The word agriculture literally means cultivating the land. Agriculture is the first step in the development of human civilization. It is a special kind of economic activity and a productive function of human beings. Agriculture is the main livelihood of about 48% of the world’s population. There are different types of farming methods and market gardening is one of them. What are market gardening and its uses are discussed in detail below.
Although there are different ways of making a living now, in the past agriculture was the only way to make a livelihood. The supply of basic human needs, supply of animal feed, etc. are available only from agriculture. For all these reasons, it is considered the primary economic activity.
Market gardening is also an economic activity that helps people fulfill their daily needs. It is a special type of cultivation in the suburbs of the city to meet the daily demand for vegetables, flowers, fruits, etc. in the city. It is a very modern method (1).
What is market gardening?
A kind of modern agricultural system where vegetables, flowers, fruits, etc. are cultivated in different sizes of land. This market-oriented farming method is known as market gardening in the British kingdom. In this case, the agricultural land is located a little away from the main city. This type of farming is called truck farming in the United States. It is sometimes known as horticulture (2).
Market gardening has developed in areas with improved municipal settlements where there is a huge demand for flowers, fruits, and vegetables every day. These agricultural systems are found in various industrialized countries of Western Europe such as Denmark, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Italy, Great Britain, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, USA, California, Florida, and the coastal areas of Canada. Recently, this agricultural method has become popular in the big cities of India.
This farming method has developed in Asia and Africa also. The regions in Asia where market gardening is most prevalent are India, Turkey, Iran and Israel and Algeria, Libya, Egypt, and South Africa in Africa (3) & (4).
Characteristics of market gardening
1. Agricultural land size
Due to the development of this agriculture in the suburbs of urban areas, the amount of land is small and the area of land varies from small to medium depending on the population density.
2. Advance technology
This type of agriculture uses modern and advanced technology such as high-yielding seeds, fertilizers, sophisticated machinery, etc. to get higher yields throughout the year.
3. Modern agricultural machinery
Market gardening is advanced technology-based agriculture. Heavy modern agricultural machinery like tractors, pump sets, etc. are used on the land for commercial production.
4. Experienced and skilled workers
This farming method is mainly labor-intensive agriculture. Buyer’s likes and dislikes experienced agricultural workers about the market is one of the characteristics of this agriculture.
This farming method produces a lot of crops as intensive farming is done with advanced technology throughout the year.
6. Demand in the market
This agricultural export is commercial agriculture as the crops are produced mainly for sale in the market on the basis of demand. The demand for this agricultural product is higher in the international market than in the domestic market.
7. Improved transportation
Vegetables, flowers, and fruits produced on this farm are perishable. Therefore, an advanced transportation system is required for fast delivery to the market in a short time.
8. Money investment
Due to high yielding seeds, fertilizers, improved agricultural machinery, irrigation, and labor, a large amount of money needs to be invested in the market gardening system.
Crops grown in these farming methods are commercial. In this agriculture, fruits, flowers, vegetables, and medicinal plants are produced. Also raising cattle, poultry for milk, eggs, and meat (4).
Why market gardening is called truck farming?
In the United States, market gardening is called truck farming. In this case, vegetables, flowers, fruits, etc. are produced in the agricultural land. Because all these vegetables, fruits, flowers, etc. are shipped by truck for sale in the market, in developed countries this type of farming is known as truck farming.
Market gardening has four divisions i.e. crops are produced in four ways, such as
The agricultural land in which flowers bloom all year round and seasonal flowers are cultivated is called floriculture.
Rose, tulip, sunflower, chrysanthemum, tuberose, dahlia, aster, carnation, clianthus, sunflower, antirrhinum, coleus, Mimulus, dianthus, and marigold.
Pomumculture is a method of cultivating all-year-round fruits and seasonal fruits for commercial purposes.
Banana, orange, lemon, guava, pineapples, cashews, peaches, strawberry, almonds, pears, apple, cherry, date palm, pomegranate, etc. different varieties of fruits are cultivated.
Different types of vegetable cultivation through market gardening in small gardens in favorable climates are called olericulture.
Bitter melon, brinjal, pointed gourd, pumpkin, carrot, cauliflower, tomato, arum, lettuce, chili, etc. are produced.
4. Herbal cultivation
In market gardening, there are various types of herbal plants cultivated for commercial purposes. This farming method is known as herbal cultivation.
Cinchona, neem, Arjun, aloe Vera, Indian gooseberry, bahera, chebulic myrobalan, Indian snakeroot, etc. (4).
Fruits, flowers, and vegetables vary in tropical and subtropical climates. Fruits like mango, banana, papaya, etc. are cultivated in humid and warm climates. Grapes and sweet lemons prefer a less humid and somewhat extreme climate. On the other hand, peaches, oranges, pears, and pomegranates need a dry and cold climate.
Grapes, apples, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, tomatoes, etc. can be grown in a humid and cool environment in hilly areas with an altitude of 1000 to 1500 m. The coast is suitable for the cultivation of coconut, almond, watermelon, potato, etc. Tropical plains have a suitable environment for the production of mango, blackberry, papaya, banana, guava, pumpkin, etc. flowers of this region are the lotus, the Chinese hibiscus, Asian pigeonwings, rose, marigold, jungle geranium, sunflower, etc. can be cultivated very profitably.
Deep and fertile soil is suitable for the cultivation of fruits, flowers, and grains. Grapes, apples, etc. are cultivated in hilly regions if the drainage system is improved. Vegetables and fruits can be grown in floodplain areas. Excessive acidity or alkalinity of wetlands and soils is unsuitable for market gardening.
4. Hybrid seeds
Hybrid seeds are very important in the cultivation of fruits, flowers, and vegetables. The need for hybrid cell formation is-
- Fusion of protoplasm of different genus or species.
- Improvement of ovaries and pollen of plants.
- Mutation at the cellular level (2) & (4).
The economical uses of market gardening are extensive. At present, the importance of this type of farming method is increasing in every country of the world. The economic uses of this agriculture are-
1. A regular supply of nutritious food
The expansion of market gardening has led to an increase in the daily supply of fresh vegetables and fruits rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals from plants in cities and metropolitan areas.
2. Creation of employment
Farmer families are employed throughout the year as they are involved in the cultivation of various flowers, fruits, and vegetables at different times of the year.
3. Improvement of industry
This agricultural system led to the development of agro-based food processing and herbal industries such as pickles, sauces, jams, jellies, herbal medicines, syrups, etc. are developed on the basis of various flowers, fruits, vegetables, and medicinal plants.
4. Development of allied industry
The expansion of this agriculture has resulted in remarkable improvement in some other industries like some high-quality machinery, high-yielding seeds, fertilizers and packing boxes, etc.
5. More profit in less time
This agricultural m can make more profit in a short period of time as a result of advanced and modern technology in the agricultural system.
6. Improvement of the transport system
Flowers, fruits, and vegetables produced in this agricultural system are perishable and need better transport services to reach the market quickly in a short time. As a result, the transportation system has improved a lot.
7. Earning foreign exchange
Some countries that have extensive use of market gardening export fruits and flowers products abroad. As a result, they have the opportunity to earn a lot of foreign currency.
8. Improving the value of life
All the farmers are benefited financially by selling various fruits and vegetables produced in this farming in big cities. Their socio-economic conditions have improved. As a result, they get the opportunity of various activities, that is, above all, the value of life is improved (1) & (4).
- Market gardening can be developed anywhere in the tropical, subtropical, cold, and temperate regions of the world. However, different types of agricultural products can be seen depending on the climate.
- This type of farming can be done in high mountainous areas or in the plains, but the quality of the crop produced varies.
- A large amount of foreign currency is earned by exporting agricultural products produced in this agricultural system.
- Farmers and farmer’s families can all be involved in agricultural work.
- The improved transport system is an essential part of this agricultural system. That is why in all the regions of the world where this agriculture has taken place, the transport system has developed rapidly.
- One of the advantages of this farming due to the large amount of foreign currency earned is that the financial condition of the farmers improves considerably (2) & (4).
- Crop rotation method is not applied in market gardening. That is why this agricultural system reduces the fertility of the land.
- The market gardening method requires a lot of currency and advanced technology. These issues are not readily available. So market gardening is not developed all over the world.
- The products produced in this agricultural system are perishable. So especially flowers cannot be stored. As a result, flowers have to be sold at higher prices to reduce financial losses.
- There is a need for skilled workers to use advanced technology and modern equipment. But skilled workers are not readily available all over the world.
- If the production of any agricultural product is reduced due to natural causes, the farmers face financial loss. As a result, farmers have to fall into economic uncertainty (2) & (4).
Written By: Manisha Bharati