Subsistence Farming and Shifting Cultivation

Subsistence farming is the production of enough food and fiber for the needs of the farmer's family [6]. This form of agriculture is quite common in the developing countries.

Shifting cultivation is a system in which a relatively short cultivation period alternates with a long fallowing period. In the traditional system, a cultivation period of two to three years is followed by a fallowing period of 20 years or more. In this fallowing period the original vegetation (mostly forest) regenerates and soil fertility is restored. Because such a system is only possible where the population density is very low, shifting cultivation is being replaced by other agricultural systems. In Africa, for example, the original shifting cultivation is replaced by bush fallowing in which the fallowing periods are only long enough for grass or bush to regenerate [3]. If more than 30% of the arable and temporarily used land is cultivated annually, we no longer speak of shifting cultivation but of semipermanent farming [7].

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