Agriculture in Nigeria has been attracting so much attention in recent years as more and more people recognise the enormous potentials that lie in it. With Agric technology disrupting various facets of the sector, in the bid to increase yield, the outlook for investors and agric practitioners continues to look brighter.
As higher yields equal greater profits, the goal of every farmer, especially crop farmers, is to increase their yield. To attain higher yields then, a crop farmer must embrace better farm management practices such as crop rotation, farm sanitation, farm irrigation etc. But more than this, the use of improved farm inputs such as high quality seeds, fertilizers and pesticides goes a long way in improving crop yields.
That is why Growsel, a peer-to-peer lending platform, continues to connect smallholder underfinanced farmers to supporters from across the world, giving them access to capital via crowd funding, access to agricultural global best practices, improved farm inputs, and farm management solutions. In this article, we discuss how some improved inputs offered by Growsel increase yields.
High Quality Seeds
Seeds are living entities, and very important agricultural inputs, if not the most important. Seeds have been the focus of many technologies that aim at improving their quality and the resulting yield. One of the worst things that could ever happen to a crop farmer is to buy bad quality seeds. This is because so much money would have been spent on site preparation, labour, etc., only to get diminished yield. The seed failing to germinate or failing to produce a bountiful yield is a waste of the resources that have been invested, a huge loss to the farmer. Hence, Seed quality is so important that it has been the cause of many lawsuits in developed countries. As such, Growsel takes the issue of seeds very seriously.
It is important that farmers get their seeds from trusted sources like certified seed agencies, national seed services, agricultural research institutes etc., as poor quality seeds are more susceptible to pests and diseases and have poor germination rate, poor vigour, non-uniform growth, and do not produce robust end products. In order to the prevent the loss that the above would occasion, farmers are hereby advised to get only high quality seeds from reputable seed companies. Doing this would not only mitigate losses, but also ensure good returns on investment.
Machineries and Fertilizers
With the traditional system of farming currently practiced in Nigeria, only about 2 tonnes of maize yield is harvested per hectare, compared to about 10 tonnes/hectare when mechanized farming is practiced. This wide gap clearly shows the importance of improved farm inputs, the major reason Growsel focuses on creating access to farm inputs that will better the lot of farmers.
With fertilizers, it is very important to understand the crop you want to plant and also find out which fertilizer works best for which crop, and the timing of the application. Also, it is important to follow the manufacturers’ recommended dosage and procedures. Failure to do this can cause a wide gulf between the expected yield and the actual yield, hence, lowering your returns on investment.
For example, the fertilizer dosage for maize is 120kg Nitrogen fertilizer per hectare. But many farmers use far less and this affects the yield.
All agricultural crops are susceptible to a wide range of pests and diseases. These pests and diseases are capable of causing devastation so great that the farmer might not recover from it. Hence, it is important for farmers to ensure that pesticides, which include fungicides, insecticides, nematicides etc., are applied at the appropriate time and recommended dosage. In addition, farmers should take note of the pest population before and after application in order to note if the pests are showing resistance to the applied pesticides and when this is observed, you might need to try other brands or adopt other pesticides. Through the Growsel Trustee Programme, local farmers are afforded the knowledge and opportunity of these global best practices.
The use of pesticides will definitely aid a huge returns on your investments, as it serves to combat loss that are caused by biotic factors like pests and diseases. Rather than wait for half of your field to be laid to waste by pests, simply apply pesticides religiously and at the recommended dosage to avoid unnecessary loss. Many farmers do not do these because it out of their reach. That is why they harvest below the expected yield from their fields. Even when they do, they do not apply at the recommended dosage, which would have militated against any impending havoc by pests and diseases. In view of this, Growsel farmers are provided with the necessary pesticide, wherever the need arises.