Agriculture is the cultivation of crops and the rearing of animals for domestic use or for commercial purposes. Agriculture in Nigeria has been seen as a way of creating jobs and promoting the Nigerian economy.
The Trends Of Agriculture In Nigeria
Before the advent of oil operations in Nigeria, Nigeria was an agro based economy. Nigeria was among the largest producers of palm nuts in the planet. Nigeria then was beating the current Malaysia which is now a palm producing giant in the production of palm trees. The Nigerian government has been advised to consider a multi economic system.
This multi economic system should be made up of both oil and agriculture. The oil and gas sector is the major drive of the Nigerian economy unlike earlier. However agriculture can also be a major driver of the Nigerian economy. Nigeria has the potential to become an agricultural giant in global agriculture if only they pay attention to the country’s vast agricultural capacities.
An agro based economy is a sure way of promoting the economy of any country. In this article, I will discuss the trends of agriculture in Nigeria and how agriculture can be enhanced in Nigeria. There are many factors that affect agriculture in Nigeria. These factors can adjusted by both the government and private sector.
The Factors Area of Agriculture in Nigeria Listed Below
a) Employment opportunity: Agriculture offers many employment opportunities
b) Food provision: Agriculture has enhanced the provision of food and raw materials to the Nigerian population.
c) Rural urban migration: The rate of rural urban migration has been reduced by agriculture. This have helped to decongest the urban areas.
d) Foreign Exchange: The exploration of agricultural products promote foreign exchange.
e) Promotion of the Nigerian economy: Agriculture has a direct impact in promoting the economy of Nigeria.
f) Industrialization: Agriculture have helped to industrialise many parts of the country. Some areas in Nigeria have grown because of the intense agricultural practices in those areas. Agriculture has brought industrialisation into many communities.
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Problems of agriculture in Nigeria
a) Peasant production system: This have caused low productivity unlike what will be obtained in large scale production. Agriculture is not a profession for only peasant farmers, it is a profession for everybody. Some Nigerians don’t know this. Agriculture should not be left only for peasants since it is something for everybody.
b) Constraints for small scale farmers: These small scale farmers face problems like poor infrastructure, inadequate market access, environmental and land degradation, inefficient research and extension services.
c) Poor transportation: Transportation promote movement of goods from one place to another. Poor transportation hamper this process. The construction of better roads will help the transportation of products.
d) Inefficient storage: There is need for an efficient and safe storage system that can ensure constant supply of agricultural commodities. Due to inefficient agricultural storage and processing facilities, a significant amount of products that are harvested in Nigeria perish.
c) Low infrastructure: Health and educational facilities, portable water, electricity and communication systems are necessary for an improved agricultural system.
Solutions to agriculture in Nigeria
a) Agric Education: The introduction of free and affordable modern agricultural programs is part of a solution to the problems of the country. Educational programs can enable the organization of local farmers into cooperative associations.
b) Mechanisation of agriculture: This is also one of the solutions to agriculture in Nigeria. Farm mechanisation is still very low in Nigeria compared to what is available in American and European countries. Mechanisation will improve productivity.
c) Promotion of organic agriculture: Organic methods of farming is less expensive and offers better income and food for all sizes of rural farmers. It is more environmental friendly.
d) Environmental Protection Policies: Overgrazing by Fulani herdsmen have negative effects in tropical agriculture. Cows however are needed in Nigeria and efforts should be made t balance the rearing of animals with the protection of the environment and crops.
e) Funds: The promotion of rural farming by granting subsidies, funds, loans to farmers should be encouraged. Another way of funding agricultural production is to provide farmers with simple agricultural machines and hybrid seeds at a subsidized rate. These funds should be ensured to reach the targeted farmers.
f) Renewable Energy: The application of Do- It- Yourself or Low- Cost Renewable energy methods like wind power or solar is one of the solutions to Nigeria’s agricultural system. A solar or small wind electricity generator can boost production and provide more jobs to the Nigerian people.
g) Improved technical provisions: There is need to improve the technical capacity of the Nigerian people. Provision of technical facilities and systems will have better impact in agriculture. This will enable Nigerians to join their colleagues in other parts of the world who have used technical methods to improve their production.
h) Cooperative farming: The formation of cooperative societies should be encouraged. This will enable farmers to interact better with the government since the government will reach more farmers through cooperative societies than otherwise.
i) Better infrastructures: Good roads, house, storage facilities are ways of improving agriculture in Nigeria. Better infrastructures are needed in order to ensure proper mechanisation, storage and transportation.
j) Promotion of research and extension services: More research and extension centres should be built within the rural areas in order to find out the best methods to be applied in these areas.
k) Promotion of medicine for animals: Medicine for animals needs a lot of improvement in Nigeria. This area of agriculture promote the health of animals that are reared in Nigeria. Medicine plays an integral role in animal production. Promotion of this area of agriculture will promote animal productivity.
l) Creation of awareness campaigns: In local communities, more awareness strategies should be carried out for farmers in the rural areas to know about available options by the government and ways that can be used to improve agriculture in the rural areas.
These campaigns are necessary to make farmers more aware of the latest trends in agriculture. Awareness that did not get to the rural communities is incomplete.
Some farmers are not aware of the policies made by the government to enhance their production. Creation of awareness campaigns will enable these farmers to participate in these government programs.