NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 3 Agriculture: Notes, Solutions, Free PDF

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NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 3

Agriculture is the 4th chapter in the Geography NCERT book for class 8. This chapter deals with agriculture, different types of farming systems, and crops. It also makes the students aware of the developments that have taken place in the field of agriculture. It is an important chapter for the exams so let’s jump right into the important notes of class 8 Geography chapter 4. Also, we provide you with solutions to all questions in NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 3 Agriculture. All answers adhere to the latest CBSE curriculum.

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NCERT class 8 geography chapter 3
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Brief Notes on NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 3 Agriculture

The word agriculture is derived from the Latin words “ager” or “agri” meaning soil and culture meaning cultivation. The transformation from a plant to a finished product involves three types of economic activities. These are primary, secondary, and tertiary activities.

  • Primary activities include all those connected with the extraction and production of natural resources. Agriculture, fishing, and gathering are some good examples.
  • Secondary activities are concerned with the processing of these resources. Manufacturing of steel, baking of bread, and weaving of cloth are examples of this activity.
  • Tertiary activities provide support to the primary and secondary sectors through services. Transport, trade, banking, insurance, and advertising are examples of tertiary activities.

Agriculture is a primary activity. It includes growing crops, fruits, vegetables, flowers, and rearing livestock. In the world, 50 % of persons are engaged in agricultural activity. Two-thirds of India’s population is still dependent on agriculture. Favorable topography of soil and climate is vital for agricultural activity. The land on which the crops are grown is known as arable land.

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Farm System

Agriculture or farming can be looked at as a system whose important inputs are seeds, fertilizers, machinery, and labor. Some of the operations involved are plowing, sowing, irrigation, weeding, and harvesting. The outputs from the system include crops, wool, dairy, and poultry products.

Types of Farming

According to the Class 8 Agriculture chapter, farming is practiced in various ways across the world depending upon the geographical conditions, the demand for produce, labor, and the level of technology. Farming can be classified into two main types – subsistence farming and commercial farming.

Subsistence Farming

This type of farming is practiced to meet the needs of the farmer’s family. Traditionally low levels of technology and household labour are used to produce small output. Subsistence farming can be further classified as intensive subsistence and primitive subsistence farming.

Intensive subsistence agriculture

  • In this type, the farmer cultivates a small plot of land using simple tools and more labor.
  • Climate with a large number of days with sunshine and fertile soils permits the growing of more than one crop annually on the same plot.
  • Rice is the main crop and the other crops include wheat, maize, pulses, and oilseeds.
  • Intensive subsistence agriculture is prevalent in the thickly populated areas of the monsoon regions of south, southeast, and east Asia.

Primitive subsistence agriculture

  • It includes shifting cultivation and nomadic herding.

Shifting cultivation:

  • It is practiced in the thickly forested areas of the Amazon basin, tropical Africa, parts of Southeast Asia, and Northeast India.
  • These are the areas of heavy rainfall and quick regeneration of vegetation.
  • A plot of land is cleared by felling the trees and burning them.
  • The ashes are then mixed with the soil and crops like maize, yam, potatoes, and cassava are grown.
  • After the soil loses its fertility the land is abandoned and the cultivator moves to a new plot.
  • Shifting cultivation is also known as ‘slash and burn’ agriculture.

Nomadic herding

  • It is practiced in the semi-arid and arid regions of the Sahara, Central Asia, and some parts of India, like Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • In this type of farming, herdsmen move from place to place with their animals for fodder and water, along defined routes.
  • This type of movement arises in response to climatic constraints and terrain.
  • Sheep, camel, yak, and goats are most commonly reared.
  • They provide milk, meat, wool, hides, and other products to the herders and their families.

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Commercial Farming

In commercial farming, crops are grown and animals are reared for sale in the market. The area cultivated and the amount of capital used is large and most of the work is done by machines. As per the Class 8 Agriculture chapter, commercial farming includes commercial grain farming, mixed farming, and plantation agriculture.

Commercial grain farming

  • In this system, crops are grown for commercial purposes.
  • Wheat and maize are common commercially grown grains.
  • Major areas where commercial grain farming is practiced are temperate grasslands of North America, Europe, and Asia.
  • These areas are sparsely populated with large farms spreading over hundreds of hectares.
  • Severe winters restrict the growing season and only a single crop can be grown.

Mixed farming

  • The land is used for growing food and fodder crops and rearing livestock.
  • It is practiced in Europe, the eastern USA, Argentina, southeast Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.


  • Plantations are a type of commercial farming where a single crop of tea, coffee, sugarcane, cashew, rubber, banana, or cotton are grown.
  • Large amounts of labor and capital are required.
  • The produce may be processed on the farm itself or in nearby factories.
  • The development of a transport network is thus essential for such farming. Major plantations are found in the tropical regions of the world.
  • Rubber in Malaysia, coffee in Brazil, tea in India, and Sri Lanka are some examples.

Major Crops

A large variety of crops are grown to meet the requirements of a growing population and supply raw materials for agro-based industries. Major food crops are wheat, rice, maize, and millet. Jute and cotton are fiber crops. Important beverage crops are tea and coffee.


Rice is the staple diet of the tropical and subtropical regions. Rice needs high temperature, high humidity, and rainfall. It grows best in alluvial clayey soil which can retain water. China leads in the production of rice followed by India, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Egypt. In favorable climatic conditions as in West Bengal and Bangladesh, 2-3 crops are grown in a year.


Wheat requires moderate temperature and rainfall during the growing season and bright sunshine at the time of harvest. It thrives best in a well-drained loamy soil. Wheat is grown extensively in the USA, Canada, Argentina, Russia, Ukraine, Australia and India. In India, it is grown in winter.


They are also known as coarse grains and can be grown on less fertile and sandy soils. It is a hardy crop that needs low rainfall high to moderate temperatures and adequate rainfall. Jowar, bajra and ragi are grown in India. Other countries are Nigeria, China, and Niger.


Maize requires moderate temperature, rainfall, and lots of sunshine. It needs well-drained fertile soils. Maize is grown in North America, Brazil, China, Russia, Canada, India, and Mexico.


Cotton requires high temperatures, light rainfall, 210 frost-free days, and bright sunshine for its growth. It grows best on black and alluvial soils. China, the USA, India, Pakistan, Brazil, and Egypt are the leading producers of cotton. It is one of the main raw materials for the cotton textile industry.


Jute was also known as the ‘Golden Fiber’ and was responsible for the Golden Revolution. It grows well on alluvial soil and requires high temperatures, heavy rainfall, and a humid climate. This crop is grown in tropical areas. India and Bangladesh are their leading producers.


Coffee requires a warm and wet climate and well-drained loamy soil. Hill slopes are more suitable for the growth of this crop. Brazil is the leading producer followed by Columbia and India.


Tea is a beverage crop grown on plantations. This requires a cool climate and well-distributed high rainfall throughout the year for the growth of its tender leaves. It needs well-drained loamy soils and gentle slopes. Labor in large numbers is required to pick the leaves. Kenya, India, China, and Sri Lanka produce the best quality tea in the world.

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Agricultural Development

On the basis of the Class 8 Agriculture chapter in Geography, agricultural Development refers to efforts made to increase farm production in order to meet the growing demand of the increasing population. This can be achieved in many ways such as increasing the cropped area, the number of crops grown, improving irrigation facilities, use of fertilizers, and high-yielding variety of seeds. Mechanization of agriculture is also another aspect of agricultural development. The ultimate aim of agricultural development is to increase food security.

Developing countries with large populations usually practice intensive agriculture where crops are grown on smallholdings mostly for subsistence. Larger holdings are more suitable for commercial agriculture as in the USA, Canada, and Australia. With the help of two case studies of farms, we can understand agriculture in developing and developed countries.

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A Farm in India

Munna Lal is a small farmer in the main village. He purchases high-yielding varieties of seeds from the market every alternate year. The land is fertile and he grows at least two crops in a year which are normally wheat or rice and pulses. He takes a tractor on rent for plowing his field. There is a tube well in the nearby field which he takes on rent to irrigate his field. 

NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 3
Credit: Modern Farmer

Munna Lal also has two buffaloes and a few hens and sells their products in the nearby town. He is a member of the co-operative society which also advises him on the type of fodder for his animals, safety measures to protect the health of the livestock, and artificial insemination. All the members of the family help him in various farm activities. Sometimes, he takes credit from a bank or the agricultural cooperative society to buy HYV seeds and implements. He sells his produce in the mandi located in the nearby town. In recent years, the government has taken some steps to develop storage facilities.

A Farm in the USA

The average size of a farm in the USA is much larger than that of an Indian farm. The farmer generally resides on the farm. Some of the major crops grown are corn, soya bean, wheat, cotton, and sugar beet. Joe Horan owns about 300 hectares of land. He grows corn on his field after making sure that soil and water resources meet the needs of this crop. Adequate measures are taken to control pests that can damage the crop. 

NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 3
Credit: Earth Institute

He sends the soil samples to a soil testing laboratory to check whether the nutrients are sufficient or not which helps him to plan a scientific fertilizer program. His computer is linked to the satellite which gives him a precise picture of his field. This helps him to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides wherever they are required. He uses tractors, seed drills, levellers, combined harvesters, and threshers to perform various agricultural operations. Grains are stored in automated grain storage or dispatched to market agencies. The farmer in the USA works as a businessman and not as a peasant farmer.

Also read: Civilising the ‘Native’, Educating the Nation Study Notes for Class 8

NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 3 NCERT PDF

You can download the Class 8 Geography Chapter 4 NCERT PDF from here!

Download NCERT Solutions Class 8 Geography Chapter 3: Agriculture

NCERT Solutions Class 8 Geography Chapter 3: Agriculture

Here are the solutions to all questions following NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 3.

Ques 1: Answer the following questions:

  1. What is agriculture?
  2. Name the factors influencing agriculture.
  3. What is shifting cultivation? What are its disadvantages?
  4. What is plantation agriculture?
  5. Name the fibre crops and the climatic conditions required for their growth.


  1. Agriculture is a primary activity. It involves the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, crops, and flowers by using different techniques. Moreover, it also includes the rearing of animals.
  2. Agriculture or cultivation depends on numerous factors such as the climatic conditions, the topography of the soil, population, and so on.
  3. Shifting cultivation, also known as slash and burn cultivation, is a type of farming activating. It includes clearing a piece of land by cutting down trees and burning them. Next, the ashes are mixed with the soil to make it more fertile and suitable for growing crops. After the crops are grown and the land has become infertile, it is abandoned for some time. Accordingly, farmers then move on to a new piece of land to continue the process.

Here are some of the disadvantages of shifting cultivation:

  • Soil erosion
  • Deforestation
  • Reduced fertility of the soil
  • Insufficient food
  • Air pollution
  • Small patches of farming
  1. Plantation agriculture refers to a form of commercial farming in which farmers grow numerous crops on a single farm. Some common crops grown in this form of farming include rubber, cotton, jute, cotton, sugarcane, coffee, tea, or cashew. For plantation agriculture, a large number of laborers are employed in the field. After the labor harvests the crop, the product is taken to a nearby factory for processing. Major plantations are found in the tropical regions of our world. Common examples include coffee in Brazil, rubber in Malaysia, and tea in India.
  2. Jute and cotton are two important fibre crops. Jute thrives on alluvial soil and develops best in hot, wet climates with high humidity levels. Whereas, cotton requires hot temperatures, little precipitation, and bright sunlight.

Ques 2. Tick the correct answer

  1. Horticulture means
    a. Growing fruits and vegetables
    b. Growing of wheat
    c. Primitive farming
  2. Golden fibre refers to
    a. Tea
    b. Cotton
    c. Jute 
  3. Leading producers of coffee
    a. Brazil
    b. India
    c. Russia


  1. a. Growing fruits and vegetables
  2. c. Jute
  3. a. Brazil

Ques 3. Give reasons for the following:

A. In India, agriculture is a primary activity.
B. Different crops are grown in different regions.


A. Because of the fertile terrain that many Indian regions enjoy, agriculture is a major activity there. In India, a large population is still largely reliant on agriculture. This is primarily due to low literacy rates and a lack of job opportunities in the country. Also, due to its high population density, India needs to produce a lot of food to meet its population’s demands.

B. As crop growth depends on a variety of elements such as favorable soil topography, produce demand, climatic type, amount of rainfall, technology, and labor, a variety of crops are grown in different places.

Ques 4. Distinguish between the following:

A. Primary activities and tertiary activities

B. Subsistence farming and intensive farming.


Primary Activities Tertiary Activities
Activities associated with cultivation, production, and extraction of natural resources. 
Examples: Mining, Agriculture, and Fishing 
Activities that support the primary as well as secondary sectors of the economy are termed tertiary activities.
Examples: Banking and Finance and Transportation


Subsistence Farming Intensive Farming
In this type of farming, a farmer grows crops and vegetables for the consumption of his family.  In this type of farming, a farmer produces crops for commercial purposes i.e. for selling in the market.
Farmers use small pieces of land. Farmers use large areas of land.
Subsistence farming requires minimal equipment and household labour. Intensive farming is done with the use of high-end technology devices and numerous field labourers.
Possible in any amount of rainfall. Possible in monsoon regions only.

Ques 5. Solve the following clues:


  1. Crop that needs well-drained fertile soils, moderate temperatures and lots of sunshine
  2. Increasing production through use of HYV seeds, chemical fertilisers and pesticides

      4.   USA, Canada, Russia, Australia are major producers of this crop 

    10.   Type of farming to meet family needs

    13.   Rearing of animals for sale

    14.   Growing grapes for wines


  1. Coarse grains are also called

      3.   Cultivation involving slash and burn

      5.   Growing of crops, fruits, and vegetables

      6.   Tea, coffee, sugarcane and rubber are grown in

      7.   Requires 210 frost-free days for growth

      8.   Growing of flowers

      9.   Also called “Golden Fibre”

    11.   Also known as paddy

    12.   Activity concerned with the extraction of natural resources



1. Maize

2. Green Revolution

4. Wheat

10. Subsistence Farming

13. Livestock

14. Viticulture


1. Millets

3. Shifting

5. Agriculture

6. Plantations

7. Cotton

8. Floriculture

9. Jute

11. Rice

12. Primary

NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 3: Extra Questions

  1. Where is the breeding of fish done in the process of Pisciculture?
  2. What type of climate and soil are required by coffee in its growth?
  3. What is known as Golden Fibre?
  4. Where is mixed faming practised?
  5. What is subsistence farming and it’s types?
  6. Name the crops cultivated in intensive subsistence agriculture.
  7. In which parts of the world is shifting cultivation practised?
  8. Name two major plantations found in the tropical regions of the world.
  9. Name four leading producers of rice.
  10. Which countries produce the best quality tea in the world?

NCERT Class 8 Geography Chapter 3 MCQs

  1. What is the cultivation of grapes called’?

a) Floriculture
b) Horticulture
c) Viticulture

2. Name the animal that is not reared by the nomadic herders as these animals provided milk, meat, wool etc.

a) Sheep
b) Camel
c) Mongoose

3. Pick out an example of secondary economic activity from the given options.

a) Processing of Steel
b) Farming
c) Mining

4. Where is mixed farming practised?

a) New Zealand
b) Egypt
c) Canada

5. Commercial rearing of silkworms is known as

a) Sericulture
b) Horticulture
c) Pisciculture

Answers: 1. Viticulture, 2. Sheep, 3. Processing of Steel, 4. New Zealand, 5. Sericulture


What is agriculture called?

Agriculture is derived from the Latin word – ager meaning field and colo meaning to cultivate. Basically, agriculture is the art and science of raising crops, cultivating on soil and rearing livestock.

Why India is known for agriculture?

India is known as an agricultural country as it possesses perennial rivers and fertile plains.

When did agriculture start?

It was developed approximately 10,000 years ago when humans began to domesticate animals and plants.

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