Africa is the only continent in the world where poverty and hunger are on the increase. The number of malnourished Africans is on the rise from one year to the next. African land can be able to provide fertile land, thriving crops, high quality and abundant yields, numerous healthy cattle, a better home, good education for children, financial security, and generally a better life for all. The continent is able to provide all this and more to the hardworking small-scale farmer, large-scale farmer, whole countries, Africa as a continent, and even the world as a whole. This continent has a lot of potential however; this potential remains for the most part untapped and most African farmers in the present day face great challenges on a daily basis. Most African farmers today are either smallholder or subsistence farmers who cultivate crops and look after animals just to feed themselves and their households. This article will seek to highlight some of the major farming problems in Africa.
- Lack of financial support
Challenging legal and financial situations are restraining growth in African agriculture. This means lack of financial support systems which would enable farmers to grow, expand, and preserve their fields. Despite there being several micro-finance groups doing operations in Africa today, very few farmers have access to these groups, and majority of the other farmers have no clue on how these groups operate and how they can get help from such groups in the long run. In the case of small-scale farmers, credit is regularly inaccessible and unaffordable. Without suitable financing, farmers are not only unable to invest in their operations, but also more exposed to market instability and unpredictable weather.
- Lack of Information
This is and still remains the number one setback facing majority of small-scale farmers in Africa, and as a result of this, majority of them miss out on current and improved methods of farming. Specifically those in remote areas do not have access to radio signals, and other means of communication. Additionally, some farmers do not have access to better yielding or better seeds. Research shows that there are seeds which thrive better and are disease resistant and more tolerant than others. On the other hand, these seeds are frequently sold at higher prices than regular seeds, and as a result of this, not so many farmers can afford them; and due to lack of information, some farmers don’t know such seeds exist.
This is also one of the major issues facing agriculture throughout Africa as a whole. Most farm produce in Africa goes to waste in the remote areas because majority of farmers find it hard transporting their farm produce to the market to sell. This is because there is no existence of roads, and most remote areas are cut-off from the rest of the world. Furthermore, in the rural areas there are no proper storage facilities and perishable goods e.g. tomatoes, green vegetables, onions, get spoilt.
- Lack of access to fertilizer
In Africa, most poor farmers farm on the same pieces of land over and over again leading to degradation because agricultural lands have become so expensive in Africa. As a result of this degradation leads to fertile lands loosing most of their nutrients and become unproductive or barren. Therefore, farmers depend majority on artificial fertilizers to enable them to cultivate crops on the same piece of land time and time again. Artificial fertilizers are rather expensive in Africa, and are completely unavailable in rural areas.