December 7, 2022

Umuaka Times

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Issues and Challenges on Agribusiness in Umuaka (1).

5 min read

By Mazi Chinedu Michael Igbokwuwe.


Agriculture is fast depreciating in Umuaka due to lack of landscape for production and cultivation of crops and animal rearing, access of farmers to credit facilities to increase their scale of productions/processing e.t.c. in which developmental infrastructures such as building of houses, stores, plazas (to mention but a few) have occupied the existing socio-economy of Umuaka. In this regard, business in agriculture (agribusiness) becomes highly fragile (both inputs and outputs)  in sustaining good standard of living in Umuaka. Therefore, there is need to be properly guided on the knowledge of the issues and challenges of agribusiness in Umuaka.

Introduction: The term “Agribusiness” is the business of agricultural production. It includes agrochemicals, breeding, crop production (farming and contract farming), distribution, farm machinery processing and seed supply as well as marketing and retail sales. It implies to the entire agricultural production, processing, distribution and consumption spectrum from farm input supplies which include; wood producers, furniture manufacturers, food processors, food packers, food transporters and food marketing companies to restaurants. It covers input industries for agricultural production post-farm gate industries including the commodities processing food manufacturing and food distribution industries and third party firms that facilitate agribusiness operations including bankers, brokers, advertising agencies and marketing information firms (Yumkella,2012). In other words, agribusiness is the sum total of all the operations involved in the manufacture and distribution of farm supplies, production operators on the farms, storage-processing-distribution of farm commodities and other items made from them. It is used as a portmanteau of agriculture and business referring to the range of activities in modern food operations (Igbokwuwe,2015).

As agribusiness plays a critical role in socio-economic transformation through development and growth of agro-based industries, successful agribusiness investments stimulate agricultural growth by providing new markets and developing a vibrant input supply sectors since all activities necessary to bring about the transformation of Umuaka agriculture hinge on agribusiness. However, with agro-allied industries spanning its services from production, manufacturing agro-inputs (fertilizers, pesticides e.t.c), packaging and distribution besides extension of credit facilities for agricultural investments, the market potential in Umuaka’s fast growing and developing economy will be a huge and successful framework (Igbokwuwe,2020).

Umuaka is one of the most renowned cities in Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria. It is situated in midway (central) between Owerri and Orlu also, it is bounded in the North by Okwudor in the same Local Government Area (Northern side of the Njaba River), South by Orodo in Mbaitolu Local Government, East by Ekwe and Amurie in Isu Local Government Area and West by Afara and Otura (Western side of the Njaba River). It is made up of the following villages/communities according to agricultural chart in Imo State :- Uba, Isiozi, Achara,  Amiyi, Ibele, Umuele (Amazano), Ugbele, Amakor, Obeakpu and Obiwanne. Its principal and primary occupation is agriculture. That is, crop farming of various kinds and planting of various economic plants or trees as well as rearing of animals of various kinds. The principal crops include ; yam, cocoyam. Cassava, maize, melon-fluted pumpkin and a variety of vegetables. The economic plants include ; oil palm trees, coconut, pears of all kinds, banana, plantain, breadfruit, pawpaw, pineapples, ukpo e.t.c. Usually, the Afor Umuaka Market is the centre of flooded crops and its bye-products of economic plants as well as animals and its bye-products.

Presently, people in Umuaka and its environs engage in various kinds of trading either clothing, furniture, building materials, telecommunications, cooking vessels/materials, computer based technology, educational materials as well as edibles and animals drinks and juices e.t.c. which depreciate the value of agribusiness and slow down agriculture thereby, causing a serious havoc and high cost of purchase of food-intake materials and its bye products, increase in import of food-intake materials and its bye products as well as  food insecurity in Umuaka (Igbokwuwe, 2020)

Issues and Challenges:

(1)   Revitalization from Traditional Agriculture to Commercial Agriculture:

Agribusiness is the catalyst of activating traditional agriculture to the modern and commercial agriculture in Umuaka. That is, the city’s agriculture can move from peasant/subsistence, traditional agriculture to the modern, commercial agriculture in which it caters for production of dispersed settlement as against the climate change. Advancement from small-scale, manual operation of farm to large-scale, mechanized operation of farm leads to a rise in sale of food and fibre products in which the food and fibre companies of large-scale farms engage into large businesses or corporations that meet the serving needs of the people. Thus, the state of self-sufficiency to one of abundance of production with the attendant problems of complex interrelations with off-farm business tend to a greater proportion of agribusiness workers (processors, distributors, farm suppliers e.t.c) employed off farm than in the number of farmers due to the outgrowth of research advances and technological development. When a small percentage of farm operators control a large percentage of farm products sold and a small percentage of food retailing stores control a large percentage of Umaka’s retailing business, there are varied foods and the improvement in food leads to a higher level of living in Umuaka.

(2)   Growth and Development of Agribusiness:

Agribusiness must migrate its present smallholder farms to incorporate, cooperative and large-scale farms. Thus, these farms provide the supply of industrial processes with adequate quantities of raw materials with desired qualities at the required time which will easily take up new innovations and adequate infrastructures for their immediate environment that benefit the scale of economy (better utilization of assets) in Umuaka. But due to poor development and growth of agribusiness in Umuaka, large-scale farming contributes less than 10% of the total agricultural production. The problem of agribusiness in Umuaka is the inconsistent government policy, goals and implementation which discourage agribusiness growth and development to completely handle  food insecurity. Therefore, there is need for agribusiness enterprises to have adequate legislation to protect the business against unscrupulous trade practices, more varied food items and threat of famine eliminated through extension of the market which are specialization in agribusiness that leads to a higher standard of living in order for Umuaka agriculture to be totally transformed.


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