ROLES OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS IN AGRICULTURE
Meaning and characteristics of NonGovernmental Organisations in Agriculture.
- They are established by private agencies or corporate bodies concerned with the development of agriculture all over the world.
- They are not owned or controlled by the government.
- They are privately – funded.
- Their activities cut across many countries with specific aims to developing improved species of crops and livestock breeds.
- They are non-profitmaking organisations.
- They do not pay corporate taxes.
Examples of Non-governmental Organisations involved in improving agricultural production are:
- International Institute for Tropical Agriculture;
- West African Rice Development Agency (WARDA);
- International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA);
- International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT);
- International Livestock Research Institute (I.L.R.I);
- Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO);
- (vii) Farmers’ Cooperatives;
- World Vision International (in Ghana);
- Hunger Project (in Ghana);
- Adventist Relief Agency (both in and Gambia);
- Catholic Relief Services (in Gambia);
- International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Ways in which NGOs Contribute to Agricultural Production in West Africa
- They assist in rural development by providing social amenities like road, water supply and health centres.
- They carry out research to improve or develop new crop varieties.
- They carry out research to improve or develop breeds of animals.
- Provision of financial support, funding or subsidies agricultural projects.
- Improvement of farmers’ awareness and agricultural knowledge through extension services.
- They carry out socio-economic research to understand the peasant farmers with a view to assisting them.
- They fund research for better farming methods and also develop farm implements.
- They control pests through the production of pest-resistant varieties of crops.
- They control diseases through the production of disease-resistant varieties of crops.
- They develop appropriate farming system.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF SOME NON- GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS IN AGRICULTURE
1) West African Rice Development Agency (WARDA): The aims are:
- to promote the cultivation of rice within the West African sub-region.
- to develop rice species with high yield.
- to develop rice species with high quality.
- to produce rice species which can adapt to the West African sub-region.
- to develop disease-resistant varieties of rice.
- to develop rice which can meet the nutritional needs of the West African sub-region.
- to develop pest-resistant varieties of rice.
2) International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA): This institute is located in Ibadan, Nigeria, and it serves to develop agriculture in many African countries. The aims and objectives include:
- to promote the cultivation of food crops like maize, rice, cowpea and yam within the tropics.
- to develop high yielding food crops.
- to develop food crops which are of high quality.
- to develop food crops that can resist diseases.
- to grow or develop food crops that can adapt to the climate of tropical countries.
- to encourage local farmers to grow the crops improved by the institute.
- to improve the methods of processing food crops.
- to improve the utilization methods of food crops.
- to develop appropriate farming systems for the West African sub-region.
3) International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA): This is established:
- to promote the rearing of animals within Africa;
- to breed animals with high production capabilities, e.g. high milk production, high egg and meat production;
- to breed animals that can produce high quality of products;
- to breed animals that can adapt to the African climate and environment;
- to breed animals with early maturity and fast growth rate.
4) International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT): The aims are:
- to promote the cultivation of selected crops in semi-arid regions;
- to develop or improve certain crops which can adapt to the dry regions of Africa;
- to develop irrigation system that will promote the cultivation of these crops in the dry regions of Africa;
- to produce crops in abundance which can serve for local and foreign consumptions.
ROLES OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN AGRICULTURE
Science and technology has played an important role in the development of agriculture in many countries. These roles include:
- Implements and Machinery: Science and technology has aided the development of implements and machinery like tractors, planters, ridgers, plough, etc which have replaced the old tools such as cutlass, hoe and shovel.
- Pests and Disease Control: Through the aid of science and technology, chemicals like insecticides, fungicides, avicides, fumigants and nematicides have been developed to combat the problems caused by pests and other agents that cause diseases such as viruses and bacteria.
- Animal and Plant Breeding: Various breeds of animals and varieties of plants have been developed through the application of genetics and breeding. As a result of these, plants and animals now exhibit early maturity, high yield, resistance to pests and diseases and other traits required by farmers.
- Animal Nutrition: Animal nutrition has also been developed. Feeds are now formulated to meet the nutritional demand of animals.
- Transport Network: The transport network has also been developed through the construction of roads, railways, ships, waterways and airways, which aid the movement of food from rural areas to urban centres and for other speedy delivery purposes.
- Processing Machines: Science and technology has also helped to develop special machines like incubators, milking machines, grinders and millers which make the processing of food easy and possible within a short possible time.
- Weather and Climate: Science and technology has equally helped the farmers to understand the weather and climate of their area, and by so doing has helped them to determine the type of crop to grow and the kind of animal to rear in a particular area or locality.
- Development of Fertilizers: The development and application of fertilizers have helped to increase crop yields. Through the help of science and technology, farmers have been able to know and determine soil fertility level before planting. They are able to determine nutrient deficiencies, organic matter content, water-holding capacity, etc and the type of crop that can do well on a particular soil.
- Farm Building and Structures: Technology has helped the farmer in designing and constructing farm houses, farm structures like poultry houses, pig pens and cattle pens for livestock animals. Farm storage structures like barns and silos are equally built.
- Development of Irrigation Practices: Science and technology has also helped to develop irrigation practices in which water is applied to the soil artificially, especially during the dry season.
- Provision of Storage Facilities: Science and technology has also helped to develop storage facilities for the preservation of harvested products, e.g. silos.
- Development of Farm Management System: Improved farm management systems have also been developed with the aid of science and technology, eg. crop rotation and mixed farming.