CBSE Notes Class 8 Geography Chapter 4-Agriculture

The word agriculture is derived from the Latin words “ager” or “agri” meaning soil and culture meaning, cultivation. Agriculture is a primary activity that includes growing crops, fruits, vegetables, flowers and rearing of livestock. In the world, 50% of persons are engaged in agricultural activity. Two-thirds of India’s population is still dependent on agriculture. Further details about this concept can be drawn from Chapter 4 of CBSE Class 8 Geography. We have also provided CBSE Notes Class 8 Geography Chapter 4-Agriculture for the students to prepare most competently for the exam.

Students can also download the PDF version of the CBSE Class 8 Geography Notes of Chapter 4 from the link given below in this article.

Download CBSE Notes Class 8 Social Science Geography Chapter 4-Agriculture PDF


The transformation from a plant to a finished product involves three types of economic activities-primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary activities include the extraction and production of natural resources. Examples- Agriculture, fishing and gathering. Secondary activities- the processing of these resources. Examples- Manufacturing of steel, baking of bread and weaving of cloth. Tertiary activities-provide support to the primary and secondary sectors through services. Examples- Transport, trade, banking, insurance and advertising.

For More Information On Agriculture, Watch The Below Video:

Agriculture is a primary activity. Favourable topography of soil and climate are vital for agricultural activity.

Farm System

Agriculture or farming can be looked at as a system. Important inputs-seeds, fertilisers, machinery and labour. Operations involved-ploughing, sowing, irrigation, weeding and harvesting. The outputs from the system-crops, wool, dairy and poultry products.

Types of Farming

Subsistence farming and Commercial farming– main types of farming depending upon the geographical conditions, demand of produce, labour and level of technology.

Subsistence farming- classified as intensive subsistence and primitive subsistence farming.

Subsistence farming Intensive subsistence agriculture Primitive subsistence agriculture
The type of farming is practised to meet the needs of the farmer’s family. The farmer cultivates a small plot of land using simple tools and more labour. Climate with a large number of days with sunshine and fertile soils permit growing of more than one crop annually on the same plot. Includes shifting cultivation and nomadic herding.

Shifting Cultivation– a plot of land is cleared by felling the trees and burning them. The ashes are then mixed with the soil and crops are grown. After the soil loses its fertility, the land is abandoned and the cultivator moves to a new plot. Shifting cultivation is also known as ‘slash and burn’ agriculture.

Nomadic Herding-herdsmen move from place to place with their animals for fodder and water, along defined routes. This type of movement arises in response to climatic constraints and terrain.

Main Crop

Other Crops


Wheat, maize, pulses and oilseeds

Shifting Cultivation– maize, yam, potatoes and cassava

Nomadic Herding-Sheep, camel, yak and goats are most commonly reared. They provide milk, meat, wool, hides and other products to the herders and their families.

Areas Prevalent in the thickly populated areas of the monsoon regions of the south, southeast and east Asia. Shifting Cultivation-practised in the thickly forested areas of Amazon basin, tropical Africa, parts of Southeast Asia and Northeast India.

Nomadic Herding– practised in the semi-arid and arid regions of Sahara, Central Asia and some parts of India, like Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.

For More Information On Subsistence Farming, Watch The Below Video:

Commercial Farming– Commercial grain farming, mixed farming and plantation agriculture

Commercial Farming Commercial grain farming Mixed Farming Plantation Agriculture
Crops are grown and animals reared-sale in market. The large area is cultivated and a large amount of capital is used. Work done by machines. Crops are grown for commercial purposes.

These areas are sparsely populated with large farms spreading over hundreds of hectares. Severe winters restrict the growing season and only a single crop can be grown.

The land is used for growing food and fodder crops and rearing livestock A type of commercial farming where a single crop is grown. Large amount of labour and capital are required. The produce may be processed on the farm itself or in nearby factories. The development of a transport network is thus essential for such farming.
Crops Wheat and maize Tea, coffee, sugarcane, cashew, rubber, banana or cotton
Areas Temperate grasslands of North America, Europe and Asia Practised in Europe, eastern USA, Argentina, southeast Australia, New Zealand and South Africa Major plantations found in the tropical regions of the world. Rubber in Malaysia, coffee in Brazil, tea in India and Sri Lanka

Major Crops

  • Major food crops– wheat, rice, maize and millets.
  • Fibre crops-jute and cotton
  • Important beverage crops-tea and coffee

Rice- the staple diet of the tropical and sub-tropical regions-needs high temperature, high humidity and rainfall-grows best in alluvial clayey soil, which can retain water-Leading producers of rice are China, followed by India, Japan, Sri Lanka and Egypt-In favourable climatic conditions like West Bengal and Bangladesh 2 to 3 crops are grown in a year.

Wheat– requires moderate temperature and rainfall during the growing season- bright sunshine at the time of harvest- thrives best in well-drained loamy soil-grown extensively in USA, Canada, Argentina, Russia, Ukraine, Australia and India- grown in winter in India.

Millets– known as coarse grains-can be grown on less fertile and sandy soils-a hardy crop that needs low rainfall and high to moderate temperature and adequate rainfall- Jowar, bajra and ragi are grown in India-also in Nigeria, China and Niger.

Maize-requires moderate temperature, rainfall and lots of sunshine-needs well-drained fertile soils- grown in North America, Brazil, China, Russia, Canada, India, and Mexico.

Cotton– requires high temperature, light rainfall, 210 frost-free days and bright sunshine to grow-grows best on black and alluvial soils-Leading producers of cotton are China, USA, India, Pakistan, Brazil and Egypt-main raw materials for the cotton textile industry.

Jute-known as the ‘Golden Fibre’-grows well on alluvial soil- requires high temperature, heavy rainfall and humid climate- grown in the tropical areas-Leading producers of Jute are India and Bangladesh.

Coffee– requires a warm and wet climate and well-drained loamy soil-Hill slopes are more suitable for the growth of crop-Leading producers are Brazil followed by Columbia and India.

Tea– a beverage crop grown on plantations-requires cool climate and well-distributed high rainfall throughout the year for the growth of its tender leaves-needs well-drained loamy soils and gentle slopes-Kenya, India, China, Sri Lanka produce the best quality tea in the world.

Agricultural Development

Efforts made to increase farm production in order to meet the growing demand of the increasing population-achieved in many ways such as increasing the cropped area, the number of crops grown, improving irrigation facilities, use of fertilisers and high yielding variety of seeds-ultimate aim of agricultural development is to increase food security.

Developing countries with large populations practice intensive agriculture where crops are grown on small holdings mostly for subsistence-larger holdings are popular for commercial agriculture.

Frequently asked Questions on CBSE Class 8 Geography Notes Chapter 4: Agriculture

What is ‘Commercail Farming’?

Commercial agriculture is a large-scale production of crops for sale, intended for widespread distribution to wholesalers or retail outlets.

What are the benefits of ‘Agricultural developments’?

1. Reduced poverty 2. Increased economic growth 3. Resources for several industries

What is ‘Subsistence farming’?

Subsistence farming, or subsistence agriculture, is when a farmer grows food for themselves and their family on a small plot of land.

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