8th July 2020




DATE: 4th July, 2020


SUBJECT: Basic Science



BRIEF EXPLANATION: Agriculture is one of the oldest industries and its origin can be traced to the earliest human societies. The history of the development of the human race is related to that of agricultural development. The early settlers relied on the collection of wild fruits and roots for food, and they began planting these where the lived.




As men advance from

  1. Subsistent agriculture
  2. Shifting culture
  3. Crop rotation
  4. Commercial farming

SUBSISTENT AGRICULTURE: As men advance from hunting and gathering stage, the act of cultivating certain plants and domestication of animals were developed. This was a period of self-sufficiency, which was the beginning of settled life, when people began to group themselves in villages.

Subsistent agriculture is and old system of farming whereby farmers made use of crude implements to cultivate the land and rear certain types of animals to produce enough food to sustain themselves and their families.

SHIFTING CULTIVATION: This is generally described as hoe and cutlers farming. The system is adopted in many parts of West Africa where agricultural development has not reached advance levels. Shifting cultivation is the system in which a farmer uses an area of land for two to four years. When the soil nutrients are exhausted and the crop yield is low, the land is left to fallow for some period of years, during which time the farmer uses other portions of land to farm. Shifting cultivation is of two versions, bush and village rotations. Bush rotation is clearing and the cultivation of new bushes for at least two years after which the farmer moves to another area and repeats the process whereas, village rotation involves the total population of a community moving from an area. After clearing and cultivating an area, they move elsewhere again.

CROP ROTATION: Crop rotation is a modern or scientific system of farming whereby different crops are grown continually on the same piece of land in such a way that they follow a definite sequence or order. A farmer cultivates the same plot of land continuously instead of moving from one place to another with the aim of improving his productivity.

COMMERCIAL FARMING: Commercial farming is an advanced stage of agriculture farming whereby commercial crops such as cocoa, coffee, etc. are planted at plantation level with the principal aim of producing raw materials for the growing industries, food for the teaming population, as well as to serve as a source of foreign exchange earnings for the country. Commercial farming involves the cultivation of land for a particular crop. A huge investment in terms of money, labour and management skills are involved. Plantation agriculture is suitable for the cultivation of commercials crops such as oil palm, tobacco and cotton.



The role of science and technology in agriculture is enormous. As a result of increase in the human population, the demand for food and agricultural produce/products for industrial purposes increased. There is therefore a need to meet up to this demand. This is the role science and technology has come to play.


Weather and climate are important climate factors that influence agricultural production, since agricultural performance depends on nature, in terms of prevailing weather and climate of the environment in which it is being practised. Therefore, the study of weather and climate scientifically cannot be overemphasized. The science of meteorology and climatology have evolved more sophisticated methods of studying the weather and also accounting for the changes or the variations in climatic factors from place to place.

The success or failure of farming operations depends very much on man’s understanding of the elements of weather and climate.

Incubators and milking machines.

Science have aided livestock farmers by inventing incubators and milking machines. Artificial incubators which can hatch thousands of eggs at once have been developed rather than allowing hens to incubate their eggs which are seldom more than ten at a time. Milking machines are also developed to extract milk from milk producing animals, rather than the use of hands for the extraction.

Plant and animal nutrition

Nutrition is the art of giving or getting the right type of food for good health or growth. The knowledge of the mineral content of the soil can be applied in crop nutrition. This enables the development of fertilizers which when properly applied will lead to good crop yield.

The scientific study of soil enables the farmers to know which type of soil is suitable for specific crops.



The demand for food continues to increase as a result in the increase of human population. To meet up with this demand, farmers have to change their primitive farm tools such as axes, hoes and cutlasses with tractors, cultivators ridgers, planters and harvesters. This will make easier and more efficient ways of carrying out farm operations.


Plant and animal production

With the assistance of science, many methods of rearing animals for optimum productivity have been developed. Farmers now know what is appropriate for each type of animal, and what food should be given to the animal at different stages of growth or ages.

Highly specialized systems of animal husbandry such as early weaning have also been introduced.


  1. Differentiate between subsistence and commercial agriculture/farming.
  2. Explain the term shifting cultivation.
  3. Briefly explain the role of science and technology in agricultural development.