10 Ways to Improve Agricultural Mechanization in Nigeria


10 Ways to Improve Agricultural Mechanization in Nigeria

The mechanization of agriculture or the use of mechanical power to carry out various agricultural activities is very important in today's world.

This is a transition from using human or animal power to perform agricultural tasks to using machines to perform all types of agricultural activities. Agricultural mechanization includes the production, distribution, operation and maintenance of all types of agricultural machinery, machinery, equipment and tools.

Some of the purposes of agricultural mechanization are to eliminate tedious and stressful farm work (routine work) and increase the yield and productivity of agricultural products. Agricultural mechanization was introduced in Nigeria because the country has large farms that use large and sophisticated machinery to carry out most agricultural activities.

However, despite the introduction of mechanization, non-mechanized domestic farming communities still face challenges. This is because despite the fact that a large part of the population (about 70%) is engaged in agriculture, few people have access to modern agricultural machinery and technology.

The largest proportion of the agricultural population still carries out agricultural activities using primitive methods. This has resulted in low profitability, which means that the volume of products produced is not enough to meet the needs of the cooperating population in Nigeria.

Less than 10% of the world's developed countries are engaged in agriculture, but this does not matter because they not only provide enough production for their countries, but also have surplus for export. But that is not the case in Nigeria. This is because the few who introduced agricultural mechanization could not produce enough to meet the needs of the Nigerian people, let alone export to other countries.

A representative example is the importation of rice, even though there are rice farms in Nigeria. Therefore, it is necessary to improve the mechanization of agriculture.

This article explores ten possible ways to improve agricultural mechanization in Nigeria so that the country can meet all the basic needs of its citizens.

The Ways to Improve Agricultural Mechanization in Nigeria are, Establish and support agricultural distribution services to inform farmers about the adoption of agricultural mechanization, Use of renewable energy, It provides credit facilities available to farmers purchasing agricultural machinery, We produce household machines at a low price, Labor force training in agricultural machinery, Establishment of local agricultural machinery factories/workshops, Build a good transportation network, It funds research projects in the field of agricultural machinery, Encouraging the private sector to work with governments to improve agricultural mechanization, Increasing the number of agricultural machines available to farmers etc.

The improvement of agricultural mechanization in Nigeria can only be discussed in this direction because agricultural mechanization is a transition from the use of human or animal power to the use of machines to carry out agricultural activities.

Before considering ways to improve agricultural mechanization, it is important to note that the transition from the use of human and animal power to the use of machine power is a gradual process. You should not rush.

Improvement doesn't happen overnight. However, if the methods below are applied consistently, Nigeria will experience improvements in agriculture through the mechanization of agriculture.


Here are the Steps on How to Improve Agricultural Mechanization in Nigeria
10 Ways to Improve Agricultural Mechanization in Nigeria

• Increasing the number of agricultural machines available to farmers

There are too few agricultural machines and implements in Nigeria. According to a report entitled “Improving Food Security through Mechanization, the Road to Nigeria” written by Jimoh Babatunde of vanguardngr.com five years ago, there were a total of 40,000 tractors in Nigeria. Serving his country was not enough. In the past, federal and state governments have bought and sold some tractors and other implements to state agricultural centers and farmers' associations, but access has been very difficult. There have been cases of queens entering these agricultural centers to use tractors because there are not enough tractors to go around.

The government needs to buy more tractors and other farm machinery. But to ensure an equal distribution of farm machinery and equipment, federal and state governments must find a way to know the number of farmers in their jurisdictions.

This can be done with the help of agricultural higher education institutions, which assist the government in obtaining data. This helps the government to determine the amount of farm machinery to buy and distribute to the farming population at a given time.

• Development of inexpensive locally made machines

Another way to improve agricultural mechanization in Nigeria is to encourage local production of some agricultural machinery and equipment through local sourcing of raw materials. Nigeria is known to have abundant natural resources, some of the raw materials that make up the components of these agricultural machines.

For example, iron and carbon, which form steel and are processed into key components of all agricultural machinery, are available in commercial quantities in Gyeonggi Province and other regions. This means that local production of some agricultural machinery is possible in Nigeria if the right conditions are created.

Therefore, it is necessary to produce cheap farm machinery locally and sell it to farmers at a reasonable price. If farmers could easily purchase domestically manufactured but highly efficient machines to assist them in their farming operations, there would be no need to purchase expensive foreign machines that are not suitable for the environment.

It will become easier to mechanize agriculture and productivity will increase. Research should also be done on certain types of hand-operated machines whose performance, even when operated by hand, exceeds the power of humans or animals.  It must be designed for easy maintenance and repair. This encourages farmers to buy and use them.

• Establishing and supporting agricultural extension services to inform farmers about the adoption of agricultural mechanization

Agricultural extension services should be established to educate farmers on the need to use agricultural machinery in all agricultural activities to increase productivity.

It is true that Nigeria has various agricultural extension services established by the federal government, state governments, international agricultural organizations and some universities, but these services do not seem to address the introduction and adoption of new technologies by farmers. Therefore, the government should establish extension services at all levels and the focus should be on introducing new machinery that can be easily adapted to each farmer's circumstances.

These agricultural extension service activities should also include teaching farmers how to operate farm machinery and tools and how to maintain these tools to ensure long-term use. Agricultural extension agents also act as liaisons between farmers and the organizations that produce these machines. Let me explain. Acting as a liaison agent, the agricultural extension agent conveys all the feedback from the farmers to the agricultural machinery manufacturing organization while training the farmers on how to use the newly introduced agricultural machinery.

The feedback could be about the difficulties farmers face in operating and maintaining these machines. Agricultural extension agents delegate these tasks to the organizations that manufacture the machines so that engineers can solve these problems.

If farmers realize that agricultural extension services have established a communication channel through which they can express their views on the agricultural machinery industry, they will be encouraged to use the agricultural machinery introduced. This will improve agricultural mechanization in Nigeria.


• Providing credit facilities available to farmers purchasing agricultural machinery

One of the problems with agricultural mechanization in Nigeria is that farmers cannot buy agricultural machinery because of low income.

Most of these agricultural machinery and tools are very expensive for the average farmer to purchase and maintain. At the time of writing, the situation has worsened as the price of agricultural machinery has increased with the dollar exchange rate at 360 naira to the dollar in the parallel market.

To solve this problem, the previous government created credit facilities with the help of banks and other financial institutions to extend credit to farmers. But all these transfer plans have a common problem. This means that there is a bureaucratic bottleneck in obtaining loans for the purchase of agricultural machinery.

The attitude of the few farmers who received these loans did not help either. That's because they used the loan money for non-agricultural expenses. This did not encourage financial institutions to extend loans to farmers.

One way to solve this problem, which is part of the solution mentioned in the previous paragraph, is to use a registered agricultural agent, who acts as a witness in the lending process. Someone else must act as a guarantor, putting themselves in the farmer's shoes and making sure the money is used to buy the equipment the farmer needs.

Unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles in obtaining the requested loans should also be removed. The process of obtaining a loan for the purchase of agricultural machinery should be very simple and quick.

Again, mechanisms must be put in place to monitor farmers' access to credit resources and ensure that these loans are actually used for the purposes for which they were approved, in this case the purchase of agricultural machinery.


• Training of agricultural technical personnel

Agricultural machinery is not automatically created. One person has to create the design and another person builds what is drawn on paper and brings the design to life.

Therefore, many people need to be trained in the design, assembly, maintenance and repair of agricultural machinery. Currently, there are some institutions that deal with the training and education of specialists engaged in the assembly and repair of agricultural machinery.

These institutions must be supported financially and materially. Again, more people should be encouraged to take these training courses.

It is clear that Nigeria needs agricultural machinery personnel who can solve the problems farmers face while using machinery. The training also aims to develop managers who can design machinery suitable for farmers' environments and provide solutions to problems faced by farms.

When farmers see that agricultural technicians are well trained, they have more confidence in their workers and their products. This increase in confidence leads to the widespread use of man-made machinery, which in turn leads to improved agricultural mechanization in Nigeria.


• Establishment of local agricultural machinery factories/workshops

Favorable conditions should be created for the opening of local industries, machine shops, factories producing machines and tools at the local level.

This will encourage the further development of domestically produced machines and tools. In addition, jobs for agricultural machinery specialists will be provided through the opening of local industries, machine shops and factories.

The local production of agricultural machinery by these organizations increases the number of machines available to Nigerian farmers as they are readily available and sold at affordable prices. Farmers are encouraged to use more machinery when they can easily buy it from local factories at affordable prices. The use of local agricultural machinery will improve agricultural mechanization in Nigeria.


• Encouraging the private sector to work with the government to improve agricultural mechanization

Improving agricultural mechanization in Nigeria is not the government's job alone. The private sector must also participate.

Private organizations and wealthy entrepreneurs should therefore be encouraged to partner with government to improve agricultural mechanization in Nigeria. Partnerships with the private sector should include funding for research projects, investments in agricultural capacity and machinery, and donations to agricultural engineering faculties in higher education institutions to ensure continued operations.

Their partnership can also extend to helping farmers purchase the farm machinery and tools they need to streamline their farming operations. Research institutions can also approach the private sector when conducting research projects related to agricultural mechanization.

When you contact a private organization, you should explain to them what benefits you will receive after the project is completed.


• Use of renewable energy

For agricultural mechanization to become active, energy issues cannot be ignored. Energy issues are another challenge facing the adoption of agricultural machinery in agricultural activities. One of the main problems it faces in Nigeria is the irregular supply that has been experienced in most regions. As a result, most agricultural processing industries, which require a lot of energy to operate processing equipment, have been closed.

Let us understand that the use of machines for processing agricultural products is also a part of agricultural mechanization. Now is the time to think about how many farmers can generate their own power without relying on the national grid. Where possible, consider using renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydropower. Another problem is the use of conventional fuels to power agricultural machinery such as tractors and harvesters. Research is underway to shift from using fossil fuels such as kerosene or diesel to using environmentally friendly but renewable energy sources such as compressed air to power agricultural machinery.

Nigeria cannot be left out. It would be a huge step forward in agricultural mechanization if Nigerian farms could generate their own electricity using their own renewable energy sources instead of relying on the national power grid.


• Establishing an excellent transport network

Better transport facilities need to be developed in the country to facilitate the transport of farm machinery from local factories or workshops to markets and from markets to farmers.

Nigeria has all kinds of transport options. These means of transport must be used to the greatest extent so that agricultural machinery can move freely from production to purchase locations.

Road transport is the most popular form of transport of goods and people. Therefore, in order to ensure the free movement of agricultural machinery from factories to farms, it is necessary to build a main road connecting the machinery factories and farms and to restore the existing roads.

We also need to build good agricultural roads that connect agricultural machinery from farms to livestock barns so that heavy agricultural machinery can move freely from farms to livestock barns. This prevents unnecessary damage to farm machinery. 

In addition to road transport, other transport methods such as railways and waterways need to be explored and developed. The transport of agricultural machinery should not be limited to road transport. This is because there are agricultural machines that can be easily transported to their destination using other means of transport. For example, it is better to carry fishing gear at sea on a fishing boat.

Improvements in agricultural mechanization will occur rapidly if there are good transport routes. Because the agricultural machines will reach their destination at the right time.


• Funds research projects in the field of agricultural machinery

Projects related to agricultural machinery and equipment should be supported through funding. Unfortunately, many research institutions in Nigeria complain of lack of funding.

The government must show strong political will at all levels to support projects related to the development of agricultural machinery by allocating sufficient funds to research institutions and higher education institutions engaged in the development of environmentally friendly agricultural machinery for farmers. Research institutes for the development and production of agricultural machinery must also be increased.

These institutions require financial and material support from the state. If scientific institutions are supported, more agricultural machines will be produced.

With the help of agricultural experts, farmers can use these technologies themselves. This will lead to improved agricultural mechanization in Nigeria.


Final Thought

Improvement of agricultural mechanization is very important in Nigeria. The primitive agricultural practices still used by Nigeria's large farming population are inadequate to meet the needs of the country's large population.

Modern technology using agricultural machinery not only helps to improve the agriculture of the country but also helps to boost the economy of the country.

Improving agriculture through mechanization will earn Nigeria much respect in the National Commission. Therefore, all hands must join hands to improve agricultural mechanization in the country.

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