In this section, we highlight the problems/constraints of agriculture in Nigeria.
1. Infrastructural Inadequacies:
Here, infrastructure includes physical infrastructures, such as roads and railway system, educational and health facilities, social services such as potable water and electricity and communication system.
Agricultural productivity in Nigeria is impaired greatly by the poor state of infrastructure. In the rural areas where majority of the smallholders operate, inadequate infrastructure constitutes a major constraint to agricultural production.
The Infrastructure problem has persisted due to government neglect, poor leadership, bad governance, poor maintenance culture, and poor funding.
2. Marketing Problem:
The process of marketing involves getting the agricultural products from the farmers to the consumers. It increases production by stimulating consumption, and facilitating industrial growth.
For the marketing to play a vital role in increasing agricultural production, an efficient network of road is needed to aid transportation of the products from where they are produced to where they are consumed. Unfortunately, the majority of Nigerian roads (especially rural) are in deplorable conditions.
Furthermore, due to inadequate storage facilities, heavy post harvest losses occur, especially in tines of bumper harvests.
3. Storage and Processing:
The lack of adequate storage and processing facilities is responsible for discrepancies between national food security and household food security. This is because even if the total production of food seems adequate at the aggregate level, it fails to improve food security significantly unless the food is available for consumption at the right time and in the right form.
Storage and processing ensure that the commodities produced at a particular period are available for consumption whenever and wherever they are required.
Cost effective and efficient technologies for perishables, such as roots, tubers, fruits and vegetables, are not as highly developed in Nigeria compared to the storage technologies for cereal grains and legumes. As a result, post-harvest food storage losses are very high, compared to cereal grains.
Traditional storage facilities have certain deficiencies, and across geo-ecological zones, most farmers store only a portion of their crops for consumption. They sell part of their crop early to get cash to settle their immediate financial needs.
4. Unstable Input and Output Prices:
Generally, a major problem inhibiting investment in agriculture is the escalating cost of major farm inputs.
Average prices of major farm inputs such as hoe, matchet, sprayer, tractor, and agro-chemicals have been rising over the years. This has a tendency to cause high factor cost to the farmers cultivating agricultural crops; thus worsening the rising cost of production.
5. Agricultural Labor:
Since agriculture in Nigeria is mainly unmechanized, human labor is vital in all production systems, accounting for about 90 per cent of all farm operations. Although farming is largely labor-intensive, farmers, generally often experience seasonal labor shortages. The supply of labor is affected by unending migration of able-bodied youths from the rural to urban areas creating labor shortages especially at peak periods when labor is required for land preparation, weeding and harvesting.
Hired labor shortages have driven up the cost of labor making such labor unprofitable to the average smallholder.
6. Technical Constraint:
Technical constraint in Nigeria manifests in poor technology, poor quality of raw materials, and inadequate supply of modern inputs. The main causes of the constraint include low support from government, poor government policy, poverty, low level of awareness, lack of adequate research and increases in the prices of inputs. Poor government support and poor government policy prevent the emergence of innovations from research institutes. Even when they are available, there seem to be communication gaps between farmers (end-users of research efforts) and the researchers.
The poverty incidence among farmers, which is the highest in the economy, also contributes to the persistence of technical constraint in Nigeria. The low level of productivity translates to a vicious cycle of poverty, thereby leading to low level of production.