Subsistence farming

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Subsistence Farming in Zambia

Subsistence farming is farming done by farmers who have small plots, or little water, or otherwise grow 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 true subsistence farmers are few. Most also do trading to some degree.[1] From time to time they may need money to buy essential things to keep going.

Subsistence farmers may also move from place to place for nomadic herding (see nomadic people).


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

Challenges faced by subsistence farming[change | change source]

Subsistence farmers are those who grow crops and raise animals for their own consumption and to meet the basic needs of their families or communities. They do not produce surplus food for trade or sale. Subsistence farming is common in rural areas of developing countries, where farmers may lack access to modern agricultural technologies, markets, and financial resources. However, it can also be found in other parts of the world, including some rural communities in developed countries where people still engage in traditional farming practices.[2]

Subsistence farming can provide food security, sustainability, community building, and resilience for the farmers and their families. However, it also faces a number of challenges, such as:

  • The impacts of climate change: Climate change can affect the availability and quality of water, soil, and seeds, as well as the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, such as droughts, floods, and pests. These can reduce the crop yields and livestock productivity of subsistence farmers, and increase their vulnerability to food insecurity and poverty.[3]
  • Low levels of education: Many subsistence farmers have limited access to formal education and literacy, which can limit their ability to acquire new skills and knowledge, and to adopt innovative methods to improve their farming practices and livelihoods.[4]
  • Lack of knowledge regarding innovative methods to increase productivity and sustainability: Subsistence farmers may not be aware of or have access to improved seeds, fertilizers, irrigation systems, pest management, and other modern agricultural technologies that can help them increase their crop yields and quality, and reduce their environmental impact.[5]
  • A shortage of labour skills to ensure the succession of subsistence farming: Subsistence farming is often a family or community activity, where the elders pass on their knowledge and skills to the younger generations. However, due to urbanization, migration, and changing aspirations, many young people may not be interested in or able to continue the subsistence farming tradition, which can threaten the future of this type of farming.[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. Tony Waters 2007. The persistence of subsistence agriculture: life beneath the level of the marketplace. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
  2. "Subsistence Farming Definition". Agriculture land usa. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  3. Team, ClearIAS (19 March 2022). "Indian Agriculture: Farming Types, Features and Challenges". ClearIAS. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  4. Platt, Justin (27 September 2019). "Learn All About Subsistence Farming in South Africa". Zylem. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  5. "Subsistence Agriculture - Types, Role in Poverty Alleviation". Testbook. Retrieved 9 February 2024.
  6. Platt, Justin (27 September 2019). "Learn All About Subsistence Farming in South Africa". Zylem. Retrieved 9 February 2024.