What Is a Primary Economic Activity?

Elliott Brown/CC-BY 2.0

A primary economic activity involves sourcing or extracting natural resources from the land or bodies of water. Natural resources are those that occur naturally and are not manmade.

Economic activity produces consumer goods or provides services. Examples of primary economic activities include these examples:

  • Commercial fishing
  • Farming – growing crops (arable farming) or animal husbandry (pastoral farming)
  • Quarrying – extracting sand or gravel
  • Mining of minerals, oil and gas extraction, and production
  • Harvesting materials that grow in the wild, such as peat moss
  • Forestry and logging
  • Irrigation
  • Fish farming or aquaculture

Other types of economic activities are classified as secondary, tertiary or quaternary.