What is Subsistence Farming? - Life Beyond Certificate

What is Subsistence Farming?

What is Subsistence Farming?

There’s always a reservation in the backyard in most family house settings where most things are green.

Plantations of Vegetables, plantain, tubers, or a poultry house, a goat pen, a rabbit cage, or a fish pond

Not for sale.

 It’s primarily for the consumption of the family. That’s subsistence agriculture.

Subsistence farming is a small-scale agricultural practice where farmers grow crops or breed animals for their family’s consumption while surplus produce could be sold out.

This agricultural style has lasted as long as 12,000 years. Even today, it is still practiced by most people/ families as a way to provide food easily and quickly for the family.

Considering a country like Nigeria, blessed with an arable land populated by over 160,000,000 million people. In 2016, It was reported that 78% of the population affirmed the engagement of their families in subsistence farming as a way to reduce the cost of buying foodstuff and providing for their families.

In the European countries, this farming practice went into quietus in the early twentieth century until it bounced back after 1990 and disappeared in 2004. This was also seen in North, South, and Midwest America in 1930 and 1942.

Today, it is reported that today subsistence farming exists most commonly throughout areas of Sub-Saharan AfricaSoutheast Asia, and parts of South and Central America.

How do you do Subsistence Farming?

We already know what subsistence farming entails. If you like it but don’t know how to go about it, you can follow the steps below.

1. Secure a space: The practice of farming, whether small or large-scale, requires a favorable space for the convenience of your purpose. Plants and animals require space to thrive well. So it is very important to map out or secure a subsistence farming space, either in your backyard or any other place you find favorable. People also purchase a small piece of land to practice subsistence farming, but proximity and method of transporting farm produce should be considered if you take this option.

2.   Study your environment: No matter how viable the seed is, it will not thrive in a bad environment. A better understanding of your climate and soil type will help know what seed you should plant. This does not affect animals because there is a provision to adjust the temperature for their convenience.

For example, one can let the chicken out on a sunny day and bring them back into the poultry house if it’s raining, but plants cannot be moved.

Here’s a little guide for sun-tolerant vegetables and fruits: Beets, cabbage, Sweet potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, okra, guava, mango, pawpaw, and Banana.

Winter-tolerant vegetables and fruit:

Carrot, Celery, Green onions, Scent leaf, waterleaf, Pumpkin, Collards, Apple, Pear, Kiwi, and Cherry.

3. Decide what to grow: Some subsistence farmers try to grow many things on a small piece of land. Your decision of what to grow must be proportional to the size of the land.

Would you love to grow vegetables or fruit, or tubers?

Would you love to grow plants directly from the soil or in containers?

What kind of animals would you love to breed?

Will chicken crow, goat bleat, or the odor that comes from chicken droppings be convenient for the residents of that area?

These are questions that would help you in deciding subsistence farming.

4. Commence the plan

It’s time to start buying seeds, plowing the ground and burying seeds, or constructing a cage or house for a small animal farm that will leave you with smiles when you sight their growth. You can employ expertise in this field who will test your soil and seeds to get a better yield.

5. Care for your Farm

Caring for your farm demands commitment to practices like weeding, consistent irrigation, feeding your animals, administering injections when sick, and cleaning their abode. This should be a regimen for any subsistence farmer who desires a bountiful harvest or animal breed. Caring for your Farm is key.

Benefits of Subsistence Farming

1. Starting up this farming style is cheap and cost-effective.

2. Local tools like cutlass, hoe can be used to get a better yield compared to commercial farming, where expensive machines are needed to do an excellent job

3. It ensures cheap and easy availability of food for families.

4. More nutrients are obtained when fresh farm produce is consumed. Hence, there is a limited tendency to consume spoilt Farm produce.

5. Money spent on purchasing foodstuff can be diverted to other necessary needs.

6. Hiring farm laborers is not necessary

7. It improves survival and reduces cases of starvation

8. Specialization or professionalism is not required to start it.


Subsistence farming is fun and beneficial. It is recommended that families who have spaces in their homes start it up to be a part of the amazing benefits of this farming mode. You donated to buy every farm produce if you own a space in your home to start planting and breeding animals available for your use.

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