History Of Agriculture

The origin of humans on earth is estimated to be around 1.5 million years ago. They evolved from monkeys who began to walk upright. These early humans are known as Homo erectus or Java man (Homo → human, erectus → upright). Homo erectus gradually changed into Cro-Magnon and then into modern humans. The scientific name of modern humans is Homo sapiens (sapiens means wise) because of their ability to learn constantly. According to the binomial nomenclature, modern humans are called Homo sapiens sapiens. They first appeared in Africa about 35,000 years ago, which is widely accepted today. At first, they lived as hunter-gatherers, but around 8700 – 7700 B.C., they started to domesticate animals like sheep and goats. The first animal they domesticated was the dog, which they used for hunting.

The practice of growing crops began around 7500 B.C., giving rise to agricultural science. To produce crops, humans plowed the land. Plowing the land or in other words, cultivating the soil is called Agriculture.

Agriculture is derived from two Latin words, i.e., Agric/Ager + Cultura – Agriculture

Land

Cultivation

Therefore, agriculture is both an art and a science that studies all the human activities related to the use of soil.

The invention and use of iron transformed agriculture to meet the needs of the increasing population and their aspirations. Later on, it was realized that the soil productivity was declining due to poor field management.

Agronomy is the branch of agricultural sciences that deals with the principles and practices of crop production and field management. The word ‘agronomy’ comes from two Greek words: ‘agros’, meaning field, and ‘nomos’, meaning to manage. Agronomy was first studied by Pietro de Crescenzi, who collected many literatures related to it in his book ‘Opus ruralium commodorum’. He is considered the Father of Agronomy. Jethrotull also contributed to agronomy by writing a book ‘Horse Hoeing Husbandry’, which led to the development of ‘seed drill’ and ‘Horse Drawn cultivator’. He also introduced the terms ‘weed’ and ‘zero tillage’. In India, scientific cultivation began with the commercialisation of sugarcane, cotton and tobacco. A joint department of agriculture, revenue and commerce was established by Lord Mayo on the request of A.O. Hume on 27th April 1871. Later, a separate central department of agriculture was established in 1881, following the recommendation of Famine commission 1880.

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