What are the challenges of Agribusiness in Nigeria?What are the solutions too?
Agribusiness refers to the business sector which encompasses farming and farming-related commercial activities. It involves all the steps required to send an agricultural good to market (production, processing and distribution). In Nigeria and many developing and undeveloped countries, farmers face a lot of challenges some of which are outlined below
Lack of Development
Lack of development in general is a problem when it comes to Agriculture in Nigeria. Lack of development include: social development (development relating the people and the country), economic development (relating to finance and wealth of the country), and environmental development (relating to quality of the air, water, soil etc), and political development (development relating to political system). Identifying and tackling development constraints in the Nigeria agricultural system will help create a climate to improve performance, and will help promote and accelerate the growth in this sector. Some of the main factors affecting agribusiness development in Nigeria will be discussed briefly below
Lack of access to funding
May farmers lack access to funding. Most often, the people who gain access to funding are the big farmers who in most cases do not really need the money. A series of government initiatives has still not made any impact as the farmers who need the funds are less likely to access the funds. For the banks, Foreign exchange losses (due to financial sector reforms), loan defaults, removals of subsidies on agricultural inputs, and production-related losses led to the rapid deterioration of the bank’s overall credit portfolio. Women farmers lack relevant and adequate support for farming and adapting to climate change. Oxfam conducted research on government in vaious countries and confirmed that women lack access to funding with Nigeria having the lowest spend on agriculture and rural development
Marketing involves the conveying of agricultural product from farmers to consumers. Some of the problems of marketing affecting the Nigeria agricultural system include poor transportation means, poor packaging and poor quality. If you have poor packaging system (making product look good and attractive to customers) and your competitor have a better packaging system than you, then customers are more likely to buy from your competitor even. if the qualities are the same. Good road are needed in order to effectively transport good from one place to another. Unfortunately, the overall marketing system of the country is primitive. Parastatals and MDA’s that have been assign to build road and railways for transportation takes many years and sometimes up to a decade to get a network constructed because of corruption. Even the little road and rail constructed normally crumbles due to poor maintenance.
Lack of storage and processing facilities
The lack of storage and processing facilities affect both national food security and household food security. Even when there is a lot of harvest and the production of farm product seem enough, because of lack of good storage it will still lead to food scarcity as the food will not be available or be in a good condition when it’s time for consumption. Good storage and processing are required to ensure that food is available in good condition when ever it’s required. Simple and effective method for storing perishable food like tubers, fruits and vegetables are not really developed and well known in Nigeria when compare to that of grains. Storage is a problem for Nigeria as a large number of food produce perish, because of the lack storage and processing facilities. The traditional methods of storage used contain flaws, like having low base, which therefore becomes easily accessible to rodent and having wooden floor which is an easy target for termite and also some of the storage are non moisture proof surface which could get damage by water. Due to the
inadequate storage and processing system, farmers loss heavily and especially when it’s time for profuse harvesting. Safe places to store product from farms are not efficient and are inadequate. Improved storage system and technique have been developed by experts from different institute but these systems have not been adopted and sometimes not even known to
Lack of good Infrastructure
In this case infrastructure will include physical structure, such as health and educational facilities, social services (stable electricity and safe water) and effective communication system. Agriculture in Nigeria suffers greatly because of the lack of developed infrastructure. For example in the rural area where most of the farmers operate without good infrastructure in place, is a major problem, as it affect investment, trade, and agricultural production. This problem is mostly caused by the government, as the government favours urban development over rural development by a great margin. The lack of infrastructure continues because of bad political leadership, poor governance, government neglect, poor maintenance culture and
poor funding. Electricity, safe water and health facilities is often not enough for those living in the rural area, as the urban area is favoured more by the government. For example people living in the rural area can be without electricity for up to a week on a regular bases and even the urban area does not have stable electricity. Some places in the villages have one tap for water which does not always work because of lack of electricity, so water used in the farm and houses are gotten from the rivers, and this could take hours to fetch as the river could be far from the houses and the farms.
One of the problems affecting external and internal investment in Nigeria is the escalating cost of important farm tools and machines. The average cost of tools and machine such as cutlass, hoe, tractors and combine harvester have been increasing for many years. These unstable prices are caused by the unstable macroeconomic policy which then lead to inflationary pressures and high interest rate and then lead to a volatile exchange rate . All these have the tendency to cause rising prices in fuel, transportation, farm inputs and therefore increase cost of production.
Lack of Farm Machineries
The traditional system used in Nigeria affects the use of farmland because of the availability of labour. In Nigeria the agriculture system is mainly done without machines and thus human labour becomes important in the production system, accounting for about 90% of the farm operations. While under a semi-mechanized system human labour is still up to 70% of the farm operations . So labour could be and is affected by the continuous
migration of able bodied young men to the urban area which in turn causes labour shortages and in time when labour is required for land preparation and harvesting. The main cause of this migration is the perception by young men that farm labour cannot support them and their Families..
The Nigeria Population is presently at about 190 million and it is
estimated to grow to about 230 and 430 million people in 2050, and as of 2015 52.2% of the population lived in the rural area while 47.8% lived in the urban area. Nigeria is seeing a growing population and could be the third largest most populated country in some years while more than half of the population earn less than US$ 2 per day.
As Nigeria’s population increases, so does the food security challenges, and this will grow with its population. At the current rate in which Nigeria population grows, Nigeria remains unable to feed its population. Due to over population, the traditional method if fallowing is shorten and there is not enough time for the soil to regenerate is properties, putting pressure on the land. There is increase in demand of livestock which also leads to overgrazing.
As stated earlier Nigeria’s urban population is more than its rural population, and it’s
estimated that the urban population will continue to grow more and more as there is mass migration from the rural area. The urban population is relies on market food supplies and are not into food production. Nigeria population are mainly youths, and they are mostly moving to the urban area. This is making it hard to employ and educate the next generation farmers.
Due to the problems mention above, lack of farmers, growing population, low income and people not being interested in food production or being a farmer anymore, is making the unsustainable farmers get away with their practices.
Gender Inequality in agribusiness sector
From a gender point of view, there are significant gaps between women and men. For example, women farmer have significantly smaller farms than men. Moreover, the share of female farmers is particularly high on farms with no clear specialisation in livestock rearing or crop production. Majority of farms are run by male farm holders, and a smaller percentage by female farmer. Participation of women in employment and economic growth is crucial for reaching the SDG goals, and in this respect agricultural and rural areas could make a contribution.
Women play a key role in rural families, communities and economies, and they are also important as farmers. In addition to paid farm work, women still assume the main share of unpaid responsibilities involved in the running of families and communities. There is also under-reporting of women’s work, as women tend to classify and report themselves as not in employment, particularly when undertaking unpaid agricultural work. In fact:Women provide a large proportion of the labour of agricultural production, even though official statistics based on census and survey instruments often underestimate women’s work and its contribution to national wealth. Problems persist in the collection of reliable and comprehensive data on rural women’s work in agriculture and other productive sectors because of: invisibility of women’s work; seasonal and part-time nature of women’s work; and unremunerated family (mostly women and children) labour (eige,2019)
The solution to the above problems can be summarised as follws:
1-Investting in infrastructural development
2-Adopting mechanised farming methods
3-Boosting Patifiction of women in agricultural development
4-Enhamced skills development
5-Removing barriers towards access to farm inputs
6-Reducing instability in price of farm inputs and outputs
7.Engagement of youths towards sustainable agriculture to boost employment and economic development
8.Access to funding at zero interest must be ensured for all farmers to boost agricultural activities