Cash crops are grown specifically for the purpose of making money, as opposed to subsistence farming, which is done to provide for the basic needs of the farmer and their family.
Most cash crops are grown for export, meaning they are sold to other countries in order to make money. The most common export crops are coffee, tea, sugar, rice, wheat, maize, soybeans, tobacco and cotton. These crops are often grown in developing countries by large plantations or small farms.
While cash crops can be a source of income for farmers, they can also create dependency, as farmers become vulnerable to price fluctuations and economic instability. Small farms are particularly at risk, since they often lack the resources to weather a bad season or economic downturn, and they are the ones whose margin is squeezed the most by middlemen.
The impact of cash crops
The cultivation of cash crops can have both positive and negative effects on rural communities. On the one hand, it can provide farmers with a stable source of income, which can help to improve their standard of living. On the other hand, cash crops can also have negative environmental impacts, as farmers tend to clear large areas of land to make way for their crops, leading to soil erosion and loss of biodiversity. In addition, they also often use harmful pesticides and fertilizers, and over-irrigate their fields, which can lead to water shortages.
Subsistence farming: Farming that is done to provide for the basic needs of the farmer and their family, as opposed to cash crops, which are grown specifically for the purpose of making money.
Developing country: A country with a low level of economic development and per capita income.
Plantation: A large farm that specializes in the production of one or two crops, usually for export.
Pesticide: A chemical substance that is used to kill pests, including insects, rodents, and fungi.
Fertilizer: A substance that is added to soil to improve its fertility.
Deforestation: The conversion of forested land to land that is not forested.
Climate change: A long-term shift in the Earth’s average weather patterns.
Commodity: A raw material or primary agricultural product that can be bought and sold, such as corn or coffee.
Globalization: The process by which the world becomes increasingly interconnected, as a result of social, economic, and technological changes.
Glossary Terms starting with C
- Capital – The Physical or Financial Resources required for Production
- Capitalism – An Economic System in which the Means of Production are Privately Owned
- Cargo Cult – Religious Movements claiming to obtain material goods (cargo) for indigenous people
- Cash Crops – Crops grown for Sale
- Caste – Social Groups Ranked Hierarchically by Birth, Marriage or Occupation
- Caudillismo – A Form of Dictatorship commonly associated with Latin America
- City, Anthropology of the – The Study of Urban Spaces and Culture
- Class Consciousness – When a Class recognises its Common Interests
- Cline – The Study of the Gradual Change in a Population over Time
- Cognatic Kinship – Tracing Descent through both the Maternal and Paternal line
- Cognitive Anthropology – The Study of How Culture impacts Human Cognition
- Colonialism – Acquiring and Maintaining Control over another Country or Territory
- Commensality – The Social Practice of Eating Together
- Concubinage – A Formalised Sexual Relationship between a Man and Women which is not equal to Marriage
- Consanguinity – The State of being related to someone by descent from a common ancestor
- Conscience Collective – The Shared Beliefs and Values of a Group or Society
- Conspicuous Consumption – Spending Money on Luxury Goods to Display Wealth and Status
- Contagious Magic – Items that have been in contact remain connected
- Creole Language – An Amalgam of the Colonial Language and Indigenous Language
- Cultural Baseline – The State of a Culture Before it Comes into Contact with Another Culture
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