What is plantation agriculture?


Agriculture is the primary economic activity of the people. It is one of the most important steps in the development of human beings from primitive civilization to modern civilization. The type of farming varies from place to place. There are various types of agricultural methods. Plantation agriculture is one of the most widely used agricultural methods based on natural and economic conditions. Now, what is plantation agriculture is discussed in detail below.

This agricultural system is a type of export-oriented farming system with special features on one crop. It is a huge well-organized internal infrastructure where the main objective is to make maximum profit. This agricultural method is not only involved in crop production, but also in the processing, production, transportation, and export of manufactured products. That is, plantation agriculture exists in the marginal state of industry and trade (1) & (3).

What is plantation agriculture?

The export-oriented agricultural system developed for the purpose of international trade through the application of modern scientific methods is called plantation agriculture. Such agricultural systems are usually developed in tropical and subtropical regions. In this case, a certain crop is cultivated in large-scale farms through advanced technology. Basically, corps in plantation agriculture are selected based on international demand.

Plantation agriculture is one of the social consequences of the capitalist economy. This agricultural system has developed in all the regions of the world where the country has been controlled under foreign rule in the recent past. For example, tea plantations were introduced in India under British rule, and coffee was cultivated in Brazil at the initiative of people from Italy (2) & (4).


Tea in India, China, Kenya, coffee in Brazil, Colombia, rubber in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and cocoa in Ivory Coast and East Africa (2).


Such agricultural methods have been developed in tropical and equatorial countries of the world for the purpose of securing economic activity and in the hope of making huge profits from the international market. India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Liberia, Brazil, etc. have developed plantation agriculture.

Tea, coffee, cocoa, rubber, etc. are one of the crops of this farming method. Banana, coconut, sugarcane, pineapple, tobacco, and spices are also produced through this agricultural system in different parts of the world (3).


1. Agricultural land

The land allotted for plantation agriculture is large in size. The area of land is at least 100 hectares.  This type of agricultural system is developed far away from the locality where the price of land is relatively low. These large lands are suitable for use in agricultural instruments.

2. Workers

It is labor-intensive and a lot of workers are required to take care of the land and plant, to collect the produced crops, or to send the crop to the market. When the required workers are not available in the country, workers are brought from abroad or from neighboring areas. On the other hand, the recruitment of foreign workers increases the tendency of migration. As a result, cultural exchange increased.

3. Socio-economic dependence

This farming method is deeply involved with natural and socio-economic elements. The success of this agriculture depends on some socio-economic duties such as the working skills of farmers, management of agricultural land, money investment, etc.

4. specialization of a single crop

Most gardeners cultivate a single crop for trade. These crops are tea, rubber, cocoa, pineapple, etc. Each of the crops has a regional specialization. Such as tea is famous from Assam in India and coffee is famous from Brazil.

5. Intensive and extensive

Plantation agriculture is called extensive agriculture. This is because the lands are large in size. On the other hand, the agricultural system is also known as intensive agriculture, as it is done by manual labor.

6. Science-based management

Compared to the traditional farming of the country, the cultivation of crops in this agriculture is done in a more science-based method.

7. Commercial character

Plantation crops are produced mainly for export. So in this agricultural system, there is a close relationship of products with international trade.

8. Lots of money investment

One of the features of this agricultural system is that it requires a lot of money investment. Most of the money required for plantation crops and agricultural land development comes from the developed countries of the temperate zone.

9. Advance technology

Advanced technology is needed to build this agricultural system.


This agriculture is conducted by export trade. There is no special demand for plantation crops in the domestic market of the country. These crops are exportable in developing countries and imported into industrialized countries. Plantation agriculture is mainly market-dependent. As a result, variation in demand and price controls the success of this farming method.

The dual combination of agriculture and industry

In this agricultural method, a dual combination of crop cultivation and industry can be seen in most of the agricultural lands. Such as a tea factory with a tea garden.

Improved transportation system

In this case, most of the agricultural crops are exported abroad by ports. Roads and railways are used to transport the crop to the market and to the port (1) & (4).

Economical uses

1. Proper use of land

Plantation agriculture requires large-scale farming. With the help of advanced technology in these farms, only one crop is cultivated throughout the year. As a result, the land is used in the proper way.

2. Improvement of industry

One of the economic importance of this agriculture is the development of crops as well as industry. Only one crop is cultivated in a garden. And the improvement of industry occurs in contact with the garden. For example, the development of the tea industry took place in contact with the tea garden.

3. More profit in less time

Farmers benefit more in a short period by applying this agricultural system. The crops produced in this farming method are very profitable. So the farmers get more profit in less time by exporting all these crops.

4. Earning foreign exchange

All crops produced in plantation agriculture are cash crops. The internal demand for all these crops is low. So these are exported abroad. A lot of foreign exchange is earned by exporting all these crops abroad.

5. Improvement of the transport system

In all the places in the world where this agricultural system has developed, the transport system has improved considerably. This is because improved transport systems are needed for marketing and exporting crops.

6. Creation of employment

In this case, the farmers are involved in agricultural work throughout the year. Farmer families are employed throughout the year as they are involved in proper maintenance of land, crop production, marketing of crops, etc. Therefore, in this agricultural system, the farmer and the farmer’s family are involved in agricultural work throughout the year. As a result, their economic structure is strengthened. The agricultural system provides direct or indirect employment to many people.

7. Changes in daily life

By exporting these crops to the market, the farmers improve their finances and the value of life is changed.

8. Soil and environment conservation

Plantation crops that are grown in this agricultural method prevent soil erosion and conserve the environment (5).


1. This agricultural method helps in transformation into a dynamic economy.

2. It is a single approach that employs thousands of workers. This reduces the resulting unemployment problem.

3. Plantation agriculture is an export-oriented approach. Thus net quantity and price lead to growth in international exports. As a result, money also increases.

4. The crops of plantation agriculture are totally dependent on the international market. Therefore, a slight decrease or increase in the price of a product in the international market can put the whole system at risk.

5. Plantation agriculture is a complex process that mainly drives the rate of urbanization through general facilities including the setting up of industries (1) & (3).


In addition to some of the advantages of this farming method, it often has an adverse effect on the regional economy, such as-

1. Such farming methods are not sustainable for long-term indigenous peoples, because they are being developed by outsiders.

2. It produces only one type of crop and sells it in outside markets. So it is not able to meet the food shortage of the local people.

3. Money flows into the hands of foreigners in the name of profit which is not able to boost the local economy in any way.

4. In most cases, the workers are recruited from outside and the skilled technicians come from distant lands. So this method is unable to eradicate local unemployment.

5. This agricultural system is unsuitable for implementation. Because too much production also reduces soil fertility due to lack of crop rotation and increases soil erosion resistance (5).


1. What was the most common number of crops grown under the plantation system of agriculture?

Mainly one crop is grown under the plantation system of agriculture. Single crop production is one of the specialties of this agricultural system.

2. What is plantation agriculture?

Plantation agriculture is an export-oriented agricultural system developed in the tropics and subtropical regions for the purpose of international trade with a lot of money, labor, improved infrastructure, and efficient management. It is commercial farming. Here a single crop is produced throughout the year.

3. Which product is commonly grown in plantation agriculture?

The products grown in plantation agriculture are cotton, tea, coffee, cocoa, rubber, sugar cane, opium, etc.

4. Why was plantation agriculture wasteful?

Plantation agriculture was wasteful because here only one crop is cultivated and the crop rotation method is not applied. As a result, the quality of land is wasted. For example, the good land where cotton is cultivated is despoiled.

5. What type of crops are grown in plantation agriculture?

Crops that are grown in this farming method are tea, coconut, cocoa, oilseeds, forest trees, rubber, sugar cane, cotton, coffee, opium, etc.

Written By: Manisha Bharati

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