What Is a One-Crop Economy?

A one-crop economy is an economy where income generation relies solely on the production and sale of one agricultural crop. Monocropping is the agricultural practice of a one-crop economy.

A crop is a cultivated plant or agricultural product such as a grain, fruit or vegetable. Farmers harvest crops to be used for consumption, fuel, medicine and a variety of other needs.

A one-crop economy can indicate several different things. One may be that the land is not suitable for growing other crops and is thereby dependent on that one crop as a source of income for the community. Another is a conscious decision to use monocropping as part of a political and economic strategic plan. This is common in market economies that produce and sell other goods while subsidizing agriculture.

Sustaining a one-crop economy can be very efficient, allowing for specialization in equipment and crop production while minimizing costs. On the other hand, monocropping often leads to soil depletion, deforestation and the spill over effect of using carcinogenic pesticides and artificial fertilizers.

Monocropping also leads to over dependence, as was the case during the potato famine of Ireland in 1845 to 1849 when a single crop could not feed the entire population.