Agriculture as a Declining Sector

Agriculture As A Declining Sector

Agriculture has always been a very significant element of every country’s economy more because it paves the path towards development rather than because it contributes significantly to the economy’s GDP. All countries, in order to develop, had to go through the process of commercialising agriculture to be able to fund the development of the secondary and eventually the tertiary economic sectors, thus making agriculture a key segment of the economy when it is in its development stages. This can be clearly seen in the way the agricultural revolution from the 16th to the 19th century in Britain, kick started the industrial revolution, which led Britain to becoming the economic power it is today. What is important to notice however, is that after the industrial revolution became a global phenomenon, agriculture became less and less significant in yielding income for global economies, so now it only makes up 5% of the Gross World Product .

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In order to understand why agriculture’s importance declines throughout the development process it is instrumental to understand the importance agriculture has in the first place. In the Chinese drive towards development, for instance, the main reasons the government used agriculture to guide its development were the need for self-sufficiency, the need for an improved standard of living, especially in the rural areas and the necessity of agriculture as a means of modernising the economy. In the British drive towards development, agriculture had also a very important role, as it succeeded in maintaining the British population increase that had occurred in the 1750s. As result a significant percentage of the labour force previously occupied in the agricultural sector was freed and demand for goods rose.