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LATEST 863-1 Meet Garfar Lawal a colleague and friend of mine. During one of our many conversations in the office he was kind enough to volunteer to do a write-up on Farm Mechanization in Nigeria.  Gafar graduated with a degree in Agriculture Engineering and since graduation has worked in the Agric sector. He is also an active member of the Agricultural Engineering Association. Below is his perspective.

Farm mechanisation is the process of developing agricultural machines and technology and substituting this machine power for human and animal power in agricultural production practices, greatly increasing farm worker productivity. Besides improving production efficiency, mechanization encourages large scale production and improves the quality of farm produce. On the other hand, it displaces unskilled farm labor, causes environmental pollution, deforestation and erosion.

‘A man with the hoe’ to a greater extent still remains the description of the Nigerian farmer today in spite of decades of significant investments made in the sector by the government and international agencies. Statistics also show that Nigeria is one of the least mechanised farming countries in the world, at 0.27 hp/hectare which is far below the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recommendation of 1.5hp/hectare. With less than three tractors per thousand hectares, it is no wonder why Nigeria imports much of her food. It will not be far from the truth to describe the average Nigerian farmer as aged with limited or no education who practices outdated methods which is labour intensive with little or no use of mechanised tools. As a result the youths who should be the next generation of farmers perceive agriculture as a world of drudgery for losers and therefore shunned.

sustfarming

However we cannot ignore the changing landscape in the Agric sector.  In the past few years we have seen a paradigm shift in the way agriculture is being perceived. It is no more looked at as a development tool but as a business enterprise with the potential to generate vast amounts money. This paradigm shift is encouraging the youths to view agriculture as a potential career path as opposed to  viewing it as hard and boring energy consuming work with little or no returns.

The Agricultural Transformation Agenda recognises that for it to achieve any level of success farm mechanisation must play a fundamental role. The ATA identified provision of Mechanization Services as crucial to complement the implementation strategy of the various crops under the Agenda. The crops include Rice, Maize, cotton Soybean, Oilpalm, Cassava and many other value crops. The population of Nigeria is estimated at 160 million and by 2050 we would have the need to feed over 300 million people. It is of necessity therefore to attain self-sufficiency and keep pace with increase in population growth and consumption pattern of the teeming population through Agricultural Mechanization.

BENEFITS OF AGRICULTURAL MECHANISATION

  • Mechanisation will boost the food production which will lead to exportation of the excess in the production so as to generate income for the country through foreign exchange earnings.
  • Agricultural mechanisation had made the level of information dissemination to increase.
  • Youth participation is encouraged in the field of agricultural extension and rural development due to incorporation of farm machine into agriculture
  • Farmers are aided in improving marketing processes such as packaging, grading and standardizing commodities and reducing losses in marketing channels, ware housing and storage.
  • Farm Mechanization encourages multiple cropping which was not possible under traditional farming.
  • Reduction in drudgery.
  • Greater area under cultivation.

There are a few disadvantages of farm mechanisation such as: being dangerous if not handled properly, initial cost of investment is quite high, some may argue that the tools are not environmental friendly. Nevertheless the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

In my own opinion, agricultural mechanisation will play a vital role in aggressively boosting food production , thereby giving room for employment and also making agriculture more attractive to the youths, who are the next generation of farmers.

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agripedia/GLOSSARY/farmmech.htm

http://blogs.worldbank.org/publicsphere/when-robots-attack?cid=EXT_TWBN_D_EXT

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanised_agriculture

http://sunnewsonline.com/new/business/nigeria-tops-countries-with-least-mechanized-farming-hargrave/

http://www.fmard.gov.ng/index.php/issues-in-agriculture/94-the-role-of-mechanization-services-in-the-ata

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17 thoughts on “Farm Mechanization in Nigeria by Gafar Lawal

  1. Good and well said Gafar, but only if the Federal Government will channel resources and provide young graduates with employment in the Agric sector and also develop the Agric sector

    • Trust me Dare, there are a lot of structures the FG have put in place to empower the youth in Nigeria but they are now trying to right their wrongs of the past. They now train the graduates on how to set up agric. businesses and they support them financially and with inputs example is the AgricYes in Lagos and other states. Lets face it man… your better off working for yourself

  2. I think we really need mechanized system of farming, Nigerians are hungry and virtually everything is imported. We need to at least produce our food which is a compliment of mechanised farming. Good right-up Mr. Gafar . The whole Nigerians needs to read this and educate themselves. Mechanised Agriculture is the secret of the United States’ power.

  3. Quite an interesting read……….it is certainly no news that Farm mechanisation, is certainly of significant importance to strategically placing Nigeria on the foot print of food product and to ensure food security in the long run.

    The Article has detailed the many importance, howbeit left out the practical implications and implementation. It is ok for us or anyone to debate the importance, which is immaterial, implementation, which comes in sourcing and funding remains a huge challenge, however i strongly believe that the Nigeria Governments have strongly invested in Farm mechanisation across the states, what we haven’t focused on really is educating young ones and the span of the awareness. That is where i have find this article an interesting one, though it requires more detailed information and statistics to inform the read and stimulate his/her thought process towards a worth change in perspective of agriculture production.

    Besides farm mechanisation, there are other proven methods around the world on improved productivity, efficiency and yield, witl minimal labour application.

    These are but not limited to covered production, Hydroponics and acquaponics…………Just to mention a few.

    But in general, i feel this is an exciting write up worthy of developing on further and posted around the social media, to increase awareness.

    • Thanks for your comments Obinna. The government is actively working on educating the youth on the opportunities in the Agric sector e.g Rice for Jobs, Agric YES (youth empowerment scheme). However there is still a lot more to be done. You are right we have to go beyond debating the importance of farm mechanisation and seek an efficient method of financing and implementation.

      Aquaponics and hydroponics are interesting concepts but I think we should walk before we start running and considering that we have 60% of the world’s unused cropland, there is plenty of land for us to focus on growing our food on land. As we begin to make progress we can then consider using this type of technology.

      If you would like to do a write up on the suggestions you have made, it will be well received. Thanks again

      • Hi Kofo,

        Many thanks for the opportunity to further highlight on the subject matter, i strongly maintain that i am fully supportive of agricultural Mechanisation, which obviously by no means is a way forward, if you read clearly between the lines of my submission, you will observe that the greatest challenge is funding and implementation, the Nigerian system is not very structured to facilitate farm mechanisation for obvious reasons in which corruption and education gap is top on the list.

        My remit in this matter is that, the huge cost involved in farm mechanisation and the poor government structure , makes it untenable or this to be a major success. Again, Government cannot be driving this process if it will be a success, it is only In Africa where government is directly involved in funding community projects such as procurement and distribution of tractors and farm implements to so called beneficiaries and on what terms. this should be a private – public partnership, in which Government acts as facilitators and enabling the sector to thrive through a well structured private initiative. That is why 10% of Americans are producing the entire food in the country, sub region and the rest of the world. it is private driven and Government enabled. We must shift from our over reliance on Government funding which is always directed towards sustaining corruption and its associated elements.

        My point, agriculture mechanisation can only thrive in Nigeria once the private sector are allowed to be the drivers in the sector.

        As for hydroponics and acquaponics, i agree with you that it is a little bit advanced for us, however in the absence of a sustainable process, what are the options left for us, in the UK small family own poly tunnels where they grow their basic vegetables and root crops, which goes a long way to save tax payers from having to import tons of food for British citizens which ends up being wasted, thus contributing immensely to the local economy. Again, my point is that for young entrepreneurs who want to excel in the world of agriculture and cannot afford to huge loans for tractors and associate equipment, they can establish 1 or 2 tunnel farming system, which will put food oh his table as well as generate income through the most simplest form of farming with huge capital returns. the cost of set up is Just a little bit over 100k that is if you are importing the kit, but if manufactured locally, you could spend a little less than 50k and the return on investment is within months.. I have two for myself and i can assure you that it pays well. Anybody with basic education can operate the tunnel farming operation.

        I am open to a more superior facts, as these are merely my opinion.

        Kind regards

        • Just to Add Kofo, that i will be more than willing to share some of my success story with Covered productions , with pictures for illustration. however you will have to advise me how to upload pictures, or better still i can send the report to your email and you upload accordingly.

          Cheers

        • Hi Obinna look forward to receiving your write up and pictures. The current government policy is to create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and drive agriculture forward. Therefore if the process is started by the government, it is done so with the aim of transitioning it to the private sector in the short to medium term. Cheers

  4. This is such an important communication platform. First, I think the technical skills required for fabrication and maintenance of mechanized tools may hamper the sustenance and development of Farm Mechanisation in Nigeria. Secondly, as mentioned by Obinna, Urban Farming methods – including the type done on roof-tops – should really be encouraged. That way, many more people can be involved in farming, and fresh farm products can be more readily available nearer homes in the city.

    • Thanks for your comments Kunmi. You are right in highlighting that one of the key challenges is the maintenance of these equipments. This is an area where the youth can develop expertise in and probably build a business within this space. The government could assist in providing training for the young entrepreneurs.

      I agree with you that the government should encourage urban farming to get more people involved in agriculture. Maybe some of them may enjoy so much that they decide to go commercial 🙂

    • Kunmi, you are absolutely right and i share in your opinion, sustenance is key and that is a lacking element in our system, due to our size, structure and academic ability. And like you rightly noted, practicing farming practice that will ensure that the products are readily available is key. When a young graduate, realises that he will be tied to a grant of over a million naira to sustain mechanization, he will be roundly put off by the huge financial obligations even before his business starts and that may not seem attractive to him, again labour intensive system of farming is a turn off for the modern generation and that is why you see very litle interest in agricultural production, even those who study it in school want to work in big ministries and be managers and not entrepreneurs or drivers of the process, because it is not very attractive. Improved, system of agriculture and guarantied success rate is one that is very attractive to people and what we need in this country is the availability of these produce and the more people involved in the production of basic household food stuffs, will ensure that we cut out the huge importation of basic vegetables like cucumber, cabbage and other salad products, which costs the country billions of dollars in consumption and waste.

      The key is improved access to production with higher returns which would enhance effective production chain as well as increased disposable income for producers.

  5. Quite an interesting bit on farm mechanisation,he took his time to talk about the importance of farm mechanisation. But I’d like you to shed light on government initiatives which help individual farmers or groups to acquire farm machineries at subsidized costs or facilities directed @ acquiring these machines at unit interest rates.

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