It is true to sat, that without farming, humans would cease to exist. Subsistence and commercial farming are simply two systems that arose along with the evolution of farming. There are several differences between the two different systems of farming. These differences include aspects such as methods, purpose, capacity, economy and many more.
Subsistence farming refers to the self-sufficient farming practice, which involves the farmer growing and harvesting only enough food in order to feed himself, as well as his family. With regard to subsistence farming, the type of crops also usually varies a great deal. This is as a result of subsistence framers, growing exactly what the family will require throughout the year, with regard to food, clothing and other necessities. Although subsistence farming is still a common practice, as a result of the present economic status of many third world and developing countries, many subsistence farmers are now beginning to participate in trade in one way or another. Subsistence farming is most certainly most common in developing countries and this is evident in large rural parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Subsistence farming is also very prevalent in very densely populated countries such as India and China. Here they produce enough food for their own consumption and then the little remaining produce is used for exchange against other necessary survival goods.
Commercial farming on the other hand has the main purpose of selling agricultural products for a cash profit. Unlike subsistence farming, choices about what crops or animals to raise is determined by the market and not by the needs of the farmers and their families, which is the case in subsistence farming. Commercial farming also refers to the large-scale production of crops that are for sale, and intended for widespread distribution. Commercial farming, most obviously goes into a great more detail than subsistence farming and therefore there are numerous factors that need to be taken into account. These factors that need to be taken into consideration include location, climate, raw materials, market forces, labor and transportation.
The most obvious difference with regard to commercial farming in comparison to subsistence farming is that commercial farming consists of a very few variations of either crop or livestock, which is selected for production and is then grown on a large-scale. Commercial farms are bigger and their produce is solely intended for wholesale and retail purposes, with the intention of gaining maximum profits. Subsistence farming is completely the opposite. Subsistence farming involves both crop and livestock production, whereas commercial farming generally focuses primarily on only one crop or livestock. Subsistence farming on the other hand, includes many variations of both crops and livestock. Subsistence farms are small and the self-sufficiency in their crop and livestock is the sole purpose of subsistence farming. There are also several differences that occur on an operational level, when comparing large-scale commercial farming and self-sufficient subsistence farming. Commercial farming is obviously a great deal more costly to operate. This is as a result of commercial farming requiring the use of heavy and sophisticated machinery, whereas subsistence farming, utilizers basic, low-cost equipment. Another costly input factor with regard to commercial farming, includes the use of improved crop varieties, hybrids, as well as improved breeds, whereas subsistence farming relies entirely on traditional varieties. Another major factor that occurs when comparing commercial farming and subsistence farming is the environmental impact that such farming has on the eco-system. Commercial farming utilizers artificial pesticides and fertilizers in order to increase harvest, which in turn results in an increase in profits. As a result, this contributes to high levels of environmental pollution, which has serious negative consequences for the environment. On the other hand, because of the lower levels of production and profits, subsistence farmers make use of natural fertilizers and pesticides, which don't cost money. Therefore, this has a positive effect on the environment as subsistence farming does not contribute towards environmental pollution.
Therefore, when considering all the factors involved with regard to the two systems of farming, namely commercial farming and subsistence farming, one is able to draw a couple of conclusions. Although subsistence farming is eco-friendly and supports the livelihood of many families in developing countries, it is not able to sustain live for a nation of people. Therefore, although commercial farming is damaging to the environment, as well as profit driven, it is without question, able to feed a rapidly growing world population, and as a result it continues to be of vital importance. Therefore although subsistence farming will remain, it is without a doubt commercial farming that will continue to grow and flourish.