Problems of Agriculture in Nigeria – Agriculture plays a great role in the economic development of a country. In a developing country such as Nigeria, the Agricultural sector plays a role in employment generation and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Considering its impact in the economic growth of the nation, this sector needs to grow rapidly to supply relatively cheap raw materials to the agroallied manufacturing sector. This will inturn boosts their growth and foreign exchange earnings. Agricultural sector also is important in supplying relatively cheap products to the urban industrial sector.
However, in Nigeria and West Africa at large, the Agricultural sector has faced a lot of challenges. The contribution of Agriculture to the economy of Nigeria has made it imperative to study and address the problems of Agricultural development in Nigeria. Here, a lot of factors are discussed with its solutions for the sector to play a dynamic role in the development of Nigeria’s economy.
Problems of Agriculture in Nigeria and Solutions
1. Land Tenure Issues
Not only in Nigeria, but also in West Africa, the land Tenure Issues are widely recognized as a major constraint in Agricultural development and transformation. For instance, in the North the land tenure system is characterized by feudal system while in the south, it is characterized by family ownership. This form of land tenure system being practiced in the South gives rise to land fragmentation. Every member of a family cultivates a small plot of land at a time. As time goes on, the plots of land are inherited by the children who may share the land into fragments. This method gives rise to continuous farming on the same piece of land thereby making the land lose its fertility. It is not easy to acquire large hectares of land for commercial Agriculture in such an instance.
Most of the farmers in Nigeria with little plots of land do not lease their lands for long term use because they are only concerned in growing crops for their family consumption. The grow annual crops such as grains, tubers, vegetables rather than fruit crops having long term yield. Despite the land UseAct of 1980 in Nigeria, which aims at alleviating this constraint by vesting land ownership in the state, to have the right to issue certificate of occupancy to a land holder who can use and dispose of the land without interference from the family or the community, this practice still persists.
Solution; The government should implement a functional land use reform which objective will be to facilitate the acquisition of appropriate farmland sizes for Agriculture. Various categories of investors should be encouraged to make use of such lands for Agricultural output expansion and to promote long term investment in the sector. Such right for land occupancy should prohibit investors and other certified land holders from using the land for other purposes not related to Agriculture.
2. The Use of Primitive Low Technology
Most Nigerian farmers still prefers to make use of primitive tools in farming. Peasant farmers dominates the Agricultural sector in Nigeria. They make use of hoes, cutlasses and relies on manual labor for bush clearing and making ridges for planting. This gives rise to low productivity and output beyond family requirements. Problems that emanates from the use of such tools includes; wastage after harvest because of lack of storage facilities, problems of pests and disease infestation, problem of packaging and semi-processing for marketing. The factors that largely contributes to the use of primitive technology includes; lack of finance, illiteracy and lack of proper training.
Solution; Farmers should be introduced to a lot of technological progress in Agriculture and be encouraged to take up such progress. The use of mechanized Agriculture will maximize output and minimize wastage. Where the farmers cannot get some of those equipments due to financial constraints, the government should assist in making them available. This will also make more people to venture into Agriculture.
3. Inadequate Government Support
It is unfortunate to note that the farmers in Nigeria are not getting adequate support from the government. Government Support to farmers was mainly on research and promotion of cash crops because of its contribution to foreign exchange. This does not add value or growth to the sector. A lot of government policies such as issuing credits to farmers at affordable interest rate, provision of infrastructures, manpower development, establishment of people’s banks and commercial banks etc were not properly implemented.
Solution; The government should support farmers in the nation by providing effective infrastructure, facilitation of credit to the sector, subsidies consistent with market equilibrium.
4. Political Instability and Insecurity
In Nigeria today, political instability and Insecurity has made a lot of farmers to abandon their farms. The continued political unrest, ethnic hostilities and wars is a major hindrance to Agricultural development in Nigeria. This unrest demoralizes investors from investing in Agriculture in the Country.
Solution; The government should provide security to life and property. Their should be genuine governance which will ensure justice, equitable income distribution, poverty eradication as these will arrest political Instability and Insecurity.
5. Poor Irrigation and improper water resource management
Poor Irrigation facilities forces farmers to abandon their farms to seek for greener pastures in the urban areas. Nigeria like most Sub-saharan African countries has a long dry season. Time wasted in waiting for unpredictable rainfall can be used for farming activities if irrigation and proper water resource management are in place.
Solution; Given that irrigation permits proper control of water to maximize yield, the nation ought to seek the least cost of irrigation services. Areas threatened by deforestation should have water resources which will reaforestate it.
Problems of Agriculture in Nigeria and Solutions will act as a guide towards making farming more lucrative and beneficial to the economy of the nation. All hands should be on deck to make sure that Agricultural sector in Nigeria is uplifted.