In ancient times, people moved from place to place, hunting animals and gathering fruit and seeds. When they noticed tat seeds thrown away could germination and grow into plants, they started sowing seeds near their caves, and this gave rise to the practice of cultivation. They selected the seeds of cereal plants and fruit plants from the forest, and over time, were able to raise a large variety of cultivable plants. This led to a change in their lifestyle too. The nomadic hunter- gathers settled down near rivers and lakes and started cultivation.
Agriculture, or the practice growing crops, has come a long way since then. In this chapter, we will study the methods we use or cultivating crops and rearing animals. We will also touch upon the usefulness of some microorganisms.
Useful of plats
Food, fiber, timber, oil beverages, medicines and flavoring agents are among the useful products that plants give us. Some of these products and the plants we get them from are listed in the table.
Some useful plants and their products
a) Cereals rice, wheat, maize, barley
b) Oil mustard, groundnut, castor, linseed, coconut, sesame
c) Pulses gram, pea, bean, Soya bean
d) Fruit banana, mango, orange, apple, guava
e) Vegetables cabbage, cauliflower, potato, tomato, brinjal
f) Beverages tea, coffee, cocoa
g) Fibers cotton, jute, flax, hemp
h) Spices clove cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, pepper, coriander
i) Timber sal, teak, pine, sissoo
j) Sugar sugarcane, beet
k) Paper bamboo, pine, bagasse (sugar cane)
Rubber is a useful plant product not mentioned in the table. We make it from the latex of rubber trees and use it o make tyres, shoes and gloves, among other things. Gum, obtained from Acacia trees, is used to make glue. Resin, extracted from coniferous trees, is used to make varnishes and paints.
From ancient times, people in different parts o the world have used medicinal plants to cure illnesses. Nee, turmeric, Tulasi, aswagandha, sarpagandha and amla have been used n India for centuries. Quinine, used in the treatment of malaria, is made from the bark of Cinchona trees.
Fish meat, chicken, White milk, sweet honey, wool, leather, silk and lac, are some products we get from animals and bids. We also use animals to do farm work and transport goods and people. Animals reared for such work are called draught animals.
And the extra animal has been used traditionally to make manure and dung cakes.