This article explicates on the Problems and Prospects of Agricultural Mechanization in Nigeria. Agricultural Mechanization, according to Wikipedia, is the process of using agricultural machinery to mechanise the work of agriculture, greatly increasing farm worker productivity. In modern times, powered machinery has replaced many farm jobs formerly carried out by manual labour or by working animals such as oxen, horses and mules.
Agricultural Mechanization has been touted as the key to modernization and industrialism in developed countries. Agricultural Mechanization may include usage of trucks, harvesters, tractors, modern farming tools, and even aeroplane. The major objective for agricultural mechanization is to boost the productivity of the farm, support the production of large quantities, and better the quality of farm produce. This implies that agricultural mechanization is the path Nigeria must take to food sufficiency, but what are the problems and Prospects of agricultural mechanization in Nigeria?
Problems and Prospects of Agricultural Mechanization in Nigeria
Poor Land Tenure System: This factor in Nigeria mitigates the progress thus far made in Agricultural mechanization. Farmers are not able to acquire more land in order to begin commercial farming. In Nigeria, the current land ownership act leads to too much division of farms. Agricultural mechanization hardly occurs in small farmland.
Poverty of Farmers/ Inadequate credit facilities: In Nigeria, a lot of farmers live in despondence and poverty. They do not have the needed fund to acquire modern farming implements. The fact that farmers in Nigeria do have access to loan facilities makes this situation worse.
Scarcity of machinery: Now, farmers who are able to purchase expensive modernized farming implements are faced with an obstacle. These machineries are imported from outside the country, it means it costs more to procure them. This is one of the serious problems of agricultural mechanization in Nigeria
Lack of infrastructures: Nigeria lacks the needed infrastructure to support mechanized farming. Infrastructures like good road network, stable power supply, ease of doing business are lacking in Nigeria. This means that the exportation of farm products will be hindered by these challenges.
Illiterate farmers: Most Farmers in Nigeria are illiterate. This implies that they are oblivious to modern farming implement and procedures that can better farm output. They may not be able to adopt mechanized farming or use these farm device.
Poor agricultural policies: For decades, the government has only paid lip service to implement policies that could better the agricultural sector. The inability of the government to create policies that innovate and boost the productivity of farmers is one of the Problems of Agricultural Mechanization in Nigeria.
Prospects of Agricultural Mechanization in Nigeria
Better Food sufficiency: Agricultural Mechanization in Nigeria will end hunger, and improve farm yield, hence boosting food sufficiency. The spate of food importation will end in the country.
Foreign Exchange: Adopting Agricultural Mechanization in Nigeria will increase exportation of farm produce, hence boost the foreign exchange. This will improve the economy.
Improve packaging, processing and storage: Agricultural Mechanization in Nigeria will eliminate wastage of farm produce because produces from the farm will be stored using better storage facilities.
How to Improve Agricultural Mechanisation in Nigeria
Here are ways Agricultural mechanisation can be improved and developed:
- The relevant government and private agencies should collaborate and synergise so that farmers become educated and aware of the effect of climate change and the need for innovative farming practices. These agencies include the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Water resources.
- Government should provide adequate funding and pay attention to agriculture in Nigeria. Farmers need funds to service worn-out tractors and other agricultural tools. Also, the deployment of tractors, fertilizers and seedlings to farmers should be closely monitored.
- Government should establish more storage facilities to prevent wastage and spoilage.
- Training centres in geo-political zones should be opened and equipped for educating farmers on farming for business, marketing, deployment of modern technology and management of the environment.
- Investors should centre their effort on creating processing industries.
- Government should increase the employment and training of agricultural extension workers.
- Road networks in the country should be repaired and rehabilitated for easier transportation from farms to markets.
- Accessing credit facilities by farmers from financial institutions should be made less stringent and easier.
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