Plantation agriculture is that branch of commercial farming which deals with crops grown with an aim of profit. This type of agriculture requires larges pieces of land. The countries where plantation agriculture is carried out successfully are usually recipient of high rainfall and high temperature, year-wise. The concept of plantation agriculture was brought forward by Europeans at the time of colonies, which were set up in the tropics. The major crops grown out of plantation agriculture are tea, rubber, coffee, cotton, palm oil, bananas, sugar cane and even pineapples. All these crops, as well known, are in quite a high demand commercially.
What exactly is a plantation?
This is basically an artificially-established forest area, which can be a long form or an estate. Here, the crops being grown are for sale. The markets for these crops are usually distant and somewhere far away. The term plantation is informal and not precisely defined. The word plantation is not exactly official and not entirely definitive either. Plantations are large scaled developments. The crops on a plantation are grown for the purpose of being sold for a profit, and not for consuming locally.
As plantations usually refer to a large piece of land, economies of scale is possible. The crop can be grown in humongous quantities. In a plantation, usually just one type of crop is grown in a large area. These crops are well looked after, and not particularly left up to their natural defenses. A lot of science and expert opinions go into determining where a particular plantation should be set up. An industrial plantation, for instance, will be set up with an aim to produce a lot of wood in a small amount of time for every society in particular.
State forest authorities are usually responsible for growing plantations. Other than them, industry giants and private land moguls also set up plantations. Any plantation would ideally need a lot of labor that works at a low wage, in the sense that the particular worker only knows the work required of a plantation worker. The success of a plantation practically hinges on the economic advantage that can be derived from paying a small amount to labor, while taking a lot of work and productivity in return from them.
Other type of farm establishments have a clear disadvantage when compared to plantations. Any technological change or advancement that is needed in the farming work can be introduced without any hitches or hesitance. All the people involved in the running of a plantation, be it the supervisor or the admin staff, are usually compliant to the others being delivered. This makes the implementation of new technology that much smoother, and productivity, that much higher. When it comes to plantations, India is very rich in terms of flowers. Roses, for instance, are largely grown in plantations. Their commercial value is huge, as they are a religious flower, and are also used in production of essence, scents and other items. The world of plantation is really profitable and open to all wishing to make a smooth living.
Farms today are run like any other business with the emphasis on marketing, finance, sales and accounting. There are many international farming associations that consist of people who are directly or indirectly involved in the agricultural process and who have an interest in agriculture in other parts of the world, not just their own. Some of these associations are The International Farming Systems Association, The International Farm Management Association and The International Society of Organic Agriculture Research.
Organic farming is the type of farming that relies on green manure, compost and pest control to maintain the soil. Organic farming strictly limits the use of manufactured pesticides, hormones, fertilizers and antibiotics. Organic methods are regulated throughout the world and legally enforced in many countries. The international organization IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) sets all standards and rules.
Farming at one time was the way of life in nearly every country. Before the twentieth century, the average American family lived on a small farm. Families raised cattle, sheep, chicken, and planted vegetables, fruits, corn and wheat. The farming life was hard work and families barely harvested enough food for their household. New machinery and scientific methods changed farming and made it much more productive. As farming became less important as a family’s way of life, it became a significant business in the United States
- During 2017-18 crop year, food grain production is expected to reach a record 277.49 million tonnes. During 2016-17, it was 275.68 million tonnes.
- India has been the world’s largest producer of milk for the last two decades and contributes 19 per cent of the world’s total milk production.
- India is emerging as the export hub of instant coffee which has led to exports of coffee increase 17 per cent in calendar year 2017 to reach US$ 958.80 million. Tea exports from India reached a 36 year high of 240.68 million kgs in CY 2017.
- India topped the list of shrimp exporters globally in 2016 with exports of US$ 3.8 billion which are expected to double to US$ 7 billion by 2022.
- Total area in India, sown with rabi crops reached 64.29 million hectares in February 2018.
- India is the second largest fruit producer in the world. India’s horticulture output reached 300.64 million tonnes in 2016-17 and is expected to reach 305.43 million tonnes in 2017-18.
- Agricultural export constitutes 10 per cent of the country’s exports and is the fourth-largest exported principal commodity. Agricultural exports from India reached US$ 28.09 billion during April 2017-January 2018 with exports of basmati, buffalo meat reaching US$ 6.19 billion and US$ 6.59 billion, respectively.
- India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of spices and spice products. Spice exports from India grew by 6 per cent year-on-year between April-September 2017 to US$ 1.37 billion.
- Dairy sector in India is expected to grow at 15 per cent CAGR to reach Rs 9.4 trillion (US$ 145.7) billion by 2020.
- The online food delivery industry grew at 150 per cent year-on-year with an estimated Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of US$ 300 million in 2016. The sector grew 15 per cent every quarter during January-September 2017.
According to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the Indian agricultural services and agricultural machinery sectors have cumulatively attracted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity inflow of about US$ 2.02 billion and US$ 466.31 million, respectively, during April 2000 to December 2017. The food processing sector attracted FDI of US$ 8.37 billion in the same period.
Some major investments and developments in agriculture are as follows:
- The first mega food park in Rajasthan was inaugurated in March 2018.
- Sugar production in India is expected to reach 27.2 million tonnes in 2017-18 season (October-September).
- In January 2018, India Agri Business Fund II (IABF-II), co-sponsored by Rabobank, the UK’s CDC Group and Asian Development Bank (ADB), made an investment worth US$ 10 million for a minority stake in Global Gourmet Pvt Ltd, a frozen food products exporting company.
- A loan agreement of US$ 318 million was signed between the Government of India, Government of Tamil Nadu and the World Bank in December 2017 for the ‘Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernization Project’ through which is expected to benefit around 500,000 farmers in the state.
- Cotton output in India is expected to increase by 9 per cent in 2017-184 to 37.7 million bales.