In this article, we take a look at the problems/challenges of agriculture in Nigeria. These factors are responsible for the poor performance of the agricultural sector in Nigeria.
The term ‘agriculture’ is the practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products.
Nigeria has an abundance of fertile soil along with a climate suitable for agriculture. There is also a supply of human resources that could benefit from having the agricultural sector to work in. However, Nigeria, with her vast and rich agricultural soil is not among the list of agriculturally developed countries of the world. What are the reasons for this?
This is a major problem of agriculture in Nigeria. Indeed, corruption is (abuse of public power for private benefit) which includes bribery, fraud, embezzlement, nepotism, favoritism, money laundering, other related offenses have been one of the most significant reasons for low agricultural output in Nigeria.
Corrupt practices, such as inflation of government contracts, bribery and embezzlement of public funds have been the order of the day in the agricultural sector like any other government business in Nigeria.
Corruption alone is gulping almost all money allocated to the agricultural sector and that is why our agriculture is suffering the set back we are currently facing. Money meant for agricultural research is often diverted into private pockets by public office holders, etc.
There is low public spending on agriculture in the country. For some time now, Nigeria has been investing just 2 percent of the country’s national budget on agriculture annually.
This is comparable to small country like Burkina Faso which invest 10 % and most Asian nations invest 16% of their national budget into agricultural sector. This shows that the Nigerian Government is doing little to improve agricultural output of the nation.
Low budgetary spending is a problem of agriculture in Nigeria that needs to be addressed by the federal government if the nation must attain food security.
This is related to corruption; and is also a major problem of agriculture in Nigeria. Generally, public office holders in Nigeria mismanage and misappropriate resources due to lack of accountability. This problem equally affects the agricultural sub-sector of the economy.
Another major problem of agriculture in Nigeria is low agricultural mechanization. Agriculture in Nigeria is still left in the hands of mostly illiterate and poor farmers who employ crude method of farm implements such as the use of hoes, cutlasses etc for cultivation, tilling and general farming.
The use of obsolete harvesting instruments is a problem of agriculture in Nigeria. Because of the neglect of agriculture by the government coupled with lack of capital, most farmers in Nigeria still use old and crude method of manual harvesting implements. These crude implements reduce agricultural productivity due to manual application.
These are two major challenges/problems of agriculture in Nigeria. Due to illiteracy and ignorance of the farmers in Nigeria, they refuse to adapt improved methods of cultivation for improved yield. For instance, when improved seeds and seedlings are provided to farmer, majority of the farmers because of ignorance reject the use of such improved seedling sometimes on flimsy excuse that their soil may not adapt to it or that the taste of the crop after harvesting is not always as good as the ones that they has been planting hitherto.
This is a major problem of agriculture in Nigeria; actually, this factor alone is responsible for the drastic decline in agricultural output in the country after the discovery of crude oil in commercial amounts.
The discovery of crude oil in Nigeria in the late 1950s made the government at all levels to abandon the agricultural sub-sector of the economy. This neglect as the result of the oil discovery is contributing immensely to the low output of agriculture in Nigeria.
This neglect manifested in various forms; such as poor funding, low premium on subsidizing of organic fertilizer, neglect of rural communities where agriculture thrive.
Variability/change in climatic factors largely affects agriculture in Nigeria because our agriculture in rain-fed.
Farmers in Nigeria depend majorly on the natural God-given weather conditions. The consequence of this is that farmers not only wait until rainy season before planting crops but also completely depend on the sufficiency of the rain to take the crops to yielding stage. Sometimes the farmers may experience low yields simply because the rain is too much or because it is too small depending on the type of crop that a particular farmer may plant.
The Nigerian government has been unable to build facilities for irrigation farming across the country for dry season farming particularly. The end product of this neglect is food insecurity in Nigeria. In Nigeria, immediately dry season sets in, new crops seize in the market and or become so scarce and costly. This situation is indeed a great and challenge to food security in Nigeria.
This is a major problem of agriculture in Nigeria. Farmers in Nigeria encounter several challenges in securing loan for their agricultural production. Most of the credit facilities available are mostly from the Federal Government through the agricultural banks which most times carry conditions the farmers are unable to meet.
Due to corruption, agricultural banks had in the past, given agricultural loans to civil and public servants who are not farmers thereby compromising the loan.
Pest and rodents attack on crops constitute another problem against the viability of agriculture in Nigeria.
First, there is need for the federal government to as allocate higher proportion of the national annual budget to agriculture in order to boast agricultural production.
Second, there is need for the federal government to encourage the local farmers that presently constitutes the largest chunk of agricultural production in the country through direct supply of fertilizers, improved seedlings, etc.
There is need for agricultural extension workers to create awareness to farmers on the advantages of improved seedlings and how to use them
There is need for government to grant the local farmers agricultural credit and ensuring that traditional rulers surety the loans to guarantee loan repayment.
There is the need to resuscitate agricultural marketing board to set and determine price of agricultural products in order to boost agriculture and encourage more people particularly the capitalist to go into large scale, mechanized agriculture
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