BEST WAYS TO PROTECT SMALLHOLDER FARMERS FROM PRICE VARIABILITY IN NIGERIA

 Agriculture is a diverse profession; the level of output varies directly to the level of input, provided other factors are favorable. During the past, farmers solely produce food for their family and excess is taken to the market for sale. This type of farming is called subsistence farming. However, with the humongous increase in human population; the need for more food becomes a subject to be treated. This has created a lucrative opportunity for the farmers, being a good source of income.

However, some farmers are seriously embittered as a result of price variability. Price variability is a very serious issue and often frustrating in most cases; this issue has made some farmers jettisoned agriculture as the variation of price is greatly detrimental to their production. Price variability shows a great difference in the success of any farm. Variation in price simply means the difference in the price of a produce as a result of the difference in the size of the produce.
One of the fascinating features of agriculture is that once you have a large produce, you can fix price, irrespective of the price of your competitors. Most times, commercial farmers use this feature to sell off their produce because they know consumers will rush their produce at lower price compare to their contemporaries, the smallholder farmers. Of course, the produce is the same thing and the price fixed by both parties is presumed to complement their individual cost of production.
However, this practice embitters the smallholder farmers a lot. This is the why you notice the commercial farmers keep expanding and the smallholder farmers are still small, as their name implies. The primary effect of price variability on smallholder farmer, apart from losing customers is that, they are forced to reduce the price of their produce to match up with the price of the commercial farmer. This is a bitter pill they have to administer to salvage their production in the industry; hence, they make little or no profit from their hard labor.
Obviously, in a system where there is no law regulating the price of goods, a producer can fix any price he or she wants provided it complements the production cost. But such price should not be oppressive, it must be ideal. To curb this menace, a concession was reached by some farmers in the  JUSTAGRICULTUREBLOG official group; they have thought of various means to ensure both smallholder farmers and commercial farmers gleefully benefit from their harvest by selling at an even and generalized price. These approaches are:
  • Farmers should have an outlet to sell directly instead of selling to retailers:It has been concluded that retailers play a great role in the variability of price because of the little they will benefit. This relationship is becoming parasitic and it has to be eliminated. Smallholder farmers are therefore implored to sell their produce directly through an outlet.
  • Farmers in a community should form cooperative and fix prices: This will really serve a long way; Farmers in a community should form a cooperative where they meet and decide on various prices they sell their produce. Aside from price fixing; they can learn new practices, share ideas on how to improve their productivity and prominently, they tend to benefits aids from the government.
  • PAN should fix general price for poultry products across the nation: Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) is a prominent body in poultry production in Nigeria and can be of huge help to mitigate price variability. PAN can help stabilize the prices of poultry products in Nigeria, taking into the average cost of production of most farmers.
  • Proper preservation technique to curb glut: The perishability nature of agricultural produce has subjected it to unruly exchange. Smallholder farmers suffer the pain in most cases because it barely affects commercial farmers. There are several storage techniques that can improve the shelf-life of the crops; the farming community should organize seminar or program to enlighten them on the best ways of preservation of crops. 
These are the solutions highlighted so far. There is still room for more suggestions and recommendations. You can join the  JUSTAGRICULTUREBLOG group by clicking  HERE 
  
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