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Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization. The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science. The history of agriculture dates back thousands of years, and its development has been driven and defined by greatly different climates, cultures, and technologies. However, all farming generally relies on techniques to expand and maintain the lands or water areas suitable for raising domesticated species. For plants, this sometimes requires a form of irrigation, although much agriculture is rainfed, and there are methods of dryland farming; pastoral herding on rangeland is still the most common means of raising livestock. In the developed world, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture has become the dominant system of modern farming, although there is growing support for sustainable agriculture. The major agricultural products can be broadly grouped into foods, fibers, fuels, and raw materials.
(Pictured left: Rice farming in Myanmar, 2006)
Agriculture in Burma (officially Myanmar) is the main industry in the country with 6,300,000 hectares as of 2003. The most important crop is rice, and Burma was once Asia's largest exporter of rice, but as of 2003 had fallen to just 7th. Other main crops are pulses, cereals, sesame, groundnuts, sugarcane, hardwood, fish, beans, butter beans, kidney beans, black eye beans, bamboo beans, red beans, mung beans, kenaf and peas. Cotton is also an important industry.
Under British administration, Burma was the world largest exporter of rice. Burmese crops helped to alleviate severe famines in India. Farmers use a slash and burn method to take down trees and make room for their crops. But they grow rice in open well irrigated fields. Agriculture in Burma provides 43% of Burma's GDP and requires 70% of Burma's workforce. This means that agriculture is the most important work in Burma.
Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It has been defined as "an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term:
Sustainable agriculture in the United States was addressed by the 1990 farm bill. More recently, as consumer and retail demand for sustainable products has risen, organizations such as Food Alliance and Protected Harvest have started to provide measurement standards and certification programs for what constitutes a sustainably grown crop.
Categories: Sustainable agriculture, Sustainability
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