Ch05 Primary Activities - Revision Notes

 CBSE Class 12 Geography

Revision Notes
Fundamentals of Human Geography

Chapter-5 Primary Activities

  • Human activities which generate income are known as economic activities
  • Economic activities are broadly grouped into primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary activities
  • Primary activities are directly dependent on environment as these refer to utilisation of earth’s resources such as land, water,vegetation,building materials and minerals
  • It includes, hunting and gathering, pastoral activities, fishing, forestry, agriculture, and mining and quarrying
  • People engaged in primary activities are called red collar workers due to the outdoor nature of their work

Characteristics of Gathering 

  1. lt is practised in regions with harsh climatic conditions
  2. It involves primitive societies, who extract, both plants and animals to satisfy their needs for food, shelter and clothing 
  3. This type of activity requires a small amount of capital investment and operates at very low level of technology
  4. The yield per person is very low and little or no surplus is produced
  • Areas of concentration or practised in (i) high latitude zones which include northern Canada, Northern Eurasia and southern Chile; (ii) Low latitude zones such as the Amazon Basin, tropical Africa, Northern fringe of Australia and the interior parts of Southeast Asia
  • Nowadays gathering is market oriented and has become commercial
  • Gatherers collect valuable plants such as leaves, barks of trees and medicinal plants and after simple processing sell the products in the market
  • They use various parts of the plants, for example, the bark is used for quinine, tanin extract and cork— leaves supply materials for beverages, drugs, cosmetics, fibres, thatch and fabrics;nuts for foods and oil and tree trunk yield rubber, baata, gums and raisins

Hunting and gathering

  1. Depend on their immediate environment
  2. Depend on animals they hunted and edible plants which they gathered
  3. Primitive societies depend on hunting and gathering, fishing.
  4. oldest occupation, practiced in harsh climatic conditions ok
  5. depend on animals, for food, shelter, clothing
  6. small capital, low level of technology,
  7. Practiced in High latitude areas such as Eurasia, Southern Chile. Low latitude such as Amazon, Congo, S.E. Asian countries
  8. In modern market some gathering is done such as leaves, bark nuts, fabric rubber, balata, gums and resins.

Nomadic Herding:  
herders depend on animals for food, transport, and shelter and clothing.
Keep on moving from one place to another along with their animals. Each nomadic community Occupies a well identified territory. Variety of animals are kept indifferent regions
Sahara and Asiatic deserts: sheep, goat, and camel
Tibet: yak, Andes: llamas, arctic region: Reindeer


  1. Core regions extending from Atlantic coast of N Africa through Arabian Peninsula to central China
  2. Second region extends in Tundr region of Eurasia
  3. Third region is found in S.W Africa and Madagascar transhumance: seasonal movement of people along with their herds to mountains in summer and to plains in winter. Ex. Gujjars, Bakarwals, Gaddis and Bhotias in Himalayas

The number of pastoral nomads is decreasing due to:

  1. Imposition of political boundaries
  2. New settlement plans by different countries

Commercial livestock rearing:

  1. It is more organized
  2. Capital intensive
  3. Practised in permanent ranches
  4. Larger areas and divided in to parcels
  5. Animals are moved from one parcel to another
  6. Number of animals are kept based on capacity of the pasture
  7. Animals are sheep, cattle, goats and horses and products are meat, wool, hides and skin
  8. Practiced in New Zealand, Australia Argentina Uruguay and USA.

Types of agriculture
Subsistence agriculture

  • Primitive subsistence agriculture
  • Intensive subsistence agriculture

Primitive subsistence agriculture:

  1. Also called shifting cultivation/ slash and burn agriculture
  2. Practiced by tribes in topics
  3. Land holdings are small
  4. Do not use fertilizers
  5. Change the land frequently
  6. After5 years they come back again.
  7. It is called Jhuming in N.E. India, Milpa in South America, Ladang in Malaysia

Intensive subsistence agriculture:

  1. Found in density populated areas
  2. There are two types

A. Intensive subsistence agriculture dominated by wet paddy cultivation:

  • Dominated by rice crop,
  • Land holdings are very small
  • Family labor is used
  • Less use of machine
  • Manual labor is used
  • Farm yard manure is used
  • Yield per unit is high but per labor is low

B. Intensive subsistence agriculture dominated by other crops.

  • Depends on climate, soil, relief other crops are cultivated.
  • Mainly practiced in SE Asia.
  • Wheat, barley, soya bean, sorghum is cultivated
  • In India wheat is grown in western parts of Ganga plain
  • Millets are grown in western parts of south India
  • Irrigation is used
  • Europeans introduced Plantation agriculture

Plantation agriculture:

  1. Introduced by Europeans
  2. Found in tropics
  3. Important crops are tea, coffee, cocoa, rubber, cotton, oil palm, sugarcane, banana, &pine apples
  4. Large estates, capital, managerial, technical support
  5. Scientific methods of cultivation
  6. Single crop specialization,
  7. Cheap labour
  8. Good system of transport
  9. Export oriented

other details

  • The French established cocoa and coffee in west Africa
  • The British setup tea gardens in India and Sri Lanka Rubber plantation in Malaysia, sugarcane and banana in west indies
  • Spanish and Americans introduced coconut and sugar cane in Philippines
  • Dutch started sugarcane in Indonesia
  • coffee Fazandas are managed by British in Brazil

Extensive commercial grain cultivation

  1. Practiced in semiarid land of mid latitudes
  2. Wheat is the main crop
  3. Corn, barley oats and rye are grown
  4. Large land holdings
  5. Machines are used
  6. Low yield per acre but high yield per person
  7. Practiced in prairies, pampas, veldts, down, Canterbury plains.

Dairy farming:

  1. Most advanced and efficient type of animal rearing
  2. Highly capital intensive
  3. Animal shed, storage facilities, mulching machines are used
  4. Special emphasis is laid on breeding health care
  5. Highly labour intensive
  6. No off season
  7. Practiced nearby urban areas and industries
  8. Development of transportation, refrigeration, pasteurization has increased the marketing

Mediterranean agriculture:

  1. Highly specialized commercial agriculture
  2. Practiced in the countries around Mediterranean Sea also central Chile, SW Africa, SW Australia& California
  3. It is an important supplier of citrus fruits
  4. Viticulture is specialized in this region
  5. Best quality wine is produced from grapes
  6. Low quality grapes are used for raisins, and currants
  7. Olives and figs are also grown
  8. Fruits and vegetable are grown in winter which are great demand in Europe

Market gardening and horticulture:

  1. Vegetable, fruits and flowers are grown
  2. Small farms, located nearby urban areas
  3. Good transportation is required
  4. Labor and capital intensive
  5. Use of irrigation, HYV seeds, fertilizers & pesticides are used
  6. Green houses and artificial heating is used in cold regions
  7. Practiced in NW Europe, NE USA & Mediterranean regions
  8. Netherlands is famous in growing tulips flower
  9. The regions where vegetable is grown is called Truck Farming

Factory farming:

  1. Factory farming is also practiced in NW Europe
  2. It consists of poultry farming livestock rearing
  3. They are fed on factory feedstuff and carefully supervised against diseases
  4. Heavy capital investments
  5. Veterinary services, heating and lightning is provided
  6. Breed selection and scientific breeding is important feature

Cooperative farming:

  1. A group of farmers form a society
  2. Pool their resources to get more profit
  3. Individual farms remain intact
  4. Farming is a matter of cooperative initiative
  5. Societies help farmers in getting agriculture inputs
  6. Sell the products at the most favorable terms
  7. Help in processing products at cheaper rates
  8. Practiced in Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden & Italy

Collective farming:

  1. Social owner ship for means of production and labour
  2. It is also called as Kolkhoz
  3. It was introduced in erstwhile USSR
  4. Farmers pool their resources like land livestock labour
  5. A small land is allowed to retain of their own to grow their own crops
  6. Yearly targets are fixed by the government
  7. Government fixes the product rates
  8. Excess produce is distributed among the farmers
  9. The farmers are to pay taxes for their own land
  10. Members are paid according to their nature of the work
  11. Exceptional work is rewarded by the government


  1. There are stages of minerals copper age, bronze age, iron age
  2. Actual development is started with the industrialization

Factors affection mining activity:

  1. Physical factors such as size, grade, and mode of occurrence of mineral
  2. Economic factors such as demand for mineral, technology available, capital, labor, and transportation

Methods of mining:
 Depend on mode of occurrence of mineral there are two types of mining

A. Surface /opencast mining

  • Easiest, and cheapest mining
  • Occur close to the surface
  • Low safety precautions
  • Large and quick output

B. Underground/shaft mining

  • Vertical shafts to be sunk
  • Minerals are extracted and sent to surface
  • It requires specialized drills, lifts, haulage vehicles, ventilation systems
  • This method is risky poisonous gases, fires, floods and caving leads to accidents
  • It requires large investment
  • Developed countries are showing less interest but developing countries are more interest due to large labor availability