I will explain agricultural marketing to be the process in which farmers consider their input in relation to their output in other to fix a market price that would be acceptable to both the buyer and seller.
In a broader sense, agricultural marketing is infers the services involved in moving an agricultural product from the farm to the consumer. It is also the planning, organizing, directing and handling of agricultural produce in such a way as to satisfy the farmer, producer and the consumer.
There are numerous activities involved in agricultural marketing which are all associated with each other and normally referred to as functions of agricultural marketing.
They are listed and explained as follows:
Collection of farm produce for sale. This is usually carried out to ensure greater convenience and economy during transportation, grading or processing.
Grading involves separating the commodities into different sizes, varieties, tastes, quality, colour etc. This is done to enhance market value and uniformity.
Processing describes the transformation of farm produce into a more consumable form. e.g conversion of wheat into flour.
This is the movement of farm produce from the place of production to the place of final consumption. Transportation of farm products is carried out through various means such as road, rail, air, and water.
This is the act of keeping or holding large supplies of produce from the period of production until when needed by the consumers.
Packaging is described as the process by which farm products are bundled or packed into containers of different attractive shapes, sizes and patterns in order to entice consumers as well as enhance sales.
Problems of Agricultural Marketing in Nigeria
The discovery of oil in Nigeria further led to the decline in agricultural practices. A decline which transformed to scarcity of food and also the destabilization and disorganization of the agricultural marketing system. An organized marketing system will not only ensure better returns to the farmer but also stabilize the market prices and also protect the interest of both the consumers and producers.
But in Nigeria, it is a pity that agricultural marketing is not well organized and this has made farmers and producers encounter lots of difficulties
Below are some of the difficulties facing agricultural marketing in Nigeria:
Lack of Transportation Facilities
This is one of the major obstacle facing efficient marketing of agricultural products as the rural areas where most of the farmers reside lack motorable roads. This reduces the amount of farm products distributed and also reduces efficiency. The role of transportation in a supply chain and distribution cannot be overemphasized.
It also leads to delay of farm products in reaching the market, scarcity as well as increase in the prices of farm products as the cost of transportation is very high and as a result, the farmers inflates the prices so as to get maximum return on their output.
Poor Quality of Product
This arises from unavailability of improved seeds and fertilizers which therefore reduces the quality of production and hence leads to low market prices and preference for imported products.
Long Chain of Middlemen
The journey of agricultural products to the hands of the final consumer is usually involved with long chains of middlemen which includes wholesalers, brokers, agents, retailers and much more.
The agricultural goods pass through all these people before they reach the final consumer. Sadly, as it passes through each individual, the price increases and only the consumer bears the brunt.
Lack of Credit Facilities
In Nigeria, it is very difficult for local uneducated farmers to access credit facilities made available by the government and on occasions where such funds are accessible , it is not adequate to meet the farmers requirement.
So the poor farmers resort to borrowing money from private money lenders at several harsh and unfavorable conditions which therefore affects the prices of agricultural goods as the farmers also try to make profits while also trying to repay loans from the proceeds.
Inconsiderate Revenue Collection
The government subject farmers to inconsiderate revenue collection. This trend is practiced in every state of Nigeria. The farmers are expected to pay as much as ₦10000 in every state they pass through with their goods.
Now, imagine the huge amount a farmer has to part with in a situation where he has to transport his farm produce from the northern part of the country to the south and he has to pass through seven states before reaching his destination.
This trend is very unhealthy for the nations agricultural sector as it poses a great problem for the efficient marketing of agricultural products. It is also one of the reasons responsible for the countinous rise in prices of food products across the nation.
Lack Of Storage Facilities
Most agricultural goods are easily perishable. Their production is also seasonal but they are demanded throughout the year. This implies that agricultural goods need to be stored properly so that they can be made available to consumers at the right time.
The farmers in Nigeria usually lack storage facilities. Absence of the needed storage facilities forces the farmers to sell their products as early as possible, in order to avoid spoilage, even if it means selling at a very low price.
Unstable Measurement System
In various parts of the country, the manner in which agricultural products are measured during the process of buying and selling differs and this affects agricultural marketing in Nigeria.
Lack Of Market Information
Most farmers in Nigeria are uneducated and consequently know nothing about the market conditions. Therefore most farmers are unable to determine the real prices of their products and are usually oblivious of new trends in agriculture as they are not exposed to the modern methods of seeking information.