The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines a farming system as a group of farms that have similar resource bases, enterprise patterns, household livelihoods, and constraints, and for which similar development strategies and interventions would be appropriate.
Types of farming systems in Nigeria depend on the scale at which the analysis is carried out, a farming system can be made up of a few dozen or even millions of household units.
CRITERIA USED IN THE CLASSIFICATION OF THE TYPES OF FARMING SYSTEMS IN NIGERIA
The criteria used for the classification of farming systems employed in developing areas of the world are based on two broad conditions.
- The availability of natural resources such as water, land, grazing areas, forest, and climate.
- The main pattern of farm activities carried out as well as livelihoods of component households. The field crops planted, livestock, trees, aquaculture, hunting and gathering, processing, and off-farm activities are considered. The main technologies used are also considered and this determines the intensity of production and integration of crops, livestock, and other activities.
TYPES OF FARMING SYSTEMS IN NIGERIA
- IRRIGATED FARMING SYSTEM
- TREE-CROP FARMING SYSTEM
- ROOT CROP FARMING SYSTEM
- MIXED FARMING SYSTEM
- CROP ROTATION SYSTEM
- URBAN FARMING SYSTEM
TYPES OF FARMING SYSTEMS IN NIGERIA AND USES
1. IRRIGATED FARMING SYSTEM
An irrigation farming system is a system of supplying water to farming fields that lack the sufficient moisture necessary for crop growth. This system increases the water content in the root layer of soil in order to increase soil fertility and promote healthy crop growth. Irrigation can be surface or subsurface.
- Irrigation makes the cultivation of cash crops possible ensuring good financial returns to farmers. Cash crops such as sugarcane and potato survive well with this system.
- Groundwater storage is improved as water lost to seepage increases groundwater storage.
- It allows the growth of crops in periods when rainfall is inadequate.
- Irrigation ensures the moisture content of the soil is maintained. This allows for the proper germination of seeds.
- The growth of plant roots is aided by irrigation.
- Irrigation aids mineral nutrients absorption by plants from the soil.
2. TREE-CROP FARMING SYSTEM
This system is based on the production of industrial tree crops such as cocoa, coffee, oil palm, and rubber. After these industrial tree crops are planted, food crops are planted between them and are grown mainly for subsistence. Also, few animals are also raised in addition to the planted trees and crops.
- Used to increase the profit of farmers.
- Farmers save costs as their food supply is derived from the farm.
- The animals also provide organic manure which serves as fertilizer.
3. ROOT CROP FARMING SYSTEM
This farming system has proven to be of high yield percentage in the country. Cultivation of crops with this system follows a very long process but its main advantage is that if a drought happens, the yield will not be affected. This system ensures that the livelihoods of the local population are protected.
- This system is used in areas that are prone to drought to reduce the risk of farmers losing their investment. The crops planted have deep roots hence they reach way down to get their nutrients ensuring they survive where shallow-rooted crops will fail
4. MIXED FARMING SYSTEM
The mixed farming system involves the use of one farmland for two or more independent agricultural activities. A common example of mixed farming is the combination of crop farming with livestock farming. This is the most common farming system in Nigeria. Mixed farms are systems that consist of different parts, which together should act as a whole. In Northern Nigeria, mixed farming is very popular amongst farmers who rear cattle. It is the norm for these farmers to supplement their livestock farming with crop cultivation. The aim of this system is to ensure that livestock doesn’t depend on external sources for food.
Several heads of cattle are kept for plowing the land, sourcing for milk, manure, payment of dowry, savings, and emergency sale. People who practice this system usually are permanently resident in villages, but part of their cattle herds may continue to migrate seasonally in the care of herd boys. This system is however susceptible to drought leading to crop failure, weak animals, and distress sale of assets.
- This system ensures that the fields are constantly in production all year round.
- Organic manure in the form of animal droppings ensures that the fields continue to be fertile every planting season.
- Both farming activities are mutually beneficial to each other much to the farmers’ delight.
- The profit of the farmer from the field is greatly increased due to increased activity.
- Farming cost is reduced as the crops serve as feed for the animals while the animals supply the crops with nutrients through their droppings. All these reduce the running cost of the farm.
- The mixed farming system leads to the recycling of waste products thereby reducing the emission of harmful greenhouse gases either directly or indirectly.
- This farming system leads to an increase in biodiversity on the farm and this reduces the risks of pest and disease outbreaks on the farm. This ensures both plants and animals stay healthy.
This system involves the planting of different crop types on a particular plot of land each season. When the yield of the plot drops, the land is allowed to follow by not planting on it for a while. When cultivation of this plat resumes, the yield will be observed to increase again.
- It helps to control erosion by improving soil stability. Rotating between deep-rooted and shallow-rooted crops each planting season keeps the soil stable.
- This system allows farmers to increase productivity by reducing or replacing fallow periods.
This farming system is practiced by farmers in urban areas of the country. It involves planting, processing, and distribution of food in cities and towns. The poor population in urban areas augment their income by cultivating vegetables and also livestock farming. Crop-livestock integration in this farming system is usually low and environmental and food quality concerns are often associated with this system.
- This system uses less space and less water for the cultivation of crops
- The system is more productive and more sustainable than many other systems
- Used to ensure availability of fresh farm products all year round
Various farming systems are employed by farmers all over the country, each with a targeted effect in mind. While some only serve to increase profit, some others are employed to ensure the land doesn’t lose its fertility.