Q1. HOW AND WHEN AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES BEGAN? DISCUSS.
HIGHLIGHT THE HISTORY OF AGRICULTURE.
THE ROOTS OF MODERN AGRICULTURE ARE BURIED IN ANCIENT PERIOD’. GIVE THE VALIDITY OF THE STATEMENT.
According to a cautious estimation, man has been living on this planet for the last 2 million years but when agriculture did began here, nothing can be said about it with certainty. In other words, no material and trustworthy proof about the commencement of agricultural activities is available. Prior to agriculture, to meet his food requirements, man used to depend on hunting the wild animals, fishing and gathering the fruits and roots from the jungle. Man, during this period, had to keep himself busy round the clock in searching the food only. He used to hunt daily for using the same daily. The men still satisfy the food requirements like those of pre-historic days in the Tundra Region. These prehistoric tribes are called ‘Eskimos in Tundra, Bush Man in Namibia and Nostiwana in Australia.
It has been efforted by the historian to collect historical incidents so that they could ascertain that when agriculture did began and what was the environmental situation that time? Origination of development of agriculture, hunting and herding activities are not the matter of some years but it is the process of centuries. The question of paramount importance arises here that why and when the hunters converted into the cultivators?
This complex and significant question is answered by the human mind that as, with the passage of time, the human population expended, hunting and fishing acquired more importance as the human occupation. The man simultaneously also realized that depending on hunting and fishing for food was not possible for a longer time. It became, therefore, apparent that some thing was to be sought out as the substitute of hunting and fishing.
Man, abandoning the hunting and fishing age, steeped in the Pastoral Age due to which not only food but milk was also added to the food items. Moreover, skin for tents and cloth was achieved. Agriculture began as the source of cattle feed. The same cattle, afterwards, were used as drought animals. Plant Agriculture, began incidentally, it is estimated that cultivation like activities began 10,000 to 9,000 B.C. According to Agriculture Geographers Karl Seur, ancient agriculture began as ‘Vage Culture according to which the plants used to be sown again as seed. For instance, the stem of the tree used to be pulled out of ground and its roots were separated and then they were buried in the ground which used to be germinated. Seed Agriculture began afterwards. Seeds are sown under Seed Agriculture on the annual basis to achieve flowers and fruits. Production from Vage-Culture, no doubt, was low but this was a better way to achieve food items as compared to gathering them from jungles. Agricultural activities freed the man from wandering in search of animals and gathering food from the forests. Now the man began to live in groups permanently at a certain place. This was the first time in the history when the land came under the ownership of man. When he got some spared time, he began to thing about other skills, arts and occupations. Consequently, modern industry came into being. Simultaneously, religion and politics also emerged. The agricultural activities when came into being in the beginning were very simple, with the passage of time and the scientific inventions and innovations, were converted into mechanized farming and the most modern society came into being.
History of agriculture can be classified into four periods but it should be noted that these periods, in their length, are not the same but some are very long while other are comparatively short because the scientific development, with the passage of time shorten the period of change.
1. PREHISTORIC PERIOD:
The ancient and beginner cultivators were Neolithic Farmers who used to cultivate near by their houses. Neolithic Farming began in different suitable regions.
Similarly, cattle were also kept at different places in different times. Nevertheless, according to estimation this first period of farming began 10,000 to 6,000 B.C.
2. HISTORIC AGRICULTURE THROUGH ROMAN PERIOD:
Farming near the houses, with the passage of time, abandoned with simultaneous use of metals which change the pattern of cultivation also. This phase of agriculture ended with the fall of Roman Empire.
3. FEUDAL AGRICULTURE:
Immediate after the fall of Roman Empire, the period of Feudal Lords began and reached to its peak up to year 1100. Byzantine State also came into being during the same period.
4. MECHANIZED FARMING:
The population of Europe increased tremendously in the beginning of 16th. century and so the demand for food grains also increased. The new methods for increasing the productivity of agricultural sector were thought over. Scientific inventions and agricultural research changed the agricultural sector miraculously. The man, leaving the use of labour with cattle, began to use machines and scientific methods. During this period, not only food crops but industrial crops also began to be sown.
After the Second World War (1945), demand for food crops increased rapidly due to fast increase in the world population. Green Revolution emerged during this period under which the Selected Crops began to be sown instead of traditional crops. Now, the crops were sown in the light of climatic conditions as well as the characteristics of soils.