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Monsoonal agriculture finds its greatest outlet in China and. India. Outside this contiguous belt, intensive subsistence farming of any consequence shows up in the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and of the Nile. It is conspicuous by its absence from Europe, North America, Africa, nearly all of Africa, West Asia, northern Asia and Australia in spite of the marked influence of the monsoonal climate in many parts of these regions.
Intensive cultivation of the monsoonal lands appears to be laggard when compared with the one developed in west European countries, and the areas surrounding the densely populated parts of the U.S.A. In these regions, high per capita yield has been possible by dint of greater capital investment. Since the monsoonal lands do not enjoy absolutely identical climate, specially the precipitation, and since the precipitation is seasonal in occurrence, crops grown exhibit a wide variation both over space and time. Rice, wheat, barley, millet, jowar, sugarcane, cotton, tobacco, oilseeds, pulses, teas, coffee, rubber, vegetables and a number of other crops are raised in this region. Rice is by far the most outstanding crop since it provides the staple to nearly two-thirds of the world's humanity.
Though predominantly subsistence in character moderate density of population enables Burma, Thailand and Cambodia to put a part of their rice in the international market.
Plantation farming: Plantation farming of the tropical and the sub-tropical regions of the world is little more than 100 years old, although the system started to evolve with the colonization of the hot humid portions of the Americas. The development of commercial plantation farming is attributable to two main factors: (a) The European entrepreneurship, (b) the native or indentured or imported labour. It is a system of farming suited to the production of crops, which need careful harvesting, processing and handling and which mostly do not bring immediate returns. Plants are generally termed as perennials yielding crops over years once they attain maturity.
Several notable features characterize the tropical and subtropical plantation farming.
(a) Large holdings
(i) The FAZENDAS or coffee plantations of Brazil.
(ii) The tea and rubber estates of India and Malaya respectively
(b) Indentured workers in most cases.
(c) Single crop specialization.
(d) Perennial plants in most cases.
(e) Heavy capital investment.
(f) Export orientation
Some of the main plantation crops are rubber, oil palm, copra, cotton and beverages like tea, coffee and cocoa, fruits like pineapples and bananas as well as cane sugar, hemp and jute.
The success of such crops has often encouraged other farmers to grow them, so that small holdings exist side by side with the large estate, most of the large estates are owned by Europeans. e.g. The Malaysian rubber estates are mostly in the hands of British companies with their head offices in London and are managed and supervised by Englishmen. The tapping and processing of rubber is done entirely by local people or by immigrant laborers from South India.