Many developing countries in West Africa including Nigeria are faced with numerous problems which militate against the development of agriculture. Some of these problems are:

(1) Inadequate Land or Land Tenure System

  • Land cannot be pledged, sold or used as collateral by an individual.
  • Those with means, but who are not members of the community, find it difficult to get land for farming activities. That is, non-indigenes of the community cannot acquire land or have access to it.
  • There is tendency to neglect parcels of useful land as no one readily considers it his/her interest to protect it from degradation.
  • It is characterized by litigations and misunderstanding.
  • Mechanized farming cannot be practised without permission of the whole community.
  • There is excessive land fragmentation over time.
  • Allotted land can be revoked by new leadership.
  • It does not encourage planting of permanent crops.



  • Fertilizers and manure should be used to increase production of crops in the available land.
  • Crop rotation should be practised by farmers.
  • The Land Use Decree of 1978 should be fully implemented to minimise the problems of land tenure.
  • Farmers should form co-operative societies for easy allocation of farm lands.


(2) Inadequate Finance or Credit Facilities

Most subsistence farmers are poor and do not have the finance to make the purchase of:

  • Land and agricultural tools and machinery;
  • Improved seeds, fertilizers and other chemicals;
  • Livestock, livestock feeds and drugs, materials for construction of farmstead or house.
  • Also, farmers have no access to loans or credit facilities to expand their farmland.
  • Farmers do not have the required collateral security to enable them to secure loans from banks.
  • High interest rate charged by banks at short repayable period prevents borrowing by farmers.
  • Farmers who get loans, at times, divert such loans to other purposes, such as chieftaincy and marriage ceremonies.



  • Agricultural banks like Nigeria Agricultural and Co-operative Bank (N.A.C.B.) should make loans available to farmers.
  • Farmers should form co-operative societies for easy procurement of loan from commercial banks.
  • Banks should reduce their high interest rate to encourage borrowing.
  • Collateral security should be in form of guarantee rather than in material forms, like land and buildings.


(3) Poor Transportation Network

  • Presence of bad roads or total lack of it makes distribution of produce to market very difficult, and this leads to wastage.
  • Some roads may be rendered useless during the rainy season.
  • The number of vehicles are inadequate because of the high cost of vehicles, machinery and spare parts.
  • There is high cost of transportation due to bad roads and inadequate vehicles and other means of transportation.
  • Most farms in rural areas are not linked to roads, and this eventually leads to wastage of food.
  • High cost of transport increases farmers’ cost of production and produce prices.
  • Inadequate diversification of means of transportation of agricultural products, e.g. inadequacy of rail network which is very essential for the transportation of agricultural goods.



  • Construction of new feeder roads to open up the rural areas.
  • Construction of water ways to link up the riverine areas.
  • Construction of railways to connect rural areas to the urban centres.
  • Provision of vehicles, boats and trains to facilitate the distribution of farm products.
  • Reduction in transportation cost to make such affordable to the rural farmers.
  • Regular supply of fuel.
  • Rehabilitation of existing damaged roads.
  • Availability of spare parts at affordable prices.


(4) Inadequate Storage and Processing Facilities

  • Lots of produce are wasted due to inadequate storage and processing facilities.
  • Improper storage reduces the quantity and quality of farm produce.
  • Storage and processing facilities are expensive, leading to high cost of produce.
  • There is lack of technical know-how on food storage and processing.
  • Farm produce are sold off at cheap rate, leading to reduced income to the farmers.
  • Inadequate storage and processing facilities force farmers to produce just enough for their family and discourage them from large-scale farming.
  • Storage facilities like silos, rhumbus, cribs, barns and rafters are grossly inadequate.
  • Processing facilities like threshers, millers, graters, canning and sealing machines are also inadequate.
  • It may lead to scarcity of produce.



  • Storage facilities should be provided by the government at subsidised rates.
  • More people should be trained on the technology of food storage and processing.
  • Government should buy excess produce and store for future use.
  • Provision of silos in the rural areas for storage of grains by government.
  • Farmers should be encouraged to construct cribs, barns and rhumbus for proper storage of farm produce after harvesting.
  • Provision of cold stores for perishable produce and livestock products.
  • Provision of processing facilities such as corn mill, cassava grater, rice mill and oil palm press to facilitate the processing of farm produce after harvesting so as to enhance storage.
  • Provision of storage chemicals such as fumigants.
  • Provision of loans/credit facilities to farmers.


(5) Inadequate Farm Inputs

  • Farm inputs like chemicals, fertilizers, tools and implements are grossly inadequate.
  • Available farm inputs are of inferior quality, outdated and crude.
  • Modern farm inputs are not produced in Nigeria. Rather, they are imported.
  • Farm inputs are expensive to purchase and maintain.
  • Farm inputs, even when they are available, are not supplied to the farmers at the right time.



  • Farm inputs, like fertilizers, pesticides, feeds and drugs, should be made available in adequate quantities to farmers.
  • Government should subsidise the cost of farm inputs.
  • Farm inputs should be supplied at the right time to farmers.
  • Local sourcing of these inputs should be encouraged.
  • Establishment of tractor-hiring unit at affordable costs to farmers.
  • Establishment of seed service for the production and distribution of improved seeds to farmers.


(6) Inadequate Basic Amenities

  • Lack of basic amenities like electricity, pipe-borne water and proper healthcare makes able-bodied men and youths migrate from rural to urban areas in search of jobs.
  • There is lack of electricity in many rural areas for farm operations.
  • Inadequate storage facilities for farm produce.
  • Poor processing facilities for farm produce.
  • Inadequate provision of potable water for domestic use.
  • There is shortage of water for irrigation purposes for all-season cropping.
  • Poor health-care services reduce the productivity of farmers.
  • There is also lack of recreational facilities in rural areas.



  • Provision of electricity in the rural areas.
  • Provision of potable and drinkable water.
  • Provision of health-care centers in rural areas.
  • Provision of storage and processing facilities to rural farmers.
  • Establishment of dams to facilitate irrigation agriculture in rural areas.


(7) Poor Marketing System

  • There are no organised marketing channels for farm produce.
  • There is lack of proper pricing for agricultural produce.
  • The negative activities of middlemen worsen the marketing of agricultural produce.
  • Poor marketing of produce discourages more production by local farmers.
  • Absence of commodity boards to aid the purchase of farm produce.
  • There is also the problem of fluctuation in the price of agricultural produce.
  • Inadequate good roads and storage facilities.



  • Government should buy excess produce from farmers.
  • Government should stabilise prices of farm produce in the country.
  • The activities of middlemen who buy produce at cheaper rates and sell at higher prices should be checked.
  • Commodity boards should be reestablished to help organise the marketing of agricultural produce.


(8) Inadequate Agricultural Education and Extension

  • Lack of improved/better farm management decision making.
  • Inability to procure improved farm inputs.
  • Lack of access to marketing information and strategy.
  • Inability to keep accurate farm records.
  • Absence of loans and their utilization.
  • Inability to improve the farmers’ social disposition.
  • Inability to help the farmers to understand and adopt modern farming techniques for improved productivity.
  • Lack of motivation for youths to take up farming as a profession.
  • Inability to relay farmers’ problems to government ministries, research institutes and universities.
  • Inability to convey information from government ministries, universities and research institutes to farmers.



  • Mass literacy programme should be embarked upon by the government, e.g. nomadic education.
  • Rural farmers should be trained on modern systems of farming.
  • Adequate and qualified extension officers should be employed to teach peasant farmers new innovations and techniques in agriculture.


(9) Problems of Pests and Diseases

  • Pests and diseases reduce the yield of agricultural produce.
  • They also reduce the quality of the produce.
  • Pests and diseases also reduce the income of farmers.
  • Farmers are thereby discouraged from production.



  • Insecticides and other chemicals used in the control of pests and diseases should be supplied at subsidised rates.
  • Pests and diseases control units or deparments should be established to control pests and diseases.
  • Farmers should be trained on easy identification, prevention and control of pests and diseases.


(10) Unpredictable Climate

  • Unpredictable climate generally discourages serious farming activities.
  • Low rainfall leads to poor harvest of crops.
  • Low sunshine intensity reduces the rate of photosynthesis which eventually leads to low yield.
  • High or too low temperature does not permit the normal growth of crops.



  • Irrigation practices which is the artificial supply of water to farmland should be adopted in areas of low rainfall.
  • Water conservation techniques, such as mulching should be practised.
  • Planting of cover crops like centrosema spp, calopogonium spp should be practised, as it helps to conserve and prevent evaporation of water from the soil.
  • Teaching peasant farmers new innovations in agriculture.


(11) Inadequate Tools and Machinery

  • Farm tools and machinery like ploughs, harrows, tractors and planters are grossly inadequate.
  • Use of simple farm tools like cutlass and hoe leads to low agricultural production. That is, output per unit time is low.
  • Farm tools and implements are expensive to purchase and maintain.
  • Most of the implements are not produced in West Africa; rather, they are imported.
  • Inadequate personnel to repair damaged machinery.
  • Most local farmers are so poor that they cannot afford to buy farm tools and implements.
  • Most of the implements are not produced in West Africa; rather, they are imported.
  • Inadequate personnel to repair damaged machinery.
  • Most local farmers are so poor that they cannot afford to buy farm tools and implements.
  • Farmers lack the skilled manpower in the maintenance, repair and operation of sophisticated farm machines.
  • Working with poor tools and implements is very tedious and labour intensive.
  • Only small areas of land are cultivated. It is time-consuming.
  • The use of poor tools discourage people from going into agriculture.
  • It causes faster ageing in the farming population.



  • Local fabrication of farm machinery and equipment should be encouraged by government to make farm implements suitable to local conditions and be made available to farmers.
  • Introduction and utilization of modern farm machines and implements.
  • Establishment of tractor-hiring units to make the machines readily available to poor farmers who cannot afford to purchase the expensive farm machines.
  • Training of skilled manpower in the maintenance, repair and operation of. sophisticated farm machines.
  • Provision of subsidies to enable farmers to purchase modern equipment and tools.
  • Provision of loans or credit facilities to farmers.
  • Farmers should form co-operative societies to enable them to pool their resources together and purchase farm implements and machines.
  • There should be importation of appropriate machines and implements.


(12) Inconsistent Government Policies on Agriculture

  • Inconsistent government policies on agriculture reduce agricultural development.
  • These policies fail to recognise the peasant farmers that produce food for the country.
  • Most of the agricultural programmes are centered on fake city farmers who only collect money and use them for other purposes.
  • Most of the farmers do not have access to farm inputs provided through such policies.
  • Bad implementation of these policies reduce agricultural development.



  • Dynamic agricultural policies should be formulated and implemented.
  • The policies should recognise the true and genuine farmers.
  • Government should formulate policies that would allow private participation in agriculture.
  • All policies on agriculture should be properly implemented.


(13) Environmental Degradation

  • Desert encroachment exposes the soil to erosion.
  • Erosion renders the soil unpro-ductive and unsuitable for agriculture.
  • Oil spillage pollutes the fishing and drinking water and kills all the aquatic life, thus reducing the profit of the fishermen.
  • Drinking water for the farm family and their animals is polluted; thus exposing them to health risks.
  • Air pollution by toxic fumes from industrial gases reduces the quality of air available to the farm family and their animals.
  • Acid rains from air pollution cause soil acidity and destruction of crops.
  • Deforestation exposes the soil to erosion agents.
  • Overgrazing causes erosion and hard pans.
  • Bush burning damages the physical structure of the soil and reduces soil fertility.
  • Air pollution reduces photosynthesis and thus reduces yield.
  • Plant population for livestock consumption is reduced.



  • Flooding should be avoided.
  • Soil erosion should be properly checked.
  • Cover cropping should be practised.
  • Terracing and strip cropping should also be practised.
  • Pollution and deforestation should be avoided.


(14) Rural – Urban Migration

  • It leads to scarcity of labourers, resulting to high labour cost.
  • High cost of labour therefore leads to high cost of production.
  • It leads to decreased food and cash crop production.
  • It leads to decreased animal production.
  • It leads to decrease in export and hence GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
  • It leads to poor adoption of agricultural innovations.



  • Provision of social amenities in rural areas.
  • Provision of employment in rural areas.
  • Training of people on modern farming practices.
  • Provision of incentives to farmers in rural areas.
  • Provision of favourable prices for farm produce by the government.



  • Small farm holding, land fragmentation or land tenure system does not permit mechanisation.
  • The farming systems currently practised do not encourage mechanisation.
  • There are no access roads for machines.
  • It is costly or expensive to hire machines and most farmers are poor.
  • High running costs for machinery discourages mechanization.
  • Heavy tree stumps left after land clearing hinder use of machinery.
  • Machines or implements are expensive to purchase.
  • Machines are costly to maintain.
  • Inadequate capital or credit facilities. Machine spare parts are not easily available.
  • There is low level of technical knowhow about machinery.
  • There is inadequate extension services or education for farmers.
  • Unfavourable soil terrain or topography prevents mechanization.
  • There is inadequate farm labourers or farm hands to enhance mechanization.
  • Poor market structures or system for agricultural produce discourage farmers from large scale production.
Advantages of local domestic helper.