What is Mediterranean agriculture?

Mediterranean agriculture

Introduction

Agriculture has been a source of livelihood for a long time. In modern times the dependence on agriculture has decreased but most of the developing countries are still more dependent on agriculture. Climate factors have an overall effect on a region’s agricultural system. According to climate changes, agriculture is divided into several categories and Mediterranean agriculture is one of them.

There is more or less agriculture all over the world and it will continue to be so in the future. Because people earn industrial raw materials, human food, and earn foreign currency to export cash crops through agriculture. More than half of the world’s agricultural systems depend on climate. Crop production in any one region is controlled by climate.

Mediterranean agriculture is also affected by climate. Fruit cultivation is predominant in the Mediterranean region. The sunny weather and light rainfall in the Mediterranean climate are particularly conducive to the production of crops. Some of the interesting features of this farming and the ideal climate for developing the farming are discussed below (1).

What is Mediterranean agriculture?

The agro-climatic system in the countries of the world’s Mediterranean climate that combines livestock farming and market-based multi-crop farming is known as Mediterranean agriculture (3). Subsistence farming, market gardening, and commercial farming are three types of agriculture that can be observed in such agricultural systems. These agricultural systems depend mainly on rainfall, market availability, and craftsmanship.

Depending on the topography and the amount of rainfall, the agricultural activities in this region are regulated. The people of the arid hills and plateaus raised some livestock farming. But due to the lack of suitable grasses, it could not spread much (3).

Distribution

This agricultural system has been developed in the Mediterranean climate of the world. There has been a combination of livestock farming and market gardening. Mediterranean agriculture is mostly observed in 19 countries on the Mediterranean coast of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

1. Europe

In Europe, such agriculture is predominant in Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy, the south part of Bosnia and west part in Albania, and the south part in Greece.

2. Asia

This agriculture is predominant in Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and middle china, etc.

3. Africa

This type of farming is used in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt on the African continent.

Apart from these, the other places where this agricultural system has developed are-

  • California in North America.
  • Southwestern part of Australia.
  • North part of New Zealand.
  • Central Chile in South America etc. (2) & (4).

Regulators of Mediterranean agriculture

The Mediterranean climate is mainly ideal for fruit production. This agricultural system is greatly affected by climate, topography, and other elements of the environment. The reason why the Mediterranean climate is ideal for the agricultural system are:

1. Favorable climate

In the Mediterranean climate, summers are dry and winters are humid. The average annual rainfall is 30 to 60 cm. Such a climatic environment is ideal for the production of sour fruit. So here a variety of pickled fruits are produced with a thin peel. Temperature increases in summer. Here winter temperatures range from 5 to 10°C.

2. Landforms

Olives and grapes are grown in plains and lemons and apples are grown in the hills. Coconut, dates, almonds, and watermelon are also cultivated in the coastal plains.

3. Soils

In river basins and coastal areas, fertile alluvial and loamy soils are especially suitable for cultivating various types of fruits.

4. Irrigation

The amount of rainfall is low so irrigation is required here. Therefore, fruits are cultivated in a very advanced technology through an irrigation system.

5. Snowfall

There is not much snowfall in this region. So this region is ideal for agriculture. However, sometimes there is snowfall in the highlands in winter.

6. Skilled workers

Skilled workers are needed to make agriculture in any region. Mediterranean countries are populated. So skilled workers are available here all the time.

7. Capital

As these regions are rich enough, there is never a shortage of capital for the agricultural system (1) & (3).

Interesting features

  • In this agricultural system, along with crop production, farmers also make a living by livestock farming.
  • Such an agricultural system is a combination of large-scale commercial crop production and subsistence farming.
  • Mediterranean agriculture has developed horticulture and vegetable cultivation to meet daily food needs.
  • This farming method is a complete irrigation agricultural system. Cultivation is mainly done through irrigation in summer. Crop and vegetables are produced here with the help of rainfall in winter and irrigation.
  • Irrigation-based agriculture, as well as dry farming, can be noticed here. Dates, figs, olives, grapes, etc. are cultivated in a dry farming system.
  • A lot of capital is invested in the Mediterranean agricultural system. This farming method is commonly seen in rich and developing countries.
  • Grape cultivation for wine production is a special part of Mediterranean agriculture. Usually, grape fields are built on hill slopes. Port in Douro, sherry, vin ordinaire, etc. are various popular wines of this region.
  • Raisins are one of the important agricultural products here. The Izmir region of Turkey is famous for this.
  • In this agriculture, livestock farming is of two types. Such as transhumance and animal husbandry. Transhumance system is small and a source of limited income. And animal husbandry is based on modern technology. So it is market-dependent and a source of income and livelihood.
  • This farming is usually done on large-scale agricultural farms. But sometimes there are large farms as well as small farms.
  • Due to the improved transportation system in these countries, the fruits produced can be quickly transported to the market and to the food industry.
  • There are 4 types of farming methods in Mediterranean agriculture. These are orchard farming, viticulture, cereal and vegetable cultivation, and livestock farming (1) & (4).

Produced crop

The sunny weather and low rainfall in the Mediterranean climate are particularly conducive to the production of wheat and other cereals. But due to the lack of wide plains, excess wheat is not produced in this region. Citrus fruits, grapes, olives, oranges, peaches, apples, figs, etc. are grown in large quantities in this region.

Wine is produced from grapes and exported abroad. Some cotton is also cultivated in this region. Silk is prepared from silkworms. Most of the agriculture in Mediterranean countries is subsistence farming, agriculture in California, Australia, and other regions is mainly commercial.

This agricultural system is mainly important for fruit production. The humid winter and dry summers have created the following four characteristic farming practices in the region.

  • Production of cereals and vegetables like wheat, barley, maize, etc. by rainfall in winter.
  • Cultivation of olive, fig, grape, dates, etc.
  • Cultivation of fruits and various vegetables like apples, oranges, peaches, etc. with the help of irrigation.
  • Scattered grazing and livestock farming (1).

Economical uses

The Mediterranean region is known as the world’s fruit baskets. This agricultural system has become famous all over the world for the production of wheat and fruits. So the economic use of this agricultural system is much higher.

1. Supply of nutritious food

Crop production and animal husbandry are a major part of Mediterranean agriculture. Therefore, the regular supply of food from crop production and animal products is maintained throughout the year.

2. Development of industry

In addition to grain production, some industries have developed in this agricultural system. The 4 types of farming methods in Mediterranean agriculture are orchard farming, viticulture, cereal and vegetable cultivation, and livestock farming.

This region is mainly famous for fruit production. Different types of wine are produced from various fruits. So the dairy industry, meat processing industry, wine industry, wool industry, fur industry, etc. have developed here.

3. Improvement of the transport system

The fruit is perishable, therefore, it is necessary to improve the transportation system for export. The development of this agricultural system in the Mediterranean region has resulted in improvements in the transportation system.

4. Creation of employment

Different types of vegetables, fruits, crops cultivation, and livestock farming are done on the same farm. So employment is created throughout the year through this farming method. Skilled workers are needed throughout the year for proper management of the farm, when to grow any crop, correct ideas about seeds, animal husbandry, etc.

5. Demand in the international market

The international demand for fruits in this region has been high for a long time. Several fruits are produced in different parts of the world. But due to climatic conditions, the quality of fruits in the Mediterranean region is better than in others. So the demand for these fruits in the international market is very high.

6. More profitable

The Mediterranean agricultural system is more profitable. This is because the agricultural system is producing different crops, cultivating vegetables, fruits and raising livestock. As a result, farmers earn a lot of money in a short period of time by selling various crops, fruits, vegetables, and livestock in the market.

7. Supply of citrus fruits

Among various citrus fruits, grape cultivation is predominant in the agricultural system. This type of farming method produces the best wine in the world from high-quality grapes. Farmers make a lot of profit by selling these wines in the international market.

8. Less probability of financial lose

Along with crop production, animal husbandry and other types of farming are done in this method. Therefore, if the production of crops decreases for any reason or the price of crops falls in the market, the farmers do not suffer financially. They make a profit by selling animal products or vegetables or fruits.

9. Financial improvement of farmers

The application of this farming method has significantly improved the financial condition of the farmers. As a result, their standard of living has improved (1) & (2).

Problems of the Mediterranean agriculture

1. Uncontrolled grazing leads to soil erosion.

2. Rising and falling crop prices in the market are detrimental to cultivation.

3. There is difficulty in getting river water and groundwater for irrigation.

4. Since this agricultural system is dependent on climate, climate change is causing widespread problems in this agriculture (2).

Solution

1. Irrigation is created in line with climate change.

2. Modern communication arrangements are made between the markets.

3. Appropriate arrangements are made for improved transportation and warehousing of goods.

4. Insurance and other financial loan schemes are arranged for the farmers. Such initiatives have been taken especially for small farmers in Turkey, Chile, Algeria, and other countries (2).

Q&A

1. The different areas of the world where Mediterranean agriculture predominates?

Mediterranean agriculture is predominated in Mediterranean climatic regions such as-

  • In Europe, Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy, south part of Bosnia, west part in Albania, and south part in Greece.
  • California in North America.
  • Central Chile in South America
  • Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt in Africa
  • Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and middle china in Asia, etc.

2. What is Mediterranean agriculture?

Mediterranean agriculture is a climatic-based agricultural system that develops in a Mediterranean climate, where animal husbandry and multi crops (fruits, vegetables, and other crops) are cultivated.

3. Which of the following is least likely to be produced in Mediterranean agriculture?

Butter is least likely to be produced in Mediterranean agriculture. The lack of butter in this region is met by olive oil.

Written By: Manisha Bharati

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