Since the beginning of human civilization, development of any country has taken place because of agriculture. It provides for the necessary goods required by any person for their survival. There are evidences of agricultural activities even before the Egyptian Civilization! But, still in today’s time there are disparities among countries with regards to their growth and the amounts of their trade and what not! Countries have been classified based on their level development. So, where does agriculture stand in today’s world?
It has been seen that there were countries who had achieved sustained economic growth by developing their agricultural sector. In most of the developing countries, income is earned from agriculture, which not only provides employment opportunities but also opportunities for trading the agricultural produce.
Throughout the years, the agricultural sector has developed into an income earner for many countries across the globe. But, there are countries, who had declined in their agrarian economy due to shift of focus to secondary industries like manufacturing. The agricultural methods and the tools all have all changed since the time agriculture had started. But, all of these changes came when there was either a shortage of food or land. So, how did time play a role in the current economic development of the countries?
To find that, we need to look back into history! During the times of Civilizations, the agricultural powerhouses were mainly the Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Indus-Valley civilization. But, as these civilizations declined with time, places like China, USA, Poland, Germany grew up to become the agricultural powerhouses. These older regions included the modern day of Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Yemen etc. As time passed, these countries slowly focused on the secondary sectors like manufacturing, etc. Thus, these countries started importing agricultural produce from other agricultural powerhouses and their agricultural sector declined.
In the early days, the poor situation of the peasants was a big problem for Great Britain. Before the Industrial revolution Britain was a large agricultural community with vast areas under agriculture. As Industrial revolution approached, industries spread across the country, the people had to search for land to serve a large population of Britain. Following the path set by Christopher Columbus in 1492, Europeans went on searching for land, and thus started their journey of colonization. They went on to colonize North-Eastern and Southern America. To boost their productivity, they brought labors from their colonies. Thus, in today’s time, we see so much of diversity and various mixes of people all around the world.
At the time, the recent history, African agriculture has been often looked at with ambiguity. They have had periods of un-accounted data about agricultural development, which got countered by periods of agricultural revival. Around 1900 BC to 700 BC, countries like Guinea, Gabon and the West-African countries had huge production of food products. As time passed and countries became part of the European colonies, agrarian economies in these African countries declined. Colonizers were under heavy political pressure from their rulers to make their colonies fast and continuously profitable.
An exception to the timeline would be China. Rice production in China have its origin at around 1000 BC. The mass migration of people not only increased the area of agriculture but also found new economies. Many economies declined but many powerhouses developed too. It also led to the increase in the production of goods.
Many countries were benefited by introduction of new crops. Thus, time didn’t have much effect on the Chinese agricultural sector. In today’s world China is one of the highest producers of rice in the world. The main reason behind this would be development of new technologies. The Chinese agriculture always improved its technologies. Also, countries like Thailand, Philippines were one of the largest producers of food crops.
As the World Bank had said, “Denied agricultural and rural development adequate attention has often led to stagnant agriculture that, in turn, has resulted in large shortfalls in domestic food production, balance of payment crises, and political instability.” That is why there are many countries which were potential places for the development of the industries but could not develop due to lack of a good agrarian economy.
This kind of argument implies a causal relation between the time of agriculture and economic development. For example- the South-East Asian countries still hold their places in the competition since the early days. Now, these countries have also turned out to be economies with fastest growth around the world! They owe it to the development of the development of the agricultural sector, which lay strong foundations for the growth of their manufacturing sector!
So, it is now clear that any country can only start its process of development with agriculture. But, the disparities still happen in today’s time. The sole reason to this is because of the timing!
Timing has caused some to develop early and some to develop late. Some countries recognized the structure for growth quite early and thus could develop themselves into what they are now. You see the 19th Century was recognized as the era of European supremacy, the 20th century as the era of American supremacy but the 21st century could be the era of Asian supremacy. And who knows, Africa might be next to the heir!
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