Economic activities are broadly grouped into primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary activities.
Primary activities are those, which are directly dependent on the environment as these refer to the utilisation of resources of the earth like land, water, vegetation, minerals, etc. Primary activities include hunting, gathering, pastoral activities, fishing, forestry, agriculture, and mining. The earliest human beings depended on their immediate environment for their sustenance. They depended on animals which they hunted and edible plants which they gather from the forests.
Depending on geographical factors, technological development animal rearing is practised either as Pastoral Nomadism, Commercial livestock rearing.
Agriculture is practised under multiple combinations of physical and socio-economic conditions, which gives rise to subsistence agriculture, primitive subsistence agriculture, intensive subsistence agriculture, plantation agriculture, extensive commercial grain cultivation, mixed farming, dairy farming, mediterranean agriculture, market gardening and horticulture, co-operative farming, collective farming.
Primitive subsistence agriculture or shifting cultivation is widely practised in the tropical regions. Plantation agriculture was introduced by the Europeans in their colonies, which were situated in the tropical regions. The regions where farmers specialise in vegetables only, the farming is known as truck farming. The distance of truck farms from the market is governed by the distance that a truck can cover overnight, hence the name truck farming.
The small-scale production of fruits, vegetables and flowers as cash crops, is known as ‘Market Gardening’. The products are sold directly to the consumers and restaurants. The plants are grown on a small area of land ranging from under one acre to a few acres or sometimes, in greenhouses also.
Co-operative Farming is a system in which farmers pool their resources for more efficient and profitable farming.
Collective farming is based on social ownership of the means of production and collective labour.
A new model of farming named ‘Kolkhoz’ was introduced in the erstwhile Soviet Union, to boost the agriculture production.
The extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, usually from an ore, is known as mining. Mining is of two types: surface and underground mining. Several countries of Africa and few of South America and Asia have over fifty per cent of the earnings from minerals alone.