This research was carried out to determine the problems affecting small-scale farmers in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State. Sixty questionnaires were drawn to generate the necessary information to satisfy the aim of this research and they were randomly administered in most of the farming location within the study area. The data analysis based on the findings shows that the most limiting factors to farming activities in the region is finance. 63.33% of the population depended on their personal income while only 36.67% had access to banks or cooperative societies for their farm funding. In addition, land was also noted to mitigate farming operations in the area due to the current multiple use of land in the area.
Agricultural production in developing countries has largely been on subsistence basis. The farmers only produce for themselves and immediate families and the quantity of goods produced are grossly inadequate for the growing population. There is an increased wide-spread in the level of poverty amongst the people especially those living in the rural areas. Small scale farming had become the major way to tackle the problem of lack and poverty in this area. An odd growing situation of unemployment in recent years had led many f the rural/urban dwellers into small scale farming and today, the small scale farmers are known for their important and huge contributions to the Gross National product, they are currently the producers of about 98 percent of the food consumed in Nigeria with the only exception of wheat.
It is imperative for government, non-government agencies and cooperate individuals to help in ameliorating the problems that militates against the farming activities of these small scale farmers in order to enhance a better food and raw amterials supplies in and around the Nigerian environment. Over the years deliberate, though ineffective effort have been made by donors and government to bring about agricultural development without much to show for it much of the failure can be attributed to the adapted transformation approach to agriculture which is characterized by the introduction of a variety of large scale farming and producing technologies. It is however gratifying to note that there is new a shift in emphasis from the big scale transformation approach to the small scale improvement strategy approach which attuned to our age long farm practice.
Information is an essential ingredient in agricultural development programmes but Nigerian farmers seldom feel the impact of agricultural innovations either because they have no access to such information or because it is poorly disseminated. This research work is aimed at revealing the problems faced by small scale farmers in Ughelli-South in order to showcase them for possible solutions by the various arms of government, non-governmental organizations and interested individuals.
A redirection of attention to agriculture had long-time been strategized by government and non-governmental agencies as the right antidote to the crises of unemployment in Nigeria, yet majority of the rural dwellers seek migration opportunities hence, compounding the general unemployment situation and food shortages in the country. An investigation to know the problems that have made individual (small scale) farming unattractive becomes imperative.
The purpose of this study is to ascertain the major problems that hiders the production activities of small scale farmers (crops and animals production) which when addressed will serve as a direct measure to food shortages and an indirect measure to the lingering problems of unemployment.
1. Does small scale farming significantly increase the income earned by the people of Ughelli South Local Government Area?
2. Is small scale farming the main activity available to the people of Ughelli South?
3. Had small scale farming been able to reduce unemployment in Ughelli South?
4. Had the food production from small scale farming in this area been able to meet the general food demand of the dwellers of Ughelli South?
5. Are young school leavers attracted to small scale farming in Ughelli South?
Rural-Urban migration due to unattractive/farming problems and unemployment had complicated life existence in the urban environment resulting in a high population density, increase in food demand and cost, traffic congestion amongst others. This research work is set to provide informative hints on the problems in Ughelli South and also to provide useful information to government establishment aimed at improving farming and lives of the rural dwellers.
The investigation is limited to farmers that have farmed for at least three to four years within the study area in Arable Crop farming with cultivated fields of less than five-hectares, domestic animal rearers with less than five thousand fishes in their ponds and also, home-garden vegetable farmers scattered around in the local government area.
Small Scale Farming: This is the type of agriculture created in a subsistence level, void of commercialization.
Large-Scale Farming: this is a commercial type of agriculture it involves a large production of crops and animals intended for a widespread distribution to wholesalers or retail outlets.
Gross-National Product: The total values of goods produced and services provided by a country during one year, it is usually the sum total of the gross-domestic product and the net product.
Rural-Urban Migration: It refers to the movement of people from the rural areas to the urban (more developed) centres for the purpose of getting a better education, job, health facilities, wages and standard of living.
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