Portal:Agriculture and Agronomy

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Agriculture and agronomy portal

Ploughing rice paddies with water buffalo, in Indonesia.

Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization. The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science. The history of agriculture dates back thousands of years, and its development has been driven and defined by greatly different climates, cultures, and technologies. However, all farming generally relies on techniques to expand and maintain the lands suitable for raising domesticated species. For plants, this usually requires some form of irrigation, although there are methods of dryland farming; pastoral herding on rangeland is still the most common means of raising livestock. In the developed world, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture has become the dominant system of modern farming, although there is growing support for sustainable agriculture. The major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers, fuels, and raw materials.

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(Pictured left: Mechanical harvesting of dates in Israel)

Agriculture in Israel is a highly developed industry: Israel is a major exporter of fresh produce and a world-leader in agricultural technologies despite the fact that the geography of Israel is not naturally conducive to agriculture. More than half of the land area is desert, and the climate and lack of water resources do not favor of farming. Only 20% of the land area is naturally arable.[1] Today agriculture represents 2.5% of total GDP and 3.6% of exports.[2] While agricultural workers make up only 3.7% of the work force, Israel produces 95% of its own food requirements, supplementing this with imports of grain, oil seeds, meat, coffee, cocoa and sugar.[2]

Israel is home to two unique types of agricultural communities, the kibbutz and moshav, which developed as Jews from all over the world immigrated to the country and embarked on a pioneering enterprise.

The importance of agriculture in Israel's economy has fallen over time, accounting for decreasing values of GDP. In 1979, it accounted for just under 6% of GDP, in 1985 5.1%, and today, 2.5%.[3] In 1995, there were 43,000 farm units with an average size of 13.5 hectares. 19.8% of these were smaller than 1 hectare, 75.7% were 1 to 9 hectares in size, 3.3% were between 10 and 49 hectares, 0.4% were between 50 and 190 hectares, and 0.8% were larger than 200 hectares.[3] Of the 380,000 hectares under cultivation in 1995, 20.8% was under permanent cultivation and 79.2% under rotating cultivation.[3] Farm units included 160,000 hectares used for activities other than cultivation. Cultivation was based mainly in the northern coastal plains, the hills of the interior, and the upper Jordan Valley.[3]

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Sustainable agriculture

Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It has been defined as "an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term:

Sustainable agriculture in the United States was addressed by the 1990 farm bill.[5] More recently, as consumer and retail demand for sustainable products has risen, organizations such as Food Alliance and Protected Harvest have started to provide measurement standards and certification programs for what constitutes a sustainably grown crop.[6]

Categories: Sustainable agriculture, Sustainability

Did you know...

...the highest recorded kale, grown by a farmer in Australia, was more than 6 feet (2 m) high?
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References

  1. ^ Israel Peri-urban Agriculture
  2. ^ a b "Agriculture in Israel". Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  3. ^ a b c d Agriculture in Israel
  4. ^ Gold, M. (July 2009). What is Sustainable Agriculture?. United States Department of Agriculture, Alternative Farming Systems Information Center.
  5. ^ Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (FACTA), Public Law 101-624, Title XVI, Subtitle A, Section 1603
  6. ^ Organic and non-GMO Report. New certification programs aim to encourage sustainable farming.
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