How better inclusion of Smallholder Farmers can improve Nigeria’s Agricultural sector.
Happy Worker’s Day!
The measure of a flourishing economy is its Human Resources. Yet, Nigeria, with a population of about 200 million people, has been unable to attain self-sufficiency in food production and has relied heavily on the importation of food items for a long time now.
In the United States of America, only about 2% (2.1 million) of the country’s population are farmers, yet American farms contribute about 136 billion dollars to the nation’s GDP.
Due to longstanding underinvestment, small-scale farmers are the poorest part of Nigeria’s agricultural sector. The absence of basic facilities and inadequate systems have been a major stumbling block for farmers in Nigeria. Poor infrastructure, especially the lack of good transportation routes, energy, and water irrigation systems, discourages local and foreign investment and wastes cultivated farm products.
Farmers in Nigeria can potentially change the face of the Agriculture sector if we can tackle the problems head-on instead of looking for short fixes.
Farming is first and foremost Science. It involves more than just digging the soil and planting crops. Educational investments in Farmers will aid them in selecting the suitable seed variety to get optimum yield, the best time for planting and best on-farm practices to reduce crop loss, and how to partner with efficient supply chains to profit.
The absence of basic facilities and inadequate systems have been a major stumbling block for farmers in Nigeria. Basic amenities such as good roads, water, and electricity could make a massive difference in productivity scale and profit.
Poor infrastructure discourages potential local and foreign investment and leads to wastage of the farm products cultivated under this.
Despite the sector’s importance, seventy-two percent of Nigeria’s smallholders live below the poverty line of USD 1.9 (691) a day. 88% of Nigerian farmers are considered small family farmers, which stems from the lack of funds to expand to large scale farming and has, in turn, led to stagnating growth in the agriculture sector
Women smallholder farmers are incredibly overlooked by officials overseeing agricultural policy and decision-making, which is surprising when they make up 70% of the workforce and produce 60% of the food Nigerians consume.
Women are not only five times less likely to own land than men, but they also do not have the financial resources to invest in farming supplies and services. — This means that they cannot increase their yields or earn as much as their male counterparts.
Supporting Local Farmers.
Yearly, Nigeria commemorates Worker’s Day, focusing on the Corporate scenes and little on Farmers in Agriculture; this is odd considering the importance of their work.
Food is essential, and without these farmers, there will be food insecurity. Without food, a nation can not survive.
As many Nigerian smallholder farmers remain unbanked, banks and lending institutions perceive them as high risk, making it difficult to scale production.
To improve smallholder farmers’ access to markets, Pricepally plays the role of a trusted middleman who helps connect farmers with potential consumers via its mobile and web-based platforms. Reducing the number of intermediaries in the value chain can make the procurement process more equitable and empowers farmers to achieve a fair price.
Reports show that Nigeria loses between 55% to 72% of cultivated fresh produce before entering the market. These are worrying stats if one considers how much these could be curtailed through reliable farm-to-market channels. Through its flexible market model, Pricepally has reduced this drastically.
Nigeria has immense potential to create and transform the country into a more economically viable nation. Ensuring this means that Small-scale farmers must have access to financing, adequate extension services, participatory research, suitable technology, and equitable markets for their produce.