food-security-harvest-kenyaTropical agriculture is extremely diverse, and one should not think of this practice as solely occurring in wet rainforest areas. There are of course many humid tropical areas such as the rain forest, but a plethora of arid tropical areas also exist. Tropical agricultural technique is very different from the temperate climate technique that is found in areas like the United States because of the climate and soil types. Common exports from tropical areas include banana, coconut and papaya. While most tropical agriculture is used for local purposes, exports such as the ones mentioned (cash crops) provide a sustainable living for some farmers.

Notable Techniques

One of the phenomena that allows for faster tropical plant propagation and production is the planting of cuttings. The cuttings are simply replanted and the plants are able to spawn. This bypasses the seed stage and production can be accelerated. Naturally, seeds are still needed in order for plants to survive the winter. During the warm climates, however, this method is commonly employed. This is usually not possible in crops that are grown in temperate climates.

CIAT_International_Center_for_Tropical_Agriculture_flickrIrrigation Issues

Most tropical areas have abundant rainfall, but the rain may not always fall at the correct times for the crops being grown, especially in the dry season. To combat this problem, various irrigation systems have been employed in tropical agriculture. The simplest technique is to simply dig water pits into fields. During periods of heavy rain, the pits collect great amounts of water that can then be used during the dry season.

Difficulties in Tropical Agriculture

It should not be assumed that abundant rainfall makes it easy to grow abundant crops in the tropics. In fact, there are actually many disadvantages to growing crops in the tropics that temperate climates do not have. For example, the year-round warm weather helps insect populations to remain high, and this lowers the chances of crop success. Furthermore, the soils in tropical climates are very acidic and nutrient poor. This requires lime for neutralization, which many poor farmers simply cannot afford. This has commercialized tropical farming to a large degree.