Subsistence farming

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Subsistence Farming in Zambia

Subsistence farming is the kind of farming done by farmers who have small plots, enough only for themselves. Literally, subsistence agriculture means no extra food is produced to sell or trade. This means farming doesn't give them money to buy things. However, today most subsistence farmers also do trade to some degree.[1] From time to time they may need money to buy essential things to keep going.

Subsistence farming may also mean shifting farming or nomadic herding (see nomadic people).


  1. A family has only one cow to give milk only for that family.
  2. A farmer grows only enough wheat to make bread for his or her family.

References[change | change source]

  1. Tony Waters 2007. The persistence of subsistence agriculture: life beneath the level of the marketplace. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.