Problems Of Agriculture in Nigeria and probable solutions – The Agricultural Sector In Nigeria is undoubtedly the highest employer of labour, employing about 70percent of the Nigerian Labour force. The Nigerian Agricultural sector has also suffered low output which has led to the massive importation of food items to feed the ever-increasing populace.
The underproductivity of this sector is experienced both in horticulture and livestock farming. However, fish farming looks a bit more promising as recently there has been marked an increase in fish farmers and awareness. After a thorough study of the agricultural sector, I can boldly affirm that most of the problems plaguing this sector in Nigeria is self-inflicted and can be improved if properly addressed.
Problems Of Agriculture in Nigeria and Solutions
POOR INFRASTRUCTURE: With the state of infrastructural decay present in all sectors of Nigeria, there has been the mass migration of able-bodied youths from rural areas where farming is largely practiced in urban areas. This has led to competition for scarce resources in urban areas while the rural areas languish in neglect. The old and feeble can only take up subsistence farming to take care of their immediate needs. Even in conditions where there is enough farm produce for sale, farmers still have to undertake the cost of transporting these goods via very bad roads to the urban areas for sale. Transportation is albeit slow and time consuming and some of the goods perish before reaching the point of sale.
DORMANT RESEARCH FACILITIES: The agricultural research institutions across the board seem to be in limbo. There is no clear-cut direction or coordination. On very few occasions where we have witnessed agricultural breakthroughs, there has been zero follow up. Most of the works end up on shelves and offices. The farmers who are supposed to be end-users of these results have nothing to work with.
EDUCATION AND MODERNIZATION: Low output in the Nigerian Agricultural sector is mainly attributed to the lack of mechanized equipment. It is almost impossible to effectively feed over 170million people by hand-hoe farming. Nigerian farmers have a high level of illiteracy and as such cannot have access to modern farming methods. Also, lack of education has made farmers stick to archaic farm practices ultimately affecting the output. It is important to note that even when some modern farming equipment is given to some farmers, they put them aside due to the inability to put the equipment to good use.
UNSERVICEABLE MACHINERY: The government oftentimes import a large number of tractors without a single service station for repair and replacement wore out parts. Any bad tractor is parked and the farmer resorts to the old way of farming
FOOD PROCESSING ISSUES: An estimated 20-40% of the yearly harvest is lost during processing. Lack of proper storage facilities makes harvested foods to be attacked by pests. Improper storage also reduces the quality of these crops.
GOVERNMENT POLICIES: Government policies up until now in the Agricultural sector have been laughable, to say the least. There has been a minimal implementation of policies to improve the sector. The fertilizer subsidy is yet to improve fertilizer availability as genuine farmers still find it difficult to access fertilizer. The importation of hybrid seedlings to boost production is also lacking. In the livestock sector, dairy production is at its lowest and is in dire need of intervention. Cows cannot produce enough milk for processing.
SOLUTIONS TO AGRICULTURAL PROBLEMS IN NIGERIA
A rapid implementation of viable solutions would ensure a turnaround of the nation’s agricultural sector.
Training of maintenance technicians would sustain the durability of mechanized farm tools.
Upgrading of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria to coordinate, supervise and implement agricultural breakthroughs to boost productivity on our farms.
Government provision of incentives to make farming attractive to able-bodied youths. The government should also improve rail and road transportation to aid bulk movement of farm produce to the point of sale.
Local manufacture of fertilizers, pesticides etc should be encouraged to boost productivity.
There should be assessed to loans at reasonable interest rates to assist investors.
Take drastic measures to curb the importation of food products. Irrigation schemes to solve the problem of unreliable rainfall
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