What is a cash crop?
What is a cash crop? What does “cash crop” mean in agriculture? Cash crops are an important feature of the agricultural world and have existed for a very long time. The commonly understood definition of a cash crop is a grain, legume, fruit, or other plant crop that is cultivated for sale, especially for profit, not for the farmer’s consumption.
Wheat is a major cash crop around the world.
Wheat is one of the most valuable cash crops
Today, the vast majority of western farmers grow at least one cash crop. This means that they can benefit from agricultural activities. Here are some examples of cash crops grown in the United States today:
Fruits and vegetables
Soybeans and oil-producing plants
Anything can be a cash crop. There is no set type of crop that fits the bill. The point of a cash crop is that it is not cultivated for self-sufficiency, but instead is cultivated in much larger quantities than can be consumed by farmers and their families.
History of cash crops
The history of cash crops is closely related not only to the history of agriculture, but also to the story of human progress over the last 10,000 years. Understanding this history can provide essential insights into human history, survival, and society.
First cash crop
When agriculture was first developed in the river valley about 10,000 years ago, it was what a small group of people did for self-sufficiency. It supplemented the diet of hunter-gatherers and allowed them to settle in one place. Agriculture may have been first developed as a method of fermenting to make alcohol to grow grains such as barley. Alcohol is safer to drink than water. People soon learned that they could grow more crops than they could eat. This probably led to the first stratified societies where some people had access to surplus food and others did not, thus creating wealth inequality. The ability of humans to develop cities and countries is believed to be directly related to the development of agriculture in general, especially cash crops.
Colonial cash crops
Sugar was one of the first cash crops in the United States.
Sugar cane is one of many examples of cash crops
American colonial history is directly related to cash crops and agriculture. The current American colonialism in Europe was driven primarily by the desire to use the resources of the New World to enrich the power of Europe, such as the British Empire. The Atlantic slave trade was a way to use enslaved individuals as workers in the cash crop farming system. Sugar cane, like tobacco, was a cash crop cultivated in plantations. Producing these crops and selling them back to European and growing American markets was the economic model that colonial America relied on.
Modern cash crop
The concept of cash crops dates back thousands of years, but the term “cash crops” itself did not become English in its current sense until 1868. Why did so many farmers grow cash crops in the past compared to today? The reason for growing cash crops has not changed. The best way to profit from farming. Cash crops are still an important part of world trade and food consumption today. Many other products, such as plant-based foods and clothing that you may buy from supermarkets, are the result of farmers planting and harvesting cash crops.
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Example of cash crop
Today, cash crops are cultivated and traded around the world. Often, these crops are cultivated as a food source for humans and livestock. Some cash crops, such as cotton, produce garments. Many others are used in the production of prescription and recreational narcotics, including opium, coca and marijuana crops. Different parts of the world grow different cash crops based on climate, but few in the world do not grow cash crops at all. Places like the Arctic are so cold that it can be difficult to grow anything and limit the production of cash crops.
As agriculture became more global, cash crops were further exported around the world. Today, it is common for Americans to eat fruits grown in South America and even Asia. Different continents and cultures often have specific cash crops that put more effort into them.
Most planted cash crop
The crops planted on the largest lands in the world are:
Each of these crops is planted on more than one million square kilometers of land around the world. Wheat alone is planted on more than 2 million square kilometers of land around the world. The reason these crops are so popular is that they form the main staple grain of most cultures in the world. Wheat is a staple food in parts of North America and most of Europe. Corn is the staple food of Latin America and rice is the staple food of most of Asia. Soybeans are high on the list because they are an oil-producing crop; soybean oil is used around the world.
Most Popular Cash Crops
Measuring the most popular cash crops means seeing how much of the crop is produced in a given year. These crops, ordered from highest production, include:
The latter three crops are obviously popular because they make up so much of people’s daily diet. Sugar cane, on the other hand, is produced in greater tonnage than any other crop because it is used worldwide to create sweets, desserts, chocolate, drinks, and many other foods. Sugar has long been an immensely popular crop, which is why it was one of the major cash crops grown in colonial America.
Highest Yield Cash Crops
Potatoes have long been grown both as cash crops and as subsistence crops.
Potatoes are a high yield product in cash crop agriculture
Some crops grow more densely and productively than others do, meaning that they are great choices for farmers. These crops give farmers a lot of return on their investment, requiring relatively little land to produce big results. The highest yield cash crops in the world are ::