8 Major Agricultural Development Problems in Nigeria

Agricultural Development Problems In Nigeria
Agricultural Development Problems In Nigeria

Agricultural development problems is no news to people in the sector. The agricultural sector in Nigeria over the years has been faced with many problems and challenges.

Despite the country’s vast natural and land resources coupled with favourable weather conditions, the sector is still under developed or utilized.

Many governments have tried proffering solutions to these problems but none has been sustainable. This can be attributed to lack of continuity in government, selfishness and corruption.

When a problem is discovered, it is supposed to be spearheaded by someone in the sector but rather, we put a square peg in a round hole.

Agricultural development problems are often times not peculiar to the agricultural sector alone. It cuts across other sectors of the economy.

The agricultural development problems begins from the grassroot, rural communities to the policy makers as well as the market board. The problems are not peculiar to Nigeria alone but to other African countries.

The discovery of crude oil has further deepen the neglect being experienced by the sector. agricultural development problems can be classified under the following but are not limited to them.

8 Major Agricultural Development Problems In Nigeria
8 Major Agricultural Development Problems In Nigeria

1. Inadequate Land And Land Tenure System

Nigeria is blessed with land but no one owns the land. Land resources is communally or government owned making it unavailable for interested farmers and investors.

There are many of such land that are not been put into use and left fallow. Such lands should be made available for agricultural purposes.

The land use act of 1978 had proffered a solution to this problem but it is not been enforced. The few investors in agriculture do not have access to the land or they are charged ridiculous rates for a specific time frame.

2. Inadequate Basic Amenities

This is a broad problem as it affects all factors of agricultural production from pre-planting stage to weeding, harvesting and distribution to the end-users. Basic amenities such as portable water, electricity, schools, health care facilities, good road network etc. are all deficient in the country especially in the rural areas.

The unavailability of these amenities have increased the rural-urban migration reducing the population of farmers in rural communities.

Many farm settlements even close to the cities do not have the luxury of social amenities and are fast becoming desolate. The transportation of raw food produce from the farms to markets and factories are difficult as the roads are bad and inaccessible.

Transportation As One of Agricultural Development Problems

Lack of good road network between farms and markets have adverse consequences on development of agriculture. Road networks include water transportation as well as rail tracks.

These are the major ways of getting farm produce and water products such as shrimps, fishes etc. to consumers.

Farmers rely on bikes, lorries, animals etc. for transportation and due to the dilapidated state of roads, spend days even weeks.

Along the way, they incur loss of these produce as they get spoilt especially fruits and vegetables which are best consumed raw.

The government should provide these basic social amenities in the rural communities to reduce rural-urban migration and ease the lives of farmers.

There should also be communal cooperation in ensuring the sustainability of these amenities.

8 Major Agricultural Development Problems In Nigeria
Bad Road Network, a major problem

Literacy Of Farmers As One of Agricultural Development Problems

Many farmers are located in rural communities and are majorly illiterates. Their ability to read and write is poor even though they have vast knowledge in their farming operations.

When equipment is even available, many of them do not know how to operate them or are interested in using them. Thus, rural farmers need basic education and communication skill.

Adult literacy classes can be organized by government, agricultural organizations and private individuals to educate farmers.

The farmers should be taught how to operate machines and the importance of using them. They also need to be taught on farming techniques, usage of herbicides, fertilizers and others.

3. Inadequate Funding As One of Agricultural Development Problems

Many farmers find it difficult to access loans and funds to expand their farming activities. The poor financial status of many rural and small scale farmers limit their ability to produce standard products.

They are deprived of modern farming equipment, improved and viable seeds, herbicides etc.

The interest being charged by commercial banks are usually exorbitant and this discourages farmers from borrowing.

The loan apps and other money sharks don’t help either leaving the farmers poorer than they were before borrowing.

Agricultural development banks should make funds more available to farmers through cooperative societies of the farmers for proper monitoring.

These loans should be low interest rate and given according to the capacity of the farming operations. Government should also subsidize agricultural inputs and machineries.

4. Poor Storage and Processing Facilities

Over 40% of farm produce when care is not taken are often wasted in the rural communities. Poor storage facilities and lack of information cum research on preservation of farm produce is a major source of concern.

The fear to avoid wastage forces farmers to dispose of their produce at ridiculous prices and incurring loss.

Research facilities should ensure that they make their findings known to farmers on various methods of preserving farm produce as well as processing them into finer products. Modern equipment should be made available for farmers use either free or charged at a low price.

These would further boost food supply all through the year and also reduce waste.

There should be public-private partnership to provide storage facilities, equipment and processing techniques for farmers. Corporate bodies can include it as a corporate social responsibility. Farmers can also be taught on how to use modern techniques and equipment.

8 Major Agricultural Development Problems In Nigeria
Poor Storage Causing Wastage

5. Poor and stale Markets As One of Agricultural Development Problems

Many of Nigeria’s agricultural produce when processed right, can stand the international market and provide foreign exchange. In the past, this sector was Nigeria’s major source of livelihood until the advent of oil.

The cocoa house and the Odua group was all possible with returns on agricultural produce been exported.

The lack of infrastructures again come into play here as the farmers are restricted to selling in local markets with very few mechanized farmers exporting their products on the international market place.

Another problem here are some investors who due to the illiteracy of farmers, buy from them at ridiculous prices and export to other countries ripping the farmers off.

Investors are free to export but not by ripping these farmers off. The farmers can be given more by making processing equipment available in the farms and teaching them how to use them.

The government can put policies in place to address this through marketing board and farmers’ welfare schemes.

6. Pests And Diseases As One of Agricultural Development Problems

Planting is seasonal no doubt but so is the pests and diseases affecting each produce. Pests are disease causing organisms which affect plants, create havoc and loss of investment.

They reduce the quality and viability of produce, income for farmers and increase the cost of production.

The use and availability of pest control and other agro-chemicals is not favourable especially to small scale or rural farmers.

They should be made available to farmers at subsidized rates with instructions spelt out to the farmers. Research farms can also make available pest and disease resistant seed varieties to farmers.

All agricultural inputs and agrochemicals should be easily accessible and affordable to farmers regardless of their locations.

This should also apply to tractors and other heavy farm equipment.

Agricultural Development Problems in Nigeria
Pest and Diseases, a major challenge to peasant farmers

7. Government Policies As One of Agricultural Development Problems

In Africa, there is usually no continuity of government policies even when the parties involved are from the same political party. This makes the sector to be moving in circles. Many of the policies are also not considerate of peasant farmers.

The government bodies in charge of these policies should recognize and pay adequate care to the needs of the peasant farmers.

Agricultural policies should be driven home through literacy and advocacy to farmers whether peasant or large scale.

Government should also ensure the policies are followed through and implemented. It should not just be paperwork.

8. Natural Disasters And Weather Conditions As One of Agricultural Development Problems

Some regions are best known for certain crops and produce while others strive to meet up. The weather condition of a place can have adverse effect on the farming activities of such region.

Harsh conditions such as drought and water logging are detrimental to the productivity of crops and sometimes, it cannot be controlled.

Other activities that affects crop production include flooding, erosion, bush burning, deforestation among others.

Farmers are advised to plant cover crops, employ crop rotation method and reduce bush burning.

Agricultural Development Problems in Nigeria
Agricultural Development Problems in Nigeria

Government should also encourage insurance policies and provide funds for farmers who are genuinely affected by natural disasters such as flooding, erosions and fire.

Conclusion

Agricultural challenges facing the country are enormous but these are the major categories.

These problems are not insurmountable, it only calls for genuine approach to solving them regardless of anyone’s purse. Private public participation should also be encouraged.

Agricultural Development Problems In Nigeria
Agricultural Development Problems In Nigeria

Corruption and the need to favour any region over others is not the way to go in resolving these agricultural development problems.

A holistic approach, not biased policies can bring back the agricultural sector. The sector will become better, bring in foreign earnings and resuscitate the failing economy.

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