PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF SMALL SCALE FARMING
The purpose of this study was to examine the problems and prospects of small scale farm. In this write-up, the researcher started by examining the history and problems were identified as being the problems and prospect of small scale farm. The problems affecting small scale farm and their possible solutions were obtained through the use of questionnaires in which the respondents gave the various responses.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The term agriculture is derived from the Latin words “ager” (field) and “cultura” (cultivation). This meant field cultivation. This is not a complete definition of agriculture since agriculture also has to do with animal production. Agriculture can therefore be defined as the art and science of cultivating the soil, producing livestock, preparing livestock feeds, processing crops and livestock products for man; and the process of selling excess crops and livestock. Or agriculture may also mean just the production of crops, rearing of animals and the general management of soil.
As men advanced from the hunting and gathering stage, they developed the art of cultivating certain plants and domesticating certain animals. This was the beginning of settled life, and people began to group themselves in villages. They made crude implements and learned to provide enough foods for the family. This practice is found today in every isolated areas where communication has been limited, the people have not been exposed to modern ways of farming, and surplus capital for investment is not available. Some farmers farm exclusively in specific domestic crops such as in west Africa like yam, cassava, maize, cocoyam etc. the practice involves the cultivation of small pieces of land under many crops.
Several questions have been raised in regards to this trend. It is therefore expedient to understand the problems affecting small scale farming in the area, which is a major emphasis of this project work. It tends to analyze these factors and suggest adequate measures and solutions in solving these problems. The history of the development of the human race is closely related to that of agricultural development. In his quest for food and shelter, man has adopted many agricultural practices through the ages as his technical skills and material resources grew. The four major types are;- hunting and gathering, pure subsistence agriculture; mixed subsistence with some cash crop production; and pure commercial agriculture. But between these main divisions are many transition stages, and different stages of economic development of local populations.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
The need for this study is necessitated by the fact that there are problems affecting small scale farming among the local farmers in my local government area. The positive and negative effects of these problems are therefore the concern of investigation.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Some questions to be tackled in the course of this study have been raised as follows:-
1. Does the land tenure system affect small scale farmers in Ovia North East Local Government Area?
2. Does the size of useful land in the area affect the small scale farmers in Ovia North East Local Government Area?
3. Does the religious beliefs affect the small scale farmers’ production in the area?
4. The cultivation practices affect the small scale farmers in the area?
5. What are the prospects and possible solutions to the problems?
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is designed to help the farmers in Ovia North East Local Government Area to improve their efforts on ways of increasing small scale production of farmers. It serves as a guide to extension of workers in charge of small scale production in Ike South and other areas on how to assist farmers. The study is hoped to motivate the farmers to go into large/commercial production in the area. Also, this study will serve as a resource material for any student that will be interested in. Finally, it serves as encouragement to those farmers in the study who takes small scale production as their last hope in life to pay more to small scale production by giving them the necessary assistance.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is focused on the problems of small scale farming in Ovia North East Local Government Area, which is one of the notable areas of small scale farming production in Delta State. For the purpose of this work, Ovia North East Local Government Area was used as a case study. The area is very large and consists of about twenty villages with an average population of two million people and majority of them are small scale farmers.
1.6 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Topography: This is the physical structure of land, within an area.
Population: This is the total number of people living in an area.
NITR: (National Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research) Kaduna, this body is set up by the federal government to carryout research on animal diseases and sicknesses.