Rain-Fed Farming Practises, Water is one of the most essential resources needed for plant growth. When plants have adequate water, they can absorb nutrients from the soil and produce high yield crops. In Nigeria, rain is the natural source of water that most farmers depend on. This implies that farming activities are limited to the available rainfall seasons.
Unfortunately, the volume of rainfall can be unpredictable due to changes in climate conditions. Hence, farmers might not be able to guarantee their yields whenever there is shortage of rainfall. What these means is that it can negatively impact food production and yield
1. More farmers rely on manual farming system.
Farmers are at the mercy of rainfall, hence, farm activities such as planting, application of fertilizers, weeding and mulching would be have to be timed according to occurrence of rain.
This crude system of farming reduces the control a farmer has over factors of production on his farm, and can lead to low productivity.
2. Most farms have low or inconsistent yields.
Farmers that depend on rain-fed farming are restricted to plant during the period of the year that rain falls. By relying on rain-fed system of agriculture, farmers are susceptible to low yields whenever rainfall is not as expected. Farmers that plant during the late planting are also susceptible to insect infestations on farms, as some pests of plants can be avoided by planting at a particular period of the year. All these mean that farmers are unable to make optimum profits from farm.
3. Farmers experience volatile Profits
With most farmers in Africa cultivating at the same time (usually during the rainy season), it is expected that there would be glut in the market during harvest. In addition to market glut, there is problem of poor storage and inadequate processing methods which lead to waste of valuable food products.
Middle men exploit this to their advantage by dictating market prices. They buy cheap from the farmers and re-sell at almost 5x the price to the detriment of poor farmers. Farmers are then unable to enjoy better profits from off season harvest which is when demands and prices of food are at its highest.
4.Farmers have difficulty in accessing funds.
To combat his challenges, a farmer needs funds to increase farm size, purchase better seedlings, employ farm labour, purchase mechanized tools, build adequate storage facilities etc. However, with low income and revenue, farmers are unable to access much needed funds to increase their farms capacity.
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Due to the problems listed above, most farms in Africa are unable to realize their full potentials as banks and financial institutions are unwilling to support farming ventures due to its high risk rate, which is even increased when a farmer relies solely on rains for farming.
It is time for farmers to start considering alternative sources to rain-fed farming like irrigation in order to be able to farm all year round.
Author Bio: Probityfarms is a FREE farm management and accounting platform for small-holder farmers in Nigeria. Sign up for a free account today http://www.probityfarms.com. For more advice on modern farming practices,, you can reach out to cofounder/CMO of Probityfarms via email on firstname.lastname@example.org