Types of Agri-Inputs

14 November 2018

In order to maximize yield, it’s necessary for farmers to aid their harvest with agricultural inputs, especially smallholder farmers. Agricultural inputs are any external source put into soil that can help a farmer’s upcoming yield. They can be anything from high-quality seeds to high-tech tractors. Simply put, they’re any resource you use to increase your crop’s success.

Key farmer for hot pepper Daw Kyi Lwin adjusts her netting on her nursery near Heho, Myanmar, January 21, 2017. Image: Marlies Wessels

The types of agricultural inputs are endless but there are two categories that we separate all agricultural inputs into; consumable inputs and capital inputs. Consumable inputs are your everyday commonly used agricultural inputs for smallholder farmers - seeds, fertilizers, insecticides, etc. Consumable inputs are usually natural materials that will be “consumed” by the crops. Capital inputs, on the other hand, are materials such as tractors and trellising materials that are often a larger investment. 

These materials are necessary to smallholder and larger farmers alike. To set things straight, we’ve developed a guide to the various types of agricultural inputs. 

Here is everything you need to know about the types of agricultural inputs: 

Consumable Inputs

As we stated before, consumable inputs are the types of inputs that will be consumed naturally by the crops. The most commonly used consumable inputs are: 

  • High-quality seeds 
  • Soil 
  • Fertilizers 
  • Insecticides 
  • Pesticides 
  • Insect Traps
  • Straw 
  • Hay
  • Water 

Consumable inputs are the most basic yet necessary aids to smallholder farmers’ harvest. Pesticides and insecticides are crucial to deter pests. Mulch can act as a deterrent against weed growth. And don’t forget about the importance of high-quality seeds. High-quality seeds are a necessity for ensuring healthy crops from the very beginning. 

Capital Inputs 

Capital inputs are agri-inputs that are often mechanical and more technologically advanced. These agricultural inputs cannot be consumed by the crops themselves. Capital inputs are necessarily thought of as tools for larger farms, but that’s not completely true. There are plenty of agri-inputs that can aid both larger farms and smallholder farmers alike such as reflective mulches and trellising materials.

Some other common forms of capital inputs are: 

  • Nylon netting 
  • Stakes 
  • Tractors 
  • Plows 
  • Irrigation systems 

Capital inputs such as tractors and plows are not commonly used by smallholder farmers since they are such a large investment. We recommend smallholder farmers utilize capital inputs like nylon netting and reflective mulches to aid their yield. 

Eco-Friendly Agri-Inputs

Certain types of agricultural inputs are greener than others. And with global warming rapidly advancing, we recommend that every farmer attempts to be as sustainable as possible. We understand that sustainable farming is often a challenge for smallholder farmers since they have limited resources, but it’s not impossible. 

Smallholder farmers can be eco-friendly by incorporating an Integrated Pest Management approach into their daily routine. An Integrated Pest Management approach utilizes both organic and non-organic materials to deter pests. By finding the precise balance between the two, smallholder farmers can use sustainable farming methods while ensuring a high yield.  

How East-West Seeds Advances Sustainability of Agri-Inputs 

For years East-West Seeds has collaborated with a pool of smallholder farmers to advance and create sustainable options for agricultural inputs. These farmers are now highly-skilled in utilizing sustainable agri-inputs such as net trellising, substrates, fertilizers, tractor operation, and other various agri-inputs. 

East-West Seeds is dedicated to making sure that every smallholder farmer has the necessary resources and knowledge about agri-inputs to ensure a sustainable crop year-in and year-out. 

From water to high-tech tractors, agri-inputs are essential to having a successful harvest every year. We hope you have a solid understanding of the various types of agricultural inputs by now. For more information and tips on sustainable farming, check out our various crop guides.