Economic activities of humans are grouped under following four categories : 

  • Primary Activities: Hunting, food-gathering, fishing, live-stock raising, agriculture, mining, lumbering etc. 
  • Secondary Activities: Manufacturing industry. 
  • Tertiary Activities: Transport, communication, trade etc. 
  • Quaternary Activities: Higher range of services, education, management, research, etc. 


Only 11 per cent of total landmass of the world coma under the agricultural activity in which 50 per cent of world's population is engaged. Following types of agriculture arc generally practiced in the world: 

  • Shifting Agriculture: The primitive form of agriculture is prevalent in the tribes of tropical forest, which is also called slash and burn agriculture and bush-fellow agriculture. 
    Shifting agriculture is called Bewar, Dahia, Peda in M.P. and Chhat-tisgarh, Podu in Andhra Pradesh, Kaman, Binga and Dhavi in Orissa, Kumari in Kerala, etc. 
  • Subsistence Agriculture: This type of agriculture is done for the con-sumption of farmers family involving mainly farming of food grains. Sub-sistence agriculture is practiced in the monsoonal climatic regions of Asia in which maximum utilisation of agricultural land is done. 
  • Commercial Agriculture: In this agriculture practiced 'mainly by the de-veloped countries, crops are grown for the commercial purpose. 
  • Intensive Agriculture: The main purpose of this agriculture, practiced in the regions of high population density, is to extract maximum production from the minimum agricultural land.
    i. Intensive subsistence agriculture is practiced in the developing coun-tries and intensive commercial agriculture is practiced in the devel-oped countries. 
  • Extensive Agriculture: This agriculture involves growing of crops by the modern scientific methods on large farms in which minimum labour and maximum use of machines are done.
    i. In this agriculture per hectare production is very low but per labour and total production is very high. 
    ii. The regions of temperate grasslands are noted for extensive agriculture. 
  • Plantation Agriculture (Estate farming): In this type of commercial agriculture huge amount of capital and labour is required. The development of this agriculture has taken place mainly in the coastal areas of tropical regions, where facility of marine navigation is available for the export of agricultural products. 
  • Mixed Agriculture: In the mixed agriculture both crops and livestocks are raised for the commercial purpose. This type of agriculture is practiced mainly in the densely populated areas of developed countries. 
  • Mixed Cropping: In this agriculture crops of different maturity period are grown simultaneously in a farm. 
  • Multiple Cropping: It refers to growing of two or more crops alternatively on a farm within the same year. 
  • Crop Rotation: In this, different crops are grown in a systematic succession in each field of a farm for the maintenance of soil nutrients for a long time. 
  • Dry Farming: Farming done without the facility of irrigation in the regions of inadequate rainfall is called dry farming. 
  • Truck Farming: The intensive, specialised production of fresh vegetables, fruits, and flowers at considerable distances from the metropolitan markets is called truck fanning in which the produce is sold. Truck farming is practiced on large scale in Florida and California of USA, Britain, France, Denmark, Italy, etc.

Major Crops


  • Wheat is mainly a crop of temperate region, but it is also grown in the sub-tropical regions. Wheat holds first position in the world in terms of agricultural area. 
    Necessary Conditions: 
    Temperature : 100-200C. Rainfall: 15.75 cm. Soil: Heavy loamy or fertile black soil. Other: Well drained land. 
    Winter wheat is grown in the middle and low latitudes. This wheat is sown in the winter season and harvested in the summer season. Seventy five per cent of total wheat production of the world is contributed by winter wheat. Spring wheat is grown where temperature goes below 10°C in winter. Producing Regions:
    (i) China
    (ii) USA and Canada
    (iii) Western Europe
    (iv) Former USSR

    Apart from the above mentioned regions wheat is also grown in the mediter-rancan region, towns of Australia, Pampas of Argentina, Cape Province of South Africa, etc. Among the food grains, wheat is the most traded commodity. USA, Canada, Australia and Argentina are major exporters of wheat, while Britain and other European countries, Japan, China, Brazil etc., are importers. 


  • Rice is a crop of tropical and sub-tropical region. Japonica rice is culti-vated in temperate regions. Indica rice is grown in the south and south-cast Asia. 
    Required Conditions:
    Rainfall: 125-200 cm.
    Soil: Fertile loamy and alluvial soil. Other: Cheap labour. 
    Producing Regions: 90 per cent of world's rice is grown in the monsoon climatic regions of Asia. The region situated between 30° North and 30° South is impor-tant rice-producing region. Some of these countries are as follows:
    (i) China
    (ii) Indonesia
    (iii) Thailand
    (iv) Bangladesh
    (v) Myanmar

    Only 3-5 per cent of rice production enters in the world trade, because of the home consumption of rice in the major producing countries. Thailand is the largest exporter of rice.


  • Maize is a crop of tropical and subtropical climate. It is produced in the developed countries as a fodder crop.
    Ideal Conditions:
    Temperature: 18°-27°C.
    Rainfall: 50-125 cm.
    Soil: Rich loamy and well-drained.
    Others: frostfree period of 120 days.
    Producing Regions:
    (i) USA
    (ii) China
    (iii) Brazil
    (iv) Argentina
    (v) South Africa 


  • Barley can be cultivated in the conditions of lower temperature and lower rainfall compared to wheat.
    Producing Regions: Barley is cultivated mainly in Mediterranean region, Turkey, Central Asia, Australia and California. Barley is used as a fodder in the European countries.


  • This food crop requires all the geographical conditions required for the cultivation of wheat-producing regions. The most important producing regions of oats is situated in the north of wheat-producing regions in Eurasia. 


  • Cotton is a crop of tropical region, but nowadays its maximum production comes from sub-tropical regions.
    Geographical Conditions: 
    Temperature: 21-27°C.
    Rainfall: 50-100 cm.
    Soil: Light, fertile & black and calcarious.
    Other: Cheap labour, abundant sunshine in the growing period, frost-free period of 200 days. Varieties of Cotton: Long Staple Cotton is the best one, (length is 4-6.5cm). It is mainly cultivated in USA, Egypt, and the Carribean islands. Medium staple cotton (2.5-4 cm) is grown in Peru, Mexico, and the East African countries. The short staple cotton, also called Indian cotton, is grown in India and Brazil.
    Producing Regions:
    (i) China
    (ii) USA
    (iii) CIS
    (iv) Brazil
    (v) Egypt 


  • Jute is a crop of hot and wet climate, the cultivation of which is carried out mainly in the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta of India and Bangladesh.
    Geographical Conditions
    Temperature: 25°-35°C.
    Rainfall: 150-250 cm
    Soil: New alluvial and deltaic clay.
    Relative Humidity: More than 80 per cent 


  • More than 2/3rd of total sugar production comes from this tropical crop. Marine climate is suitable for this crop.
    Geographical Conditions
    Temperature: 20°-27°C.
    Rainfall: 100-200 cm.
    Soil: Fertile loamy, light friable lava soil.
    Relative Humidity: Adequate sun-shine, cheap labour.
    Producing Region:
    (i) Cuba
    (ii) Brazil

    Apart from these, sugarcane is also cultivated in the Gulf, coastal plains & Ha-waii islands of USA, Java islands of Indonesia, New South Wales and Queensland of Australia, southern coastal regions of China, Philippines, Mauritius, Fiji, etc. Productivity of sugarcane is highest in the Hawaiian Islands.


  • Sugar is also obtained from sugarbeet but it costs more in comparison to sugarcane. Sugarbeet is a temperate crop.
    Suitable Conditions: 
    Temperature: I6°-24°C.
    Rainfall: 50-75 cm.
    Soil: Loamy, calcareous friable Others: Adequate input of nitrogenous fertilizers.
    Producing Regions:
    (i) CIS
    (ii) France
    (iii) Germany
    (iv) Poland
    (v) China
    (vi) USA
    (vii) Italy
    (viii) Holland


  • Rubber is a crop of wet tropical climate.
    Producing Region:
    (i) Thailand
    (ii) Indonesia
    (iii) Malaysia
    (iv) Sri Lanka
    (v) Other countries: India, Philippines, Brazil, Zaire, etc. 


  • Coffee is a beverage plantation crop of tropical climate.
  • Arabica coffee is of high quality and is cultivated mainly in Latin Ameri-can countries.
  • Robusta coffee is cultivated mainly in African countries.
    Suitable Conditions: 
    Temperature: 15°-25°C.
    Rainfall:100-200 cm.
    Soil: Adequate amount of iron, nitrogen and humus in the soil, lava soil and terrarosa soil are better suited.
  • Others: Sloping land preventing water logging; protection from strong wind and direct sunlight.
    Producing Regions: Brazil, South Eastern plateau region, Columbia (coffee estates are called Finca), Venezuela, Ecuador, Central America, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia (native place of coffee), India, Sri Lanka, etc. High quality Mocha coffee is obtained from the coastal regions of Red Sea in Yemen. Blue Mountain coffee of Jamaica is regarded as the best variety of cof-fee in the world.


  • It is tropical & subtropical crop. In India & Sri Lanka mainly Black Teal Assam Tea is grown, while Green Tea is grown in China & Japan.
    Suitable Conditions: 
    Temperature: 25°-30°C.
    Rainfall: 150-200 cm.
    Soil: Light acidic loamy soil with high phosphorous and iron content.
    Others: Sloping topography that prevents water logging, as well as availability of cheap labour. Producing Regions:
    (i) China
    (ii) Sri Lanka
    (iii) India
    (iv) CIS
    (v) Kenya, Indonesia, Uganda, etc. 


  • Cocoa is a crop of wet tropical climate, whose cultivation is confined within 200 south latitude.
    Suitable Conditions:
    Temperature: 24°-27°C.
    Rainfall: 150-200 cm.
    Soil: Deep and fertile.
    Others: Protection from strong wind and direct sunlight. 


  • Tobacco is a tropical & subtropical crop. Its Virginia variety is cultvated in USA and Zimbabwe, while the Oriental variety is cultivated in Turkey and Greece. Cuba and Connecticut valley of USA are famous for the Cigar Tobacco.
    Geographical Conditions: 
    Temperature: 18°-27°C.
    Rainfall: 60-100 cm.
    Soil: Loamy soil rich in miner-als and humus.
    Producing regions 
    (i) China
    (ii) USA
    (iii) Others: Brazil, CIS, Turkey, Cuba, India, Zimbabwe 


  • It is obtained from a worm which is reared on the trees of Mulberry. Silk is produced in tropical and subtropical regions.
  • China, Japan and India are major producers of raw silk. 


  • A tropical and subtropical crop requiring more than 25°C of temperature and 150 cm of rainfall. India, Indonesia, Philippines. Malaysia and Sri Lanka are major producers. 

Oil Palm

  • This is also a crop of wet tropical climate. Presently Malaysia leads in the production of oil palm in the world, followed by Nigeria, Indonesia and Congo.

Ground Nut 

  • A tropical and subtropical crop. India is the largest producing country of groundnut. China, Nigeria and USA are other producers. 


  • It is cultivated both in tropical and temperate regions. USA (52 per cent), Brazil (21 per cent), China (11 per cent), and Argentina (6 per cent) arc major producers of soyabean. USA is the largest exporter of soyabcan. 


  • CIS, Argentina, China, and Hungary arc the major producers, in descend-ing order.


  • India, Brazil, and Philippines are major producers of bananas. Iraq is the largest producer of date palm. France, Italy, and Spain are major producers of grapes.