Nigeria has a large expanse of land that can work perfectly to supply all agricultural needs of the country and feed her citizens quite alright. The Nigerian population is yet another factor that can help promote agriculture. Nigerian youths number up to 33,652,000 according to Furlong et al, 2013. It is equally on record that over 50% of Nigeria’s 170 million populations is unemployed. Nigeria would be leading the world in food production if this huge workforce can be diverted towards agriculture.
Despite all the factors that seem to be working in favour of Nigeria in terms of agriculture, it is unfortunate that Nigeria is still not able to produce enough rice and various agricultural products to feed her population. Why hasn’t Nigeria been able to get it right in her agricultural sector? Some of the impediments and mitigating factors will be looked into below.
Land Tenure problem
Land is needed for agriculture no doubt. Land ownership in Nigeria is via land tenure. Many Nigerians who would go into agriculture get disappointed, no thanks to the rather unfavorable and discouraging land utilization laws embedded in the land tenure systems in Nigeria.
Basic amenities unavailability
Many of the basic amenities helpful for agriculture development are not available to farmers and this is further hampering agricultural development. Good examples of such amenities are the basic items needed to make life more interesting for the farmer in the rural areas.
These things may seem to be mundane, but they help keep the people in the farms and villages and remove the need to migrate to cities, which will further hamper agricultural development. Some of the basic amenities are television viewing centers, telephone, good roads, and recreational parks for relaxation, functioning health centers, standard schools, cinemas, electricity and the likes. Availability of these items will help prevent the following:
• Low agricultural production
• Reduction in village working population
• Rural-urban drift, in which people leave the villages in search of jobs in the cities.
This is yet another factor militating against agricultural development in Nigeria. Due to lack of proper financing, many farmers are not able to go into commercial agriculture; they are subjected to subsistence form of agriculture and therefore cannot reach their full potentials in agriculture. Lack of funding subjects the farmers to poverty and also make them unable to secure collaterals they can use to obtain loan. They are never able to access credit facilities and are therefore unable to progress in farming. Most times, interest rate is high and many of these farmers do not have the capacity to pay. They are equally unable to employ agricultural specialists
Roads leading to many of the farms around are very bad. Consequently, it is very difficult for farmers to transport their crops from the farms to the markets for sales. Many of the crops therefore get spoilt before they can be conveyed to the market. This lack of transportation brings the middleman into the picture and this leads to increase in the price of purchasing food items.