Agriculture

Agriculture is the cultivation of plants and livestock. Agriculture was an important step in the growth of sedentary human civilization, since it produced food surpluses that allowed people to live in cities. Agriculture has been practiced for thousands of years. Beginning at least 105,000 years ago, fledgling farmers began to sow wild grains approximately 11,500 years ago. Domestication of pigs, sheep, and cattle began around 10,000 years ago.

Plants were grown separately in at least 11 different parts of the world. In the twentieth century, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture grew to dominate agricultural production, despite the fact that around 2 billion people still relied on subsistence agriculture. Foods, textiles, fuels, and raw materials (such as rubber) are the principal agricultural products.

Cereals (grains), vegetables, fruits, oils, meat, milk, eggs, and fungus are examples of food classes. Agriculture employs more than one-third of the world’s workforce, second only to the service sector, though in recent decades, the global trend of a decreasing number of agricultural workers has continued, particularly in developing countries where smallholdings are being supplanted by industrial agriculture and mechanization, resulting in enormous crop yield increases.