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Impacts of Information Management on Agricultural/ Agribusiness Development in Nigeria

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Alt: = "photo showing robot harvester harvesting crops in the field and crop pickers that are picking them"

Introduction

Information systems and management are fundamental to the development of sustainable agribusinesses. Good practice and innovation, disseminating knowledge (e.g. farming techniques) and market information (e.g. commodity prices) help greatly towards improvement in efficiency. Market information use facts and figures that will help farmers and other players in agricultural value chain, consumers and others involved in the marketing process to make better decisions and minimize their risks. These information may include the price of inputs, the current selling price of produce potential buyers of the produce, quantities of produce required by different buyer, quality standards and preferences, etc.

Without formal information platforms, agribusinesses must rely on informal networks and feedback from competitors and partners to get information.

Types of Information in Agriculture and  Agribusiness Enterprise

There are three basic types of Agricultural and agribusiness information, which can also be broken down to more types.

Market Information and Linkages

Operating an agribusiness enterprise is no different from any other business, be it manufacturing, retailing or service like banking and insurance. The underlying objective is to satisfy the customers need and to do so profitably. Marketing is at the core of any agribusiness enterprise. Knowledge of the market will guild the production of the products that when sold will provide the maximum net return.

Due to the  prevailing problem of limited information and knowledge, rural farmers have struggled with labor productivities, market price driven decisions, small-scale productions, inadequate capital investment and exploitation by other traders which in turn decline the hope of improving their  main source of income, and also agribusiness development in Nigeria.

Therefore, accessibility, the understanding and usage toward market information are the key factors to enhance efficiency of production and marketing.

Reals also: 11 Agricultural Marketing Channels

Types of Market Information

Production information: It comprises the various techniques of production, all the agronomic practices down to the pre and post-harvest best practices. Nigeria. Many Nigerian agribusinesses are yet to adopt genetically modified organisms either their plants and animals whose DNA were altered by biotechnology engineering process or conventional process. This is as a result of poor information management, where the producers are either unaware of the processes and benefits or are misinformed. Visit National Geographic to read more on genetically modified organisms 

Marketing Information: It include prices, various markets that offer different prices, input and output prices etc.

Financial Information: this include various sources of agribusiness finance and how to access them.

Linkages with other actors and various stakeholders along the value chain.

Weather/ Climate Information

Weather information is a very vital information needed for success of agricultural enterprise. Weather plays important role in agricultural activities, and its adverse effects are the major risks faced by farmers. Therefore, proper management or otherwise, of weather information impacts greatly on agribusiness development especially in Nigeria.

Increasing economic pressure to optimize farm enterprise and environmental concerns related to the stewardship for land, water, and air resources are motivating those involved in agricultural production to be more sensitive to the impact of weather and climate variability. Delivery of timely and high quality agricultural weather information has become an important function of government agencies and extension services. Nigeria agriculture heavily rely on rain-fed production. Even after realizing the benefits of irrigation, more than half of the cultivated area remain rain-fed. Rain-fed agriculture will need to support about 60% human population, 2/3 of livestock population and contributing over 80% to the food grain production of the country. Appropriate climatic information enhances small holder farmers ability to mitigate the adverse effects of the climate change. It is also argued that to avoid disastrous consequences, fundamental changes in agricultural operations should go hand in hand with changing climate. This is because, timely updated information of weather and climate scenarios help farmers to adjust their farming plans in accordance with expected weather patterns.  

Sources of Weather Information

In Nigeria, agro meteorological information is disseminated through different channels and tools by various ministries and organizations. The Nigerian Meteorological Organization (MIMET) established a network of observatories across the country and provides forecasts on weather. Besides this general interest farmer’s weather bulletins  are also issued, indicating precipitation, temperature and humidity and other farm weather related information. This information is disseminated in different regional languages through radio, television and internet. The Agricultural Development projects (ADPs), universities and research institutions in different states also maintain network of agro meteorological observatories across the country. The ADPs prepare weather calendar to help farmers plan their operations so as to take advantages of the favorable weather conditions.

Impacts of Weather Information in Agribusiness

The forecast of the weather helps for suitable planning of farm

It helps to undertake or withhold the sowing operation

It helps in determining the start and end of farm operations

It also helps in taking measures to fight frost.

It helps in transportation and storage of food grain.

It helps in management of cultural operations like plugging, harrowing, hoeing etc.

It helps in measures to protect livestock.

Smallholder farmers suffer most on the impacts of climate change, from degradation, degraded soil conditions combined with climate variability, land tenure insecurity, a and limited market access pressure them to make short-term tradeoffs that compromise long-term gains. With some degree of information on climate change and Climate Smart Agriculture which some agribusinesses have adopted has led to increase in production, resilience to climate impacts on agriculture, reduces greenhouse gasses, and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals. However, a lot more needs to be done in scaling up Climate Smart Agriculture in promoting nationally-owned climate smart agricultural policies to increase adoption of CSA technologies, innovative knowledge and information management a and sharing system.

Sources of Agribusiness Information

1.    Agricultural research institutes

2.    Agricultural extension workers

3.   Media (newspapers, radio, television, farmer bulletin, agricultural magazine)

4.    Internet

5.    Farmers cooperatives

6. Government ministries, agencies and departments (e.g Ministry of Agriculture, NiMet, Export Promotion Council, Ministry of Trade and Commerce, other agencies and department under ministries of Agriculture.

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