Difference between Subsistence and Commercial Farming

Based on the geographical conditions, level of technology, the demand for products, and workers required, there are two major classifications of farming, i.e. subsistence farming and commercial farming. In subsistence farming, the farmer is involved in the production of crops for local consumption. Subsistence Agriculture is the production of food primarily for consumption by the farmer’s family. It is usually found in less developed countries, and the production of food is for the farmer’s immediate family.

Commercial farming, as it is evident from the name, it is a farming practice in which the farmer and other laborers are involved in the production of crops, for commercial purposes. Commercial Agriculture is the production of cash crops primarily for sale off the farm. It is usually found in more developed countries, and the crops are grown in huge quantities to support entire populations for a profit.

In subsistence farming, traditional methods of cultivation are used, whereas machines are used for the purpose of cultivating the land, in commercial farming.

Difference between Subsistence and Commercial Farming


  • The farming practice in which crops are raised for personal consumption is known as subsistence farming.
  • The type of agriculture, wherein crop growing and livestock rearing is performed, to fulfill the needs of the farmer and his family, is called subsistence farming.
  • Due to the high labor inputs are required in subsistence farming, it is a labor-intensive technique.
  • To increase productivity, manure is added to the soil, in subsistence farming.
  • In this farming, there is less use of modern agricultural techniques and methods, the holding size is small and manual labors, which can be the family members of the farmers, help in the process of crop production. The output produced is primarily used for local consumption, with little to no surplus trade.
  • In subsistence farming, mainly food grains like wheat and rice, fruits and vegetables are grown.


  • The farming practice, in which the farmer grows crops for the purpose of trade, is called commercial farming.
  • Commercial Farming or otherwise called agribusiness is a farming method in which the crops are raised, and cattle are reared with the aim of selling the produce in the market, so as to earn money.
  • In commercial farming, huge capital investment is required, and that is why it is a capital-intensive technique.
  • in commercial farming, the yield of crops can be increased by high doses of modern inputs, i.e. high yielding a variety of seeds, fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, and so forth.
  • In this type of agriculture, a huge amount of capital is invested, and crops are grown on a large scale in huge farms, with the use of modern technology, machines, irrigation methods, and chemical fertilizers.
  • In commercial farming mainly cash crops and cereals are grown.


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