Many farmers consider going into groundnut production in Nigeria. However, some of them do not consider the major constraints of the industry that affect both the profitability of this venture and the country’s economy. Learn about the factors that negatively affect the production of groundnuts in Nigeria. You might find out about many new things.
What is groundnut?
Groundnut is a legume crop that can be found mostly in the subtropical and semi-arid regions all over the world. Groundnut plant itself does not really matter in terms of produce; it is the seeds grown underground that are important. Groundnuts are a good source of protein and vitamins. They are also used in cooking oil production.
As we have mentioned before, groundnuts are grown in many countries with warm climate. Most productive regions are South America, Africa and Asia. And you will never guess which country is among the top producers!
Groundnut farming in Nigeria
Nigeria is among top 5 countries in terms of groundnut production. It has the biggest groundnut production in the whole of West Africa, producing more than half of all groundnut in the area.
As growing groundnut requires quite a lot of effort, groundnut farming provides many workplaces for people in rural Nigeria. The end product is important for both its food attributes and its market value. There is a demand for groundnuts all year round, which allows many people to earn a living by growing groundnuts. Nevertheless, this agricultural sector has many faults, which we will consider below.
Challenges in groundnut farming in Nigeria
As in many other African countries, groundnut production in Nigeria is hindered by many factors.
Let’s talk about them in detail:
One of the most prominent factors has already been mentioned: groundnut farming is not an easy task. For this reason, many experienced farmers tend to stay away from this type of farming. At the same time, while being quite time- and energy-consuming, groundnut production is not the most profitable venture. Those farmers that grow groundnuts often have other businesses that bring them extra profits, but also take away the time spent on groundnuts.
Relatively low profitability of groundnut farming inadvertently leads to the lack of funding. This, in turn, causes a whole range of issues. Lots of farmers have little to no access to good quality seeds, insecticides, fertilisers, herbicides and other instruments that would help them in the process of growing groundnuts.
But wait, there is more:
Almost always, farmers that lack resources also lack necessary knowledge and technology. As most of the farmers involved in groundnut production are not the wealthiest, this stumps the production rates of the whole region. People continue using outdated knowledge and technology, while the rest of the world moves forward.
A rather obvious factor that negatively influences groundnut production in Nigeria is insects, lots of insects. While there are plenty of insecticides on the market, it is not very cost-effective for many farmers to invest in them.
Instead, they invest heavily in herbicides, seeds, labour and fertiliser in order to balance this issue out. This might save some money in the end, but it would make groundnut production even more labour-intensive. At the same time, some insects can only be defeated with insecticides.
Among other reasons why groundnut production is not running at its full capacity, this reason might surprise you. Some researchers claim that poultry manure might negatively affect the groundnut farming.
Nigeria is full of poultry farms. This makes poultry manure readily available to many farmers that tend to use it as a fertilizer without a second thought. In reality, uncontrolled usage of such fertilisers as poultry manure can cause more harm than good. Farmers need at least minimal knowledge or scientific recommendation on the subject, and this issue can be avoided.
Apart from reasons that could be more or less easily remedied, groundnut production also suffers from the cruelty of Mother Nature. And we all know that She is not easy to bargain with.
Among such factors are the frequent drought and rainfall variability. It is most unfortunate, but the highest probability of drought occurs during the crucial parts of the growing process. If rain does not come on time, farmers have to reseed the whole area, and precious time and resources are wasted.
Did you know?
Drought might also increase the probability of aflatoxin groundnut contamination. This contamination is hazardous to both people and animals, and it might destroy the whole crop. Some countries have very strict guidelines on this type of contamination. Even the slightest hint of aflatoxin can make it or break it. This reduces the amount of export channels and affects the entire agricultural sector.
Some diseases might spread even in the most favourable weather conditions. One of the most dangerous diseases for groundnuts is the rosette disease. In 1975, it destroyed more than half of groundnut crops. If not controlled, such biotic constraints might have disastrous effects.
In addition to poor weather conditions and diseases, the ground farmers have to work with is far from ideal. It is often sandy and erosion-prone, so farmers have a hard time providing the plants with necessary moisture and nutrients.
Moreover, many farmers forget about crop rotation. As the demand for groundnuts and other agricultural products is high, they have to use the same piece of land constantly without letting it rest and restore. That is why the already imperfect soil is prone to degradation.
As you can see, groundnut production in Nigeria is not without its faults. Nevertheless, many of these issues can be remedied if the government pays enough attention to them. After all, a significant portion of the country’s revenue depends on groundnut production. Therefore, it is in everyone’s interests to look into the factors we have mentioned here.