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Describe the systems of agricultural production

      

Describe the systems of agricultural production

  

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Francis
An agricultural system is an assemblage of components which are united by some form of interaction and interdependence and which operate within a prescribed boundary to achieve a specified agricultural objective on behalf of the beneficiaries of the system.
From a practical production, administration and management point of view, all agriculture can be regarded as consisting of sets of systems.
Systems can be classified into three broad families or divisions as either natural, social or artificial systems.
Natural systems - those that exist in Nature - consist of all the materials (both physical and biological) and interrelated processes occurring to these materials which constitute the world and, inter alia, provide the physical basis for life. They exist independent of mankind. Our role in relation to natural systems is to try to understand them and, as need be, make use of them. We also (increasingly) attempt to duplicate them, in part or whole; but at this point they become, by definition, man-made or artificial systems. These fundamental natural systems remain unaffected by attempts at imitation. Those natural physical and biological systems which are relevant to agriculture will be self-apparent: rock weathering to form soil; plants sustained by such soil; animals sustained by such plants... is examples of the outward forms of agriculturally relevant natural systems in operation.
Social systems are more difficult to define. Essentially they consist of the entities forming animate populations, the institutions or social mechanisms created by such entities, and the interrelationships among/between individuals, groups, communities, expressed directly or through the medium of institutions. Social systems involve relationships between animate populations (individuals, groups, communities), not between things. Concern here is with human social systems as they relate to or impinge upon farming, and the term social system is used broadly to include institutions and relationships of an economic, social, religious or political nature. There is a certain degree of ambiguity in defining social systems. As an example, the law of property is in its essence a social system. Insofar as it is viewed as consisting of concepts, principles and rules, it is a pure social system, independent of natural systems. But its existence also presupposes the existence of property, including natural physical things, some of which exist as systems. To this extent, as a social system the law of property is dependent on or subordinate to natural systems.
Artificial systems do not exist in Nature. They are of human creation to serve human purposes. All artificial systems, including agricultural systems, are constructed from either or both of two kinds of elements: (a) elements taken from either or both of the other two higher-level orders of systems at division level, i.e., from natural and social systems, and (b) from elements which are constructed or proposed for specific use by each respective artificial system as the need for this arises.
Explicit systems are those in which the constituent elements are more or less closely identified and defined, and the relationships among these elements are stated formally in quantitative, usually mathematical, terms. Agricultural scientists and economists who work with farmers are concerned mainly with explicit systems. But farmers themselves will seldom be concerned with explicit systems - only with systems of a simpler kind, or only with selected parts of such systems.
Implicit systems are systems in which only the main or critical elements are acknowledged and only the major or immediately relevant interrelationships are considered. However, these elements and relationships are not formally recorded, analysed or evaluated. Farmers themselves deal primarily with implicit systems. In both traditional and more modem societies particular agricultural systems are implied in what farmers do, or deliberately do not do. In more 'advanced' societies, farmers might formalize and work with a few explicit systems or parts of systems (farm record books, simple crop budgets, household expenditure accounts) but here also most agro-management systems will exist by implication.
Descriptive systems are usually intended to facilitate an understanding of the organization, structure or operation of a productive process. This might be their sole purpose; e.g., a farmer might construct a simple input-output budget table in order to learn the structural configurations of some potential new crop. Depending on the results of this, he or she might then proceed to construct a more detailed budget (an operational system) to find how best to fit this new crop into his or her farm plan. At higher Order Levels an organogram describing the administrative structure of a ministry of agriculture or of an extension service might be constructed or the flowchart of a commodity from farm to consumer might be drawn - these also are descriptive systems.
Operational systems are constructed (by an analyst or manager or research worker) as a basis for taking or recommending action aimed at improving the performance of the system. Such systems are often elaborate. However, increased precision is not infrequently achieved at the cost of decreased practical usefulness. Thus farm managers themselves work primarily with simple operational systems, although the actual physical systems which these represent may be very complex.
francis1897 answered the question on January 12, 2023 at 11:44


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