5 things to know about Nigeria rural farmers

One thing I can describe really well is rural farming and some set of personality I can describe excellently are the personality of rural farmers after working with them for many years now, the mentality and attitude they carry to work and towards work can be explicitly explained. Recently, I was on a site checking through the impact an average United State of America rural farmer are making in their rural community and the statistics was wonderful. According to the site, an average USA rural farmer have the ability to feed over 150 people, they have the capability to employ over 5 skilled labour and over 15 unskilled labour. This is the extent at which rural farmers are contributing to food production, food security, food sufficiency and development in the Unites State of America.

Let us take a quick glance at the definition of rural farmers, they are those involve in farming and carrying out other related farming activities in the villages (Rural community). They may cultivate food crops, mono crop, rear livestock’s, engage in fishing and hunting among others, but they depend on seasonal and natural conditions to carry on their farming activities, they subsistencly provide food for their family and commercialize the farm product if need be. Some are majorly commercial farmers that sell out their farm product to either the consumer directly or retail the product to farm product retailers.

Rural farmers plant crops in varieties, they majorly plant the same thing for example it has been noticed that local farmers plant a crop that already has a fast market channel and a crop that is common, cassava and maize are majorly cultivated in the south western part of Nigeria while fluted pumpkin (Ugwu), castor, sesame are not well attended to when it comes to production because an average farmer believe that all this plant does not have a quick market channel and access. The main potential contributions of farming to rural area development are in terms of supporting employment, ancillary businesses, and environmental services. In peripheral (poor) regions, farming may be necessary to support the economic and social infrastructure.

It is quite painful how that rural farming that is solving more than sixty percent of the problems of the third world country when it comes to food production can’t solve thirty percent of the problems of Nigeria, when it comes to food production. Food production development have declined greatly because of so many reason which would be address here. Let us take a look at the statistics of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), they predicted that by 2030, the world would need at least over fifty percent of what is being produced now, don’t forget that rural farmers are the major producer of food, so we can conclude and say for us all to feed well by 2030, rural farmers would need to not only double their production but also double their man power, input and technology.

Talcott parson a modernization theorist believed that one of the things that have hindered development in Africa is the traditional values, belief, customs and attitude which have been the enemy of progress in Africa. This can be related to agriculture, majority of the local farmers are strong believer of religion, values, customs, attitude and belief, which has in one way or the other been an enemy of progress to food production because it has made change difficult to adopt by them. Government infrastructure also have a role to play when it comes rural development and farmer’s knowledge acquisition.

Things we should know about rural farmers would include their mentality towards agricultural development, their beliefs and attitude towards innovation, their knowledge and skills for the extensive manipulation of the production of food.  It would bring to our consciousness what we need to know when it comes to acquisition of land in rural areas and how to rapport with the villagers so as to bring the best out of them. The state the production in their area is, the major players they work with in the rural settings and many more.

Here are the things to note:

1 The mentality: Rural farmers have excellent mentality when it comes to religion, marriage, marginalized group, entitlement, knowledge set skills and extension agent. The mentality of rural farmers affect the rate at which food is produced, some have basic taboo’s that does not allow them produce food at a particular time of the year, some have taboo’s that does not allow the marginalized group to be involved with agriculture, some have values and belief that the women in their community cannot speak with strangers until the stranger meet their husband, the children many times are not allowed to go to school to learn and develop their farming skills, all of this have in one way or the other lower food production. 

2 Science and technology: Science and Technology encompasses the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment, and technology is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. Science and technology is the leading development in the developed country helping and developing every sector including health, entertainment and mining, rural farmers in the developed countries embrace innovations and they believe in science coupled with technology which has helped their development overtime. Majority of Nigeria farmers don’t even know about the innovations that can help the development of their enterprise. Extension agents are not well equipped to reach out to the local farmers, hence the low production of food.

3 Production state: Rural farmers especially in Nigeria still produce food using the crude methods, traditional and local method of food production is still practice in the local farm community hence the low production of insufficient food. The state of food production in Nigeria is poor and it is important educated farmers and extension agent come in to help the rural farmers deliberately by extensive training research and development.

4 Marketing and processing state: I was on a bike passing through a cocoa farmer house one day and I noticed some set of other bike men loading this cocoa and arranging it on a bike, my bike driver picked up a conversation of how each of the bag the other bike men were arranging cost a lot and they are going to sell to some other people who would price them low and process this into other end product. Marketing and processing for rural farmers remain crude as they have not really tapped the production phase so the marketing and processing phase seems difficult for the rural farmers.  

5 Infrastructural management: these are the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise development. Infrastructure are not just roads or supply of water or good land management or good power supply or waste management or telecommunication and many more. Almost all the rural community are deprived of this, no good road, no power supply (some don’t even have power supply at all), the deprivation of this things have made rural farmers less productive.

All these are what must be known about rural farmers and rural farming in case you are opportuned to get a land for agricultural purposes in a rural community.

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