Home OPINION How small holder farmers are contributing to food security
How small holder farmers are contributing to food security

How small holder farmers are contributing to food security


Yusuf Sherifat

Small holder farmer in Nigeria strive to ensure food security. They are not just owners of small-based plots of land, but they are also those with little number of workers and small capital investment. More than 80 percent of farmers in Nigeria are small holder farmers. By international standard, a farm that is less than 10 hectares is classified as small-scale, more than 80 percent farmers in Nigerian are small holder farmers.

According to a World Bank report, “food security can be obtain when all people, at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preference for n active and healthy life”.

In Nigeria, agriculture is a major contributor to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and small-scale farmers play a dominant role in this contribution. They make a significant and important contribution to the national product accounting for about 99 percent of total crops output. The small scale farmer is the main producer of 98 percent of the food consumed in Nigeria with the exception of wheat.

It is already in the public domain that, many high-value crops, for example, rubber, and fruit and vegetables that require labour-intensive farming, perform better in well developed smallholder agriculture than in other types of farming (HLPE, 2011) reason is because the favourable incentive structure in self-employed farming and the significant transaction and monitoring costs of hired labour.

According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics or IBGE, smallholder agriculture is strategically contributing to food security. In Brazil, 58 percent of all milk is produced by “household agriculture”. For instance chicken and pork up to 50-59 percent as well as coffee are directly produced by this set of farmers. Equally, the contribution of smallholders is 38 percent for maize, 46 percent for beans in the same manner as the contribution of smallholders reaches 70 percent and for cassava this is as high as 87 percent.

In Benin Republic in West Africa, the traditional sector, consisting of small-scale family-run units, provides 80 percent of the production of palm oil. This craft industry has always been able to adapt to changes in the upstream sector (variations in the volumes of raw materials offered by planters) and downstream (changes in demand), and covers most of the local market. New techniques have secured the stability of the sector. For palm oil, similar situations can be found in Nigeria and other West and Central Africa.

Judging from the abundant potentials inherent in the agricultural sector, it is expected that conscious efforts will be injected into deepening the productivity of this critical section of the farming population. Government and indeed all the concerned authorities should invest more on small-holder farmers for they constitute the back-bone agricultural input which goes a long way in taking care of the vulnerable population of the country. By so doing, they have contributed immensely in the accomplishment of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2. The goal seeks to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

The goal equally seeks sustainable solutions to end hunger in all its forms by 2030 and to achieve food security. The aim is to ensure that everyone everywhere has enough good-quality food to lead a healthy life.


Sherifat is a Graduate of Economics and is currently undergoing her national service at Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry.






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