Problem Affecting Small Scale Farmers
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to ascertain the major problems that hiders the production activities of small scale farmers (crops and animals production) which when addressed will serve as a direct measure to food shortages and an indirect measure to the lingering problems of unemployment.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
The cost of producing food in first world countries is extremely high and land is scarce; but on the other hand, sub-Saharan Africa has enormous natural, physical and human potential. The focus of the agricultural finance donor community has shifted away from food aid and is now focused on developing smallholder farmers and establishing food security. The stage is being set for food production in Africa to gain momentum. Africa’s small farmers are unique in that they generally have access to land that is free (communally held) or can be used at a relatively low cost. This free/low cost land provides farmers with a significantly lower cost structure (Akinsuyi, 2011) Nigeria alone has a land area of 98.3 million hectares, with 74 million hectares good for farming; yet half of its arable land has not been exploited to produce crops and livestock to stem the threat of hunger and poverty through efficient production system (Opara, 2011). It is obvious that from growth point of view, opportunities exist in Africa’s agriculture sector. In Nigeria, with smallholder farmers no doubt, having a lot to benefit in a situation where there is a favourable operating environment. Smallholder farmers are the suppliers of food to the tables of Nigerians. In fact, a report has it that more than 80% of the total farmers, including medium and large ones, are smallholder farmers (Akinsuyi, 2011). They are the backbone of the Nigerian agriculture sector and deserve every support to produce more food, grow more raw materials for the agro-industrial sector and contribute in ending a food supply deficit that costs the country US$10 million in food import annually. Dambatta (2012) reports that the agricultural transformation component of the transformation agenda of the administration of President Good luck Ebele Jonathan is expected to generate at least 3.5 million jobs through the value chains of various commodities and turn agriculture into business that can create wealth for farmers. They operate at subsistence, smallholder level, with intensive agriculture being uncommon. A characteristic feature of the agricultural production system in Nigeria is that a disproportionately large fraction of the agricultural output is in the hands of these smallholder farmers whose average holding is about 1.0-3.0 hectares. According to Federal Office of Statistics (1999), smallholder farmers are farmers whose production capacity falls between 0.1 and 4.99 hectares holding. There is very limited access to modern improved technologies and their general circumstance does not always merit tangible investments in capital, inputs and labour. Agriculture sector being a major employer in Nigeria not-withstanding yet provides a decreasing contribution to National Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Certain factors are responsible for these inefficiencies in small scale farming in Nigeria. This has come about through the persisting dry conditions that small holder farmers experience. These farmers lack agriculture information and this is a factor that promotes ignorance of modern farm technologies in the farmers hence the constraint requires more attention than it now gets. These farmers also operate under high costs of production that affects both the commercial and smallholder farmer and most importantly other constraints against small holder farmer. Smallholder farmers in Nigeria have limited access to credit facilities which reduces their productivity to a great extent. In spite of the fact that Nigeria has a lot of cultivable land, a great percentage of it is being converted to other uses than agriculture. One of the most destructive factors that hinder productivity in smallholder farming is lack of market which impoverishes and discourages them from production. In addition to these challenges, Obiechina (2012) points out that the main reason for poor performances of smallholder farmers is due to lack of commitment by all tiers of governments to implement the right policies. The paper therefore reviews smallholder farming in Nigeria: Need for transformation; examines different constraints that contribute to the ineffectiveness of smallholder farmers in Nigeria. It also discusses sources of information to small holder farmers on their different production needs, proposes some solutions to these constraints. Some recommendations for transformation of small holder farming in Nigeria were also made.
The researcher used descriptive research survey design in building up this project work the choice of this research design was considered appropriate because of its advantages of identifying attributes of a large population from a group of individuals. The design was suitable for the study as the study sought to examine the problem affecting small scale farmers
Sources of data collection
Data were collected from two main sources namely:
(i)Primary source and
These are materials of statistical investigation which were collected by the research for a particular purpose. They can be obtained through a survey, observation questionnaire or as experiment; the researcher has adopted the questionnaire method for this study.
These are data from textbook Journal handset etc. they arise as byproducts of the same other purposes. Example administration, various other unpublished works and write ups were also used.
PRESENTATION ANALYSIS INTERPRETATION OF DATA
Efforts will be made at this stage to present, analyze and interpret the data collected during the field survey. This presentation will be based on the responses from the completed questionnaires. The result of this exercise will be summarized in tabular forms for easy references and analysis. It will also show answers to questions relating to the research questions for this research study. The researcher employed simple percentage in the analysis.
The data collected from the respondents were analyzed in tabular form with simple percentage for easy understanding.
A total of 133(one hundred and thirty three) questionnaires were distributed and 133 questionnaires were returned.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the problem affecting small scale farmers.
In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges affecting small scale farmers
Smallholder farmers make up to 80% of farmers in Nigeria and produce a substantial percentage of the food consumed by Nigerians. These farmers are producing below their capacity because of numerous challenges they experience. Different governments have had many programmes to solve some of the constraints that militate against the farmers’ efficiency but they are yet to produce enough for Nigerian citizens to stop food importation. Many solutions to the problems have been proposed by many authors. If these proposals are put into practice, inefficiency in small-scale production in Nigeria could be overcome.
- Akinsuyi, Y. 2011. Local Government Intervention: Impact in Small-Scale Farming This Day Live. www.thisdaylive.com, accessed on 4th July, 2012.
- Badiru, I.O. (Undated). Review of small farmer access to agricultural credit in Nigeria.
- Bamiduro, J. A. and Rotimi, A. G. 2011. Small scale farming and agricultural product marketing for sustainable poverty alleviation in Nigeria. Open Journal System, vol. 7 (3), pp.56-63.
- Dambatta, S.N. 2012. E-Wallet delivers inputs to Nigerian small-holders. Peoples Dailyhttp://www.peopledaily-online.com/index.php/news/agriculture/2086-e-walletdelivers-inputs-to-Nigerian-small-holders. Accessed in December, 2012.
- Enhancing Financial Innovations and Access (EFInA). 2008. Access to financial services in Nigeria:
- Federal Office of Statistics (FOS) 1999. Poverty and Agricultural Sector in Nigeria, Poverty
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). 2003. The One to Watch, Radio, New ICTs and Incidence of Farmers by Region. FOS, Lagos, pp. 22-23. Interactivity. Rome: FAO, pp.57, 105.
- International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). 2009. Key elements for supporting the renewed focus on agricultural productivity and small-scale agricultural development in Nigeria. Insight No. 10.