A Plantation is an estate or a large piece of land in which a certain type of crop or plant is grown and processed. It is a large farm with the cultivation of a limited number of cash crops, carried out using scientific and efficient methods. In Africa, plantation crops include sugar, tea, cocoa, tobacco, cotton, rubber and grapevine. In this article we are going to look at the major characteristics pf plantation agriculture or large scale agriculture
Characteristics of Plantation Agriculture
Now that we know the meaning of plantation agriculture, let us discuss the characteristics of plantation agriculture. They are as follows:
- Plantation estates are very large, covering thousands of hectares and are normally run by huge foreign or local private companies.
- Most plantations in Africa were established during the colonial era in the 19th century when European countries ruled over African countries. They were owned by foreigners who produced raw materials for industries in their own countries.
- Plantations are labor-intensive, in that they employ a large number of workers. In the case of labor strategies, workers are recruited from neighbouring countries, leading to the development of plural societies, that is, societies made up of different ethnic groups.
- Plantations are also capital intensive. Many plantations use a lot of money in their investments. They have their own factories for processing crops. They also have their own infrastructure. For example, light railway lines and roads for the transportation of harvested crops to the factory and the market.
- Plantations usually specialize in the production of a single crop. In other words, they practice what is known as monoculture. In a few cases, two or more different crops are grown.
- Crops on plantations are normally intended or grown for export. Only a few countries have agro-based industries that process plantation products.
- Many plantations increase their output by buying local produce or by buying the same product from small scale farmers.
- Plantation management provides housing, food, and medical facilities, and at times elementary education to their employees within the plantation.
- Plantation agriculture is usually found in areas with a sparse population
- they use research and scientific method of farming