Problem Affecting Small Scale Farmers

Project and Seminar Material for Agricultural Engineering AE

Problem Affecting Small Scale Farmers


Abstract


This research was carried out to determine the problems affecting small-scale farmers in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State. Sixty questionnaires were drawn to generate the necessary information to satisfy the aim of this research and they were randomly administered in most of the farming location within the study area. The data analysis based on the findings shows that the most limiting factors to farming activities in the region is finance. 63.33% of the population depended on their personal income while only 36.67% had access to banks or cooperative societies for their farm funding. In addition, land was also noted to mitigate farming operations in the area due to the current multiple use of land in the area.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Agricultural production in developing countries has largely been on subsistence basis. The farmers only produce for themselves and immediate families and the quantity of goods produced are grossly inadequate for the growing population. There is an increased wide-spread in the level of poverty amongst the people especially those living in the rural areas. Small scale farming had become the major way to tackle the problem of lack and poverty in this area. An odd growing situation of unemployment in recent years had led many f the rural/urban dwellers into small scale farming and today, the small scale farmers are known for their important and huge contributions to the Gross National product, they are currently the producers of about 98 percent of the food consumed in Nigeria with the only exception of wheat.

Nigeria alone has a land area of 98.3 million hectares, As agricultural land in developed countries shrinks arable land has not been exploited to produce crops and because of urban expansion, food production is gradually livestock to stem the threat of hunger and poverty being a critical resource which Africa can supply to the through efficient production system [1]. It is obvious that world. The cost of producing food in first world countries from growth point of view, opportunities exist in Africa’s is extremely high and land is scarce; but on the other agriculture sector. In Nigeria, with small-scale farmers no hand, sub-Saharan Africa has enormous natural, physical doubt, having a lot to benefit in a situation where there is and human potential. The focus of the agricultural finance a favourable operating environment. Small-scale farmers donor community has shifted away from food aid and is are the suppliers of food to the tables of Nigerians. In fact, now focused on developing small farmers and a report has it that more than 80 per cent of the total establishing food security. The stage is being set for food farmers, including medium and large ones, are small scale production in Africa to gain momentum. Africa’s small farmers. They are the backbone of the Nigerian farmers are unique in that they generally have access to agricultural sector and deserve every support to produce land that is free (communally held) or can be used at a more food, grow more raw materials for the agro-industrial relatively low cost. This free/low cost land provides sector and contribute in ending a food supply deficit that farmers with a significantly lower cost structure. costs the country US$10 million in food import annually. It is imperative for government, non-government agencies and cooperate individuals to help in ameliorating the problems that militates against the farming activities of these small scale farmers in order to enhance a better food and raw amterials supplies in and around the Nigerian environment.

Over the years deliberate, though ineffective effort have been made by donors and government to bring about agricultural development without much to show for it much of the failure can be attributed to the adapted transformation approach to agriculture which is characterized by the introduction of a variety of large scale farming and producing technologies. It is however gratifying to note that there is new a shift in emphasis from the big scale transformation approach to the small scale improvement strategy approach which attuned to our age long farm practice.Information is an essential ingredient in agricultural development programmes but Nigerian farmers seldom feel the impact of agricultural innovations either because they have no access to such information or because it is poorly disseminated. This research work is aimed at revealing the problems faced by small scale farmers in Ughelli-South in order to showcase them for possible solutions by the various arms of government, non-governmental organizations and interested individuals. Small scale farmers have always played dominant role in agricultural productivity in Nigeria (Rahji and Fakayode, 2009), but their productivity and growth are hindered by limited access to credit facilities (Odoemenem and Obinne, 2010). Farm credit is an important factor in improving agricultural productivity and strengthening rural economy in most developing countries. Farm credit scheme provide poor people with the institutional support needed to generate a source of income which may help them to achieve food security. Several empirical studies have shown that micro credit have benefited small scale farmers in many ways in the past (Feijo 2001, Oyeyinka and Bolarinwa, 2009 and Okojie et al, 2010).

The operational mechanism of farm credit services is complicated by emerging new challenges that are changing the context in which rural economic landscape operates. Important lessons from past rural credit programme in the country point to the need to redesign or improve delivery mechanism to minimize institutional barriers and, hence, open access of small-scale farmers to credit. Majority of poor farmers have continued to face limited access to financial services, and where these services are made available, they are often at very high cost (Okojie et al, 2010, Phillip et al, 2009). Capital has for a long time been considered as a primary means of rekindling and enhancing the growth potential of the rural economy, especially farming activities (Eboreime, 2008). to increase agricultural productivity and reduce rural poverty (Omobolanle, 2010). Eboreime (1999) found that the provision of financial capital to small scale rural farmers actually led to output growth and increase in gross incomes. Eboreime further observed that the trend can effectively checkmate poverty as increased income is expected to generate increased saving, investment, and capital formation and eventually bring about increased productivity.

Agricultural credit determines access to all of the resources on which farmers depend (Shephard, 1997). Credit serves as a source of funds to farmers that can be utilized in the production process (Awotodunbo, 2008). Ogundeji (1998) stated that agricultural business like any other business can be financed through personal savings, friends or family assistance, partnership, bank loans, private placements, credit terms, hire purchase and cooperative societies. It has been observed that the agricultural sector has been receiving the least level of credit facilities from commercial banks (Koza, 2007). In Nigeria, it is estimated that only 2.5 percent of the total commercial Bank loans and advances is directed to agriculture (CBN, 2008). This has made government over the years to come up with many different programmes aimed at providing loans and credits to small scale farmers with or without collateral.

Some of these programmes include; i. The Nigerian Agricultural Cooperative Bank (NACB), ii. Farmers Credit Scheme (FCS), iii. Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP), iv. Women, Youths Empowerment Scheme (WYES). Government programmes have had little impact at the community level. They are handicapped by severe financial, political and managerial problems to the points of incapacitation (Eboreime, 2008). Eboreime further observed that the delivery systems suffer serious obstacles of implementation, resulting in facilities being uncompleted or lacking staff and equipment. Most of the problems have being attributed to the non-involvement of the people in the planning and execution process of the scheme. This is also exacerbated by the politicization of resource allocation and non-accountability by government staff of the resources which they control.Some scholars believed that a sure way of breaking the vicious circle of poverty especially in the rural areas is through the injection of capital (Jhingan, 1975). Meir (1975) in pointing out the crucial role of capital observed that even though labour may be abundant in developing countries of Sub Saharan Africa, their output remains limited by a shortage of capital. Thus, microfinance, which entails the extension of credits or financial capital to small scale farmers, is viewed as an effective strategy


1.2 Statement of the Problems

A redirection of attention to agriculture had long-time been strategized by government and non-governmental agencies as the right antidote to the crises of unemployment in Nigeria, yet majority of the rural dwellers seek migration opportunities hence, compounding the general unemployment situation and food shortages in the country. An investigation to know the problems that have made individual (small scale) farming unattractive becomes imperative.


1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to ascertain the major problems that hiders the production activities of small scale farmers (crops and animals production) which when addressed will serve as a direct measure to food shortages and an indirect measure to the lingering problems of unemployment.


1.4 Research Questions

  1. Does small scale farming significantly increase the income earned by the people of Ughelli South Local Government Area?
  2. Is small scale farming the main activity available to the people of Ughelli South?
  3. Had small scale farming been able to reduce unemployment in Ughelli South?
  4. Had the food production from small scale farming in this area been able to meet the general food demand of the dwellers of Ughelli South?
  5. Are young school leavers attracted to small scale farming in Ughelli South?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

  1. H0: small scale farming does not significantly increase the income earned by the people of Ughelli South Local Government Area
    H1: small scale farming does significantly increase the income earned by the people of Ughelli South Local Government Area
  2. H0: small scale farming has not been able to reduce unemployment in Ughelli South
    H2: small scale farming has been able to reduce unemployment in Ughelli South

1.6 Significance of the Study

Rural-Urban migration due to unattractive/farming problems and unemployment had complicated life existence in the urban environment resulting in a high population density, increase in food demand and cost, traffic congestion amongst others.

This research work is set to provide informative hints on the problems in Ughelli South and also to provide useful information to government establishment aimed at improving farming and lives of the rural dwellers.


1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The investigation is limited to farmers that have farmed for at least three to four years within the study area in Arable Crop farming with cultivated fields of less than five-hectares, domestic animal rearers with less than five thousand fishes in their ponds and also, home-garden vegetable farmers scattered around in the local government area.

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Finance:

Limited Access to the needed financed was a major setback to the scope of the study. Because the financed available for the research could only finance Ugheli LGA alone.


1.8 Definition of Terms

Small Scale Farming:

This is the type of agriculture created in a subsistence level, void of commercialization.

Large-Scale Farming:

This is a commercial type of agriculture it involves a large production of crops and animals intended for a widespread distribution to wholesalers or retail outlets.

Gross-National Product:

The total values of goods produced and services provided by a country during one year, it is usually the sum total of the gross-domestic product and the net product.

Rural-Urban Migration:

It refers to the movement of people from the rural areas to the urban (more developed) centres for the purpose of getting a better education, job, health facilities, wages and standard of living.


1.9 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the problem affecting small scale farmers.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges affecting small scale farmers


5.2 Summary

Smallholder farmers make up to 80% of farmers in Nigeria and produce a substantial percentage of the food consumed by Nigerians. These farmers are producing below their capacity because of numerous challenges they experience. Different governments have had many programmes to solve some of the constraints that militate against the farmers’ efficiency but they are yet to produce enough for Nigerian citizens to stop food importation. Many solutions to the problems have been proposed by many authors. If these proposals are put into practice, inefficiency in small-scale production in Nigeria could be overcome


5.3 Conclusion

The findings from this study show that access to agricultural credit constitutes a major challenge to farmers in the study area. This led the people in the area to evolve a local system of micro finance (bada kaka) to enable them overcome these challenges. However, the evolution of the local micro finance (bada kaka) as indicated by most farmers has failed to achieve the desired result due to the harsh and exploitative conditions associated with it. Consequently, most farmers have continued to operate at small scale due to lack of access to micro credit. The inability of the farmers to access alternative sources of farm credit has compelled them to endure the exploitative tendencies of the middlemen (traders) through the bada kaka micro credit scheme over the years.


5.4 Recommendations

The following are recommendations of the study:

Nigerian governments should provide storage and marketing facilities to buy and store produce from farmers at good prices during harvesting seasons when the farmers over produce. This will prevent the farmers from incurring some losses that can discourage or drastically affect their production in subsequent planting seasons.

Extension system in Nigeria should be revamped by funding arrangement to provide mobility, training, incentives and institutional support so that it will increase its services to farmers for enhanced production.

There should be monitoring teams at national, state and local government levels to monitor the management and usage of agriculture fund allocation and farm inputs. This aims at checking embezzlement and reduces corruption to a great extent.

Young people in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions should be encouraged to take careers in agriculture especially production and processing by giving scholarships both local and overseas, and providing credit facilities to such people after training as many of our farmers are getting old.


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