Compared to commercial farming, subsistence farming is much better in terms of the health and future of the human beings. It involves nearly total self sufficiency and you need not get into details of soil chemistry, fertilizing or irrigation. When the soil becomes infertile the farmers move into another land and clear the vegetation and start farming there. This type of farming is found in Africa, Middle America, South America and Southeast Asia. There are two types of like extensive farming and intensive farming. In extensive farming, large areas of land and minimal labour per unit area are involved. But the production and pop density will be low.
In the intensive farming, cultivation is done small landholdings and more expenditure per labour per unit area is involved. The production and pop density are both high in this type of farming. In subsistence farming nomadic herding is seen in large quantities in different parts of the world. This is a wandering way of farming and controlled movement of livestock is dependent on natural food exploration. In this kind of farming, sheep, goats and camels are the most common and in some places cattle, horses and yaks are also seen. These animals are used for its milk, cheese, and meat for food, hair, wool and skin for clothing.
Skin is often used for shelter and excrement of fuel. But nomadic herding is declining because of the way of life of the people all over the world. There are large numbers of people who are involved in subsistence farming and it is mostly seen in monsoon Asia because of the warm and moist river valleys and delta regions. Wheat, millet, rice etc are the main crops done through this kind of farming. Depending on the kind of crop, water management has to be planned. Water management is very important for rice farming and the type of the ground is also important.
Grown for Labour and Fertilizers
The animals reared in this kind of farming are ducks, chicken and swine and is mainly used for meat. Cattle are also grown and these animals are grown for labour and also to produce natural fertilizers. Subsistence farming is more like self sufficiency farming and the food grown are used for their own use. Planting is usually done keeping an eye on what the family need for the coming year. The labourers are the people who grow what they eat and they usually do not make a purchase from the market.
In this type of farming people usually clear a patch of land by felling and burning and the crops are grown is these areas. Once the fertility of the soil diminishes they move on to another patch of land and start cultivating there. The abandoned land is left as it is and the forest grows back in this land for the farmer to return after a certain point of time. This is ideal if the population is less and the food produced is shared with only lesser people. Once the population is high and the demand is also high, commercial farming has to be done to meet the demands.