Nine in every 10 Nigerians regard agriculture as one of the most viable means of driving the nation’s economy positively and pulling it out its current recession, latest public opinion poll results released by NOIPolls Limited has revealed.
It is unarguable that Nigeria’s economy is tied to accruable revenue from oil but with the current free fall of crude oil prices, diversification is necessary for the revival of the country’s economy and agriculture has been tipped as one of the possibilities.
Nigeria with its abundant arable land and over 160 million people, combined with its ability to grow a broad range of agricultural produce can become a leading agricultural power in the continent.
Although 78 percent of respondents disclosed that they or their immediate family members engage in farming, only 15 percent indicated that they are involved in commercial farming. Additionally, 35 percent specified that they are engaged in subsistence farming while 50 percent mentioned that they are involved in both subsistence and commercial farming. The implication of this is the unavailability of cash crops like groundnut, cocoa, rubber, palm oil produce, etc. for export purposes.
Furthermore, out of the 78 percent who said that they are involved in farming, 83 percent stated that they grow staple crops, 28 percent say they grow vegetables while 20 percent engage in poultry farming. This could be ascribed to the large number of people who are currently combining subsistence and commercial farming due to the high demand and consumption for staple foods.
Despite being endowed with abundant natural resources and substantial agricultural potentials, the Nigerian farmers are faced with enormous challenges as revealed in this survey. Lack of fertilizer is tipped as one of the major challenges farmers face as stated by (61 percent) of the respondents, lack of agricultural loans (35 percent) and high costs of farm inputs (21 percent) were also mentioned as issues hindering their efforts. To cushion these effects, 51 percent opined that farmers should be provided with enough incentives in form of fertilizers, improved seedlings, etc. and 48 percent advocated agricultural loans to farmers while 13 percent encouraged the provision of mechanized farming equipment to farmers to enhance the growth of agriculture in Nigeria.
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