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In no other farming region is agriculture so diverse and at the same time so specialized as in the Mediterranean lands. The Mediterranean agriculture is distinguished by a combination of raising of cereals, vegetables, fruits and livestock. In the Mediterranean regions the rainfall is moderate, seasonal and has a winter concentration.
Depending upon the terrain, rainfall and accessibility to large market-specialized type of farming has developed. The agriculture is commercial and well organized near the densely populated urban markets and subsistent in the rural areas.
The main produce of commercial importance is fruits. Olives, dates, figs, grapes, oranges and lemons are produced on a commercial scale, and for export. These are exported as fresh, canned or dried fruits or in the forms of jams, extracts, powdered and wine.
Manual labour is used as the land consists of a complex of plains, valleys and mountain slopes. There are cooperatives for collecting, processing and marketing the farm produce.
In the production of barley, wine and olive oil, North African countries have specialized. California specializes in the production of oranges, Greece in raisin and wine, Italy in wheat.
Farming is intensive, highly specialized and rather varied in the kinds of crop raised. Subsistence agriculture occurs side by side with commercial farming. The Mediterranean lands are in fact, the orchard lands of the world and the heart of the world's wine industry. Land use is dependent on such factors as the total amount of precipitation - the length of the summer drought, the availability of melting snow and mountain streams for irrigation and power supply, local soil conditions, the ability of the farmer to finance capital equipment and price fluctuations in local and world markets. The interplay of the above factors has given rise to four main aspects of Mediterranean agriculture. These are orchard farming, viticulture or grape cultivation, cereal and vegetable cultivation and animal husbandry.
Next: Mid-Latitude Agriculture