As we all know that Agriculture involves the cultivation of crops and also the rearing of animals. These two combined are our sources of food, as crops provide the likes of grains, legume, vegetables, and fruits and so on. While the rearing of livestock provides us with our animal sources of protein like meat, egg, milk etc. Agriculture has provided food and income for thousands of years and it is an important aspect of who we are. Right before Ireland joined the European Union, the country was almost totally dependent on farming economic-wise.
FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE AGRICULTURE
Like it was in the past, farming in Ireland is facing challenges ranging from climate change, rising energy costs, food security and increase in population, as well as the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. The factors that are affecting agriculture can be categorized into both; Human and Physical factors.
Under the Human Factor, we have:
1. Implementation of mechanization: As a developed country, Ireland is able to include the use of modern agricultural machines into their production system. With the use of fertilizers to improve the fertility of the soil, they are able to produce more crops both for consumption and for export.
2. The final destination of production: The type of Agriculture practiced in Ireland is such that supports export. In Ireland agriculture today, the beef and milk sector are the most important sectors of the economy. Comparing the size of its population to the amount of been produced, it means that it exports more than 85% of its beef output. This makes Ireland the largest exporter of beef in Europe.
3. Economic Globalization: This means countries can sell their products to other countries. With Ireland being a member of the European Union (EU), they are able to export their agricultural produce to other EU members.
4. Agricultural policies: Ireland Government policy is one that supports the development of agriculture both at the subsistence and commercial level. An example of such policy is Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), this policy provides a direct fund for farmers and those looking to invest in agriculture.
Under the Physical Factors we have:
1. Land: Ireland possess a vast area of land covering over 6.9 million hectares, and of which 4.4 million hectares are used for agriculture. Their land supports both crop cultivation and livestock rearing. These factors alone see the increase in the production level in the Agricultural sector of Ireland.
2. Climate: The climate of the Ireland region is of cool temperate oceanic. The impact of this on Agriculture is that it supports the growth and yield of high yielding crops. The long hours of sunshine and low rainfall experienced here all together help to reduce the risk of potato blight. With its perfect growing climatic condition and fertile soil, it’s one of the reasons why Ireland is a large producer of Potato.
3. Soil: the main type of soil found in Ireland is the brown one. This type of soil is fertile, and easy to cultivate hence its reason for supporting productive agriculture. Crops like wheat and barley are produced with this type of soil, and since the demand for these crops is high more of them are produced. Barley is used both in the brewing industry, and animal feed industries. While wheat is one major material used in bakeries.
All these listed factors have in one way or the other impacted the Agricultural sector of Ireland. The biggest of them all is the land area, coupled with supporting government policy and globalization. Due to its small sized population, the land supports mechanized intensive farming, and the government provides an incentive that supports farmers to produce more high-quality produce. Lastly, the availability of a market for Ireland’s produce prompts it to produce more for consumption and export.