Agricultural Science

Types Of Agriculture: Subsistence And Commercial Agriculture



Subsistence agriculture is defined as the type of agriculture which is concerned with the production of food (cultivation of crops and rearing of animals) by the farmer to feed himself and his family only. It is also known as peasant farming because it is practiced by poor farmers. It is done on a small scale and involves the use of crude tools (e.g., cutlass, hoe, axe, etc.) only.


Commercial agriculture is the type of agriculture which is concerned with the production of food and cash crops in large quantities for sale. It is done on a large scale because commercial farmers are rich farmers. Complex farm machines like tractors, bulldozers, planters, harvesters, ectara used.


1. Define the two types of agriculture.

2. Who is a peasant farmer?

3. State ten examples of simple farm tools used by subsistence farmers.

4. State ten examples of complex farm machines used by commercial farmers.


1.Produce mainly for the family with little or no excess. Products are principally for sale
2. Practiced on small area of land.Practiced on large area of land.
3. Family labour is usedSkilled and mechanized labour is employed
4. Traditional management is employed.Modern or scientific management is employed.
5. Production is on small scaleProduction is on large scale
6. Cost of production is low.Cost of production is high.
7. Does not need organized market for the sales of its products.Need well organized market for sales of its products.
8. Operation results in low environmental degradation.Operation results in high environmental degradation.
9. Provide direct employment for many citizens.Skilled people are employed for different tasks.
10. Engages in mixed-cropping.Often engages in mono-cropping.
11. No specialization, since the farmer produces different types of crops and rears different classes of farm animals.Farmer specializes in the production of fewer crops and animals rearing.  
12. Has no access to credit facilities.Has access to credit facilities.

EVALUATION QUESTIONS                  

  1. Define subsistence and commercial agriculture.
  2. State five differences between subsistence and commercial agriculture.


  1. What is agriculture?
  2. List and explain five importance of agriculture
  3. Mention five agro-based industries and their raw materials.
  4. Define subsistence and commercial agriculture.
  5. State five characteristics each of subsistence and commercial agriculture.


Essential Agricultural Science. Chapter 1, page 2 – 6

Fundamental Agricultural Science. Chapter 1, page 1- 4


  1. The system of agriculture practiced solely for the benefit of the farmer and his family is A.  Subsistence B.  Commercial C. Family farming D. Agro forestry
  2. The agriculture that is practice for the production of food and cash crops in large quantities for sale to make profit is called…  A. Subsistence B. Commercial C. Scale farming D. mixed farming.
  3. Agro-based industries include the following except A. textile B. beverage C. automobile D. brewery
  4.  The following are source of foreign exchange earning in Nigeria except A. cotton B. yam C. cocoa D. palm produce
  5. Which of these is not a characteristic of subsistence agriculture? A. Depend on family labour. Operates small farm size C. Has access to credit facilities D. Use crude tools


  1. List out five agro-based industries and their raw materials.
    1. State five characteristics for each of: (a) subsistence agriculture

(b)commercial agriculture