from around 8000-year-old archaeological shreds of evidence.

The first crops to be grown where guessed to be wheat and barley with lentils and peas. It is believed that our ancestors came with the idea of agriculture and farming to maintain a balance in the ecosystem which was being disturbed due to all the hunting. They first grew on survived on wild crops which were found commonly in the forests and cames up with the idea of growing more themselves which improved with the day by day modernizing technology which brought an ‘Agricultural Revolution’ where techniques like horse-drawn seed press came into practice to reduce the extensive labour in farming and many such other detailings which were initiated in Great Britain.

Cereal crops were first domesticated around 9000 BCE in the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East. Amongst the first crops, many were generally annuals with large seeds or fruits. So farming was a result of hunter-gatherers as because of starvation they started gathering wild seeds and grain and then started growing them in forest soil.

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Amrita Singh

I'm from Delhi. By profession, I am a teacher but at the same time, I love writing also.

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