Crude farming techniques: Agriculture in Nigeria could use a little push at strategic points if success is to be achieved. Farming is still largely subsistent in Nigeria and various drives to mechanize the sector have failed. It requires huge amount of money to acquire machines and tools to commercialize agriculture. But this has to be done if Nigeria is to achieve food sufficiency and exports. Many have called on government to provide the funds but there has been little campaign in urging government to support big private players to invest in agriculture and contribute to mechanizing the industry.
Insecurity: In today’s world, insecurity is a major challenge facing agriculture. Farmers no longer feel safe going to their farms. The consequence of this is that there will be no produce and the implication of this on food security can be dire. The Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen killings, and kidnapping are dangerous for agriculture in Nigeria. Needless to say, this is the foray of government. Farmers need to be protected and insecurity must be tackled as promptly as possible.
Lack of agricultural education: This is called agricultural extension. There is a need for the education of farmers in Nigeria as most of them who engage in subsistence agriculture have very little knowledge of the operational methods of improved agricultural system. If farmers in Nigeria are provided with the necessary education and adequate resources, there would be gross improvement in Nigerian agricultural sector; the land would be properly utilized and this would greatly reduce the high level of food importation and ultimately increase employment rate. In the light of this, agricultural extension bodies need to be created.
Poor infrastructure: Infrastructural deficiency is a major problem hampering the production of food crops and rearing of animals in Nigeria. Lack of electricity is a major challenge. Over 40 percent of Nigeria perishable goods get spoilt after harvest due to the lack of electricity needed for the storage and processing. Electricity is needed for the running of large farm equipment. So most Nigerian farmer simply chose to stick with manual labor as the cost of running machines with alternative source of power is often steep. Another problem facing agriculture in Nigeria is the lack of good roads needed for the transportation of harvested crops from the farm land to the main roads. Most farms in Nigeria are located about a mile away from the main road and the only entrance to these farms are mostly a path beaten by the foot of men.
Poor funding: Nigeria Farmers also encounter the problems of funds needed for running their farms and construction of farm houses and proper storage system. Inadequate funding is a major challenge. The government will need to streamline the process of providing credit to farmers. The Agricultural Cooperative and Credit Bank needs to be enhanced to facilitate the availability of needed funds.
Inadequate fertilizers, seeds, pesticides etc: Farmers in Nigeria also face the challenge of insufficient fertilizers, pesticides and seeds. As a result, produce have stunted growth and are infested with pests. Some seeds are substandard and when planted yield poorly. There is therefore a need for the Ministry of Agriculture in the country and in the states to make fertilizers, seeds and other essentials available to farmers.
Erratic pricing and marketing: Another challenge is the phenomenon of poor pricing and marketing incentives. Most farmers, after going through the rigours from planting to harvesting, are faced with the challenge of selling their produce in a market that has volatile pricing. It is thus advisable for Marketing Boards to be reestablished. These boards will be in charge of buying the goods from farmers at a standard price, and then sell or store as the case may be. So farmers can plan and know that once they produce, the Boards are there to buy. This will also address the challenge of lack of storage of farm goods.
If the government of Nigeria and the ministry of agriculture would intervene in solving the problems of farmers in Nigeria, it is believed that by 2020 the country would witness a gross decrease in the importation of food stuffs and animals. With good planning and the needed resources, Nigeria has what it takes to multiply her GDP by harnessing agriculture.