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Unit 5

5.7 Spatial Organization of Agriculture

2 min readjune 1, 2020

Pooja Kalyan


AP Human Geography 🚜

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This section relates into the previous section on how economic factors affect agricultural practices, except in this section we will look into even more complex examples of this subject matter. Here’s what we’ll be focusing on: 
  • Large-scale commercial agriculture 
    • How are they impacting family farms? 
  • Complex commodity chains 
    • How is production and consumption linked? 
  • Technology 
    • How has technology affected economies in agriculture and carrying capacity? 

Large-Scale Commercial Agriculture

It’s depleting small family farms! Large scale farming has taken over small farms as they take up vast amounts of land, utilize large machinery, and use factory-type labor forces to produce their goods for sale. 
As sad as this may sound, few regions still have entirely pure subsistence economies. Even if they tried selling some of their products to markets to withstand the power of large-scale commercial agricultural companies, it is impossible for poor farmers to afford the fertilizers or modified seeds needed for efficient crop production.
As a result, many farmers leave rural areas to find jobs in urban centers, and their family farms are contracted out to larger commercial corporations. This just shows how large a role economy plays in the continuation and/or change of agricultural practices overtime. 

Complex Commodity Chains 

A commodity chain is essentially an organized network of labor and production processes, which starts with the extraction or production of raw materials and concludes with the transportation of the finished product/commodity to the market. One such commodity chain is a food chain, and is composed of five processes: 
  1. Inputs 
  2. Production 
  3. Processing 
  4. Distribution 
  5. Consumption 

Technology and Economies of Scale (with regards to agriculture) 

Technology has allowed us to increase production significantly, which in turn, has lowered the cost of producing bulk of something (that is one reason why buying an 8 pack of water may cost $2 while buying a 32 pack of the same brand just costs $3 or $4).
With this advancement, however, LDCs have been unable to go past subsistence levels because they don’t have a suitable amount of land to grow in bulk, and as a result, their production costs remain high.
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