What are Primary Economic Activities?

The Primary economic activities Of an established and organized society are those that exploit and make use of the raw material granted by natural resources of different kinds.

The primary economic sector is the beginning of a process of human intervention in the manufacture of later products.

Tractor loading cereal grains, one of the bases of the agro-export economy. Agriculture is a primary economic activity.

Primary economic activities lay the foundations of production, distribution and subsistence in society, by encompassing trades and practices that mainly ensure food production, as well as other practices that guarantee the continuity of human activities, such as forestry or mineral exploitation.

The main economic activities adhered to the primary sector are agriculture, livestock, hunting, fishing and other forms of animal and vegetable cultivation; Mining and logging.

This primary sector is also known as the extraction sector, because all the work is in making the product that nature provides.

The control and proper functioning of these activities guarantee the economic and social development of an organized territory. It serves as a forecast to know the level of development of one nation against others.

Main primary economic activities


Since man discovered the potential of cultivating and working the land to ensure both subsistence and community development, agriculture has been a practice present for centuries.

The products of the earth were the first to be domesticated by different cultures, and to a greater or lesser degree, today they continue to represent one of the activities of greater productive and commercial value in some nations.

In most countries agriculture is industrialized, resulting in a mass production of direct material for consumption, or for its subsequent transformation into processed products.

Agriculture functions as a basis for the distribution and satisfaction of a country's food demand. Once fulfilled, the agricultural products can serve for the export and thus to generate income to the producing nation.

The globalized market has re-emphasized the agricultural potential through the incentive, production and export of unique products of each nation to be commercialized in the rest of the world.

Technological advances and the evolution of the sciences around agricultural control and cultivation have also provided facilities to guarantee productions that do not alter the national economic apparatuses.

Cattle raising

Like agriculture, the proteinic support provided by livestock, and the diversification of its practices and products, have been essential for the economic and social development of a region or nation.

It is considered an activity closely related to agriculture, since both can be present in the same physical space, although they have different techniques and approaches.

Like all other activities in the primary sector, including secondary and tertiary sectors, livestock production is at an industrialized stage, guaranteeing massive production of products and raw materials.

The most exploited cattle in the world are cattle, sheep and pigs (cattle, sheep and pigs, respectively), although each nation has currently sought to exploit the unique qualities of its animal products, such as Argentina And Uruguay, in the case of South America.

The breeding and exploitation of poultry such as chickens, chickens and geese can be classified, in some cases, as part of the general livestock industry; In the same way with the exploitation of small animals and rodents for the consumption, like the rabbits.

However, the management of these species for trade also has its own legal denominations, which are also fundamental to complement the effects of livestock, such as poultry and rabbits, respectively.

Hunting and fishing

These were activities that at one point were crucial to human survival. Before the ignorance and inability to domesticate the animals that faced him, the man had to resort to the capture and ingestion of terrestrial and aquatic animals.

At present, hunting is still practiced in much of the world, but more as a sporting and recreational activity than as a fundamental office for the economic development of a nation.

In modern society, fishing has met with a multitude of detractors who have advocated for its abolition, because of its cruel condition and without more productive objective than to cause the death of an animal.

Poaching is one example of how this practice can be continued, whether illegally, to ensure the exploitation of unique materials that only certain species can offer.

In contrast, fishing has found a high level of industrialization, and today has a large market around the world.

This has enabled nations to exploit the fisheries sector as an alternative to complement domestic supply and expand options on their export products.

Currently, one of the continents where fishing has been exploited exponentially has been Asia, with a workforce representation of almost 90% of all fishermen employed worldwide, according to FAO reports.


It is another of the fundamental activities of the primary sector, with the only difference being that it is not oriented towards sustenance and food guarantee, but towards the extraction of minerals and raw material that, after being processor, allow to facilitate the activities of the man in society.

It is estimated that the mining process is present in the life of man since he learned to manufacture tools to ensure their survival.

The extraction of resources from the soil and subsoil was a practice accustomed by many cultures, although in several cases the materials served more ornamental than functional purposes.

Today the mining industry continues to exploit the mineral resources of the planet through methods that allow reaching corners and extract to the last possible gram.

Mining can be diversified in terms of extraction of high value resources (great economic potential, but little functional or productive value), and resources that serve to give continuity to the operation of other processes, such as coal, for example.


  1. Fisher, A. G. (1939). Production, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. Economic Record , 24-38.
  2. Gillis, M., Perkins, D.H., Roemer, M., & Snodgrass, D.R. (1992). Economics of Development. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
  3. Kenessey, Z. (1987). The Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and Quaternary Sectors of the Economy. Income and Wealth , 359-385.
  4. Yáñez, A. R., & Teruel, A. M. (1997). Agrarian economy. EDITUM.

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