The Giant of Africa is abundantly blessed with a massive agricultural system with a land fertility that is considered as one of the best in the world. According to statistical reports, Nigeria possesses an arable land of 34 million hectares of meadows and pastures which results to its account of 23 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Nigeria leads many types of agricultural production which includes palm oil, pineapple, cocoa beans and sorghum. The country is ranked the second largest producer of sorghum in the world after the United States.
Production of Palm oil and Cocoa beans in the country has earned it the fifth position in this kind of agricultural production around the world. In the agricultural sector, Nigeria is likewise regarded as a large global exporter; among its ten best-performing export categories are oil, nuts, seeds and fruits. Due to these agricultural feats, facilitation of proper administration becomes essential. This introduces the concept of agricultural law and its impacts on the Nigerian agricultural industry.
The agricultural sector is sustained by agricultural laws.
According to Dennis Rapong’o, “agricultural law deals with legal matters concerning the agricultural sector such as agricultural infrastructure, seed, water, fertilizers, pesticides agricultural finance, agricultural insurance, farming rights and tenure systems and the legal regulations used in Agro-processing and rural industries.” Similarly, North Dakota University defined agricultural law as “the application of fundamental legal concepts (such as property law and contract law) to issues arising in agriculture, and legal concepts that are unique to agriculture (such as food safety regulations or soil conservation programs).”
Agricultural law enables sustainability of the agricultural sector in many ways, one of which is land acquisition. There is a need for a land to conduct agricultural practices, regardless of the kind of farming. The regulation of land acquisition in Nigeria is done by the provisions of the Land Use Act of 1978. Abolishment of the existing land tenure systems and approval of a uniform administration of land tenure system are entrenched in the provisions of this Act. This Act gives farmers an opportunity to own a land or lease landed properties.
Agro-financing improves social welfare of the industry.
Another essence of the law in the agricultural sector is the right to quality Agro-inputs. The law of contract, Sales of Goods Law and other similar laws are responsible for protection of purchasing farmers who are into purchase of seeds, when they are defrauded by the selling party. These laws grant farmers the liberty to enjoy quality Agro-inputs. When there is consistency in the purchase of a purchasing farmer, there is a significant need for a sales contract to enable regulation of the transactions.
An undeniable significance of the law in the industry is Agro-financing which is also referred to as Agriculture financing. This kind of financing refers to public or private resources — which could be in the form of gift, equity or loan — for improvement of social welfare by developing the agricultural industry. Agro-financing comprises of funds by the government and non-governmental organizations which employ matching grants for promotion of community and sector development, local empowerment and income equality.
There is a need for sensitization programs for farmers.
Although agricultural laws play a huge role in the sector, there are challenges that hinder proper implementation of these laws. One of such is persistent regulatory review which makes it difficult for the industry to sustain implementation. Another challenge is poor sensitization. Most farmers have little or no known access to the required knowledge that guides agricultural practices. Other challenges include lack of labor infrastructure, poverty, transnational border transactions and poor transportation medium. It is therefore essential that sensitization programs are conducted and legislations are made specific to address challenges.
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