14 Characteristics of shifting cultivation

Characteristics of shifting cultivation

Shifting cultivation is the subsistence method of farming involving farmers moving from one place to another when soil loses fertility. it is mostly practised in sparsely populated areas like equator regions, the tropics for example Zambia DRC Congo, Brazil, Argentina, Zimbabwe, India, Indonesia and Venezuela.

The following are characteristics of shifting cultivation

  • they use the barter trade system
  • there is bush burning during clearing land
  • they have a temporary settlement pattern

  • they grow crops for subsistence purpose
  • they grow cereal and annual crops like maize and millet
  • they use family labour because of small plots
  • the land gain fertility by abandoning
  • they grow a few cash crops
  • the movement of people from one place to another after a loss of fertility
  • they use simple technology like hoes and pangas
  • they specialize in growing food crops
  • they are found in sparsely populated areas
  • they use communal ownership for easy movement
  • they depend on nature and physical factors with no improvement and little attention


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