What are the most common problems and challenges that farmers face?

What are the most common problems and challenges that farmers face?

Farmers all over the world are plagued by several issues. These problems indirectly and directly affect the farmer’s life. Furthermore, farming practices and other aspects of agriculture can take up resources and time. The problems faced by farmers are typically unnoticed in the food industry. This article aims to highlight the major problems faced by farmers. They are:

Inadequate transport

Farmers in developing countries have a hard time transporting their produce to markets due to lack of roads, vehicles and money. They often have to carry their produce from the farm to local markets on foot or by bicycle, which can be challenging and time-consuming. This means that they often have to sell their produce at very low prices because they cannot transport it to places where there is better demand for food.

Lack of capital

Farmers need capital to get their businesses off the ground and grow them into successful operations. However, they often have little access to credit or financing because lenders don’t understand their unique needs. The lack of financial resources affects not only productivity but also affects the quality of agricultural produce. Farmers in some developing countries do not have access to adequate funds to invest in better technologies, machinery and equipment which results in poor-quality agricultural produce.

Agricultural marketing

Agricultural marketing refers to the process of bringing a product from the farmer to the consumer. It includes activities such as finding buyers for the products, negotiating prices, transporting goods and getting feedback on quality. Because there are many people involved in this process, it can be quite challenging. Farmers have to find buyers who will pay them a fair price for their goods while also ensuring that they don’t sell too cheap or too expensively.

In many cases, they are forced to sell their products at a low price or even give them away because they cannot find buyers. This situation creates an incentive for small farmers not to produce more than what they need for their own consumption.

Soil erosion

Soil erosion is a natural process that happens when wind or water moves soil particles from one place to another. When this happens on a large scale, it causes serious problems for farmers.

Soil erosion is caused by many factors including over-tillage of the soil, which erodes soil quality and retains less water. When it floods, it removes the top layers of soil very quickly. Soil erosion can be prevented by controlling the amount of water used for irrigation, using mulch and cover crops to protect soil from wind and water erosion, and preventing overgrazing by livestock.

Irrigation problems

Irrigation is known to help improve agricultural production, and while irrigation methods have improved to help increase the income of farmers, there are still numerous irrigation-related hurdles that make it harder for farmers to get income commensurate to their expenditure. The main problems that farmers have around irrigation are:

Whether it’s because of droughts, floods, or just low rainfall, irrigation can be difficult to maintain.

Farmers have often been forced to fall back on groundwater resources when surface water sources dry up during droughts. In other cases, they’ve had no choice but to rely on groundwater even when adequate surface water is available. This can cause problems as groundwater levels drop and farmers are unable to pump enough water to keep their crops alive through the dry season.

Lack of high quality seeds

The quality of seed used in farming is essential in attaining a higher crop yield. It is also important in getting sustained growth in agricultural production. Distribution of high-quality seed is as important as seed production. High-quality seeds are typically out of reach for most farmers, especially marginal and small farmers due to their prohibitively high prices.

Lack of infrastructure in the agriculture sector

One of the biggest issues that farmers face is lack of infrastructure. This includes poor roads, transportation facilities and so on. Farmers have to depend on others for transport services which increase their costs significantly. Without proper transportation facilities, it becomes difficult for farmers to sell their produce at reasonable prices within their respective localities or even outside their villages or townships.

Farmers are unable to get good quality seeds and pesticides at reasonable prices. They also have to spend money on fertilizers and other inputs like irrigation systems etc., which is quite high as compared to other countries like China or USA where they have all the facilities available at their doorstep.

Biocides, fertilisers, and manures

Biocides are used in the form of pesticides to kill insects and other pests that destroy crops. However, they can also have harmful effects on humans and animals who eat food that has been treated with them. This may result in health problems such as cancer or infertility. Biocides are also linked to water pollution because they can be washed into rivers or lakes by rainwater after application onto crops.

Fertilisers and manures are important in providing the soil with the right nutrients. Just as the human body requires nutrients to function optimally, well-nourished soil can provide high crop yields. Research estimates that around 70% of plant growth in agricultural production can be linked to increased fertiliser application. Therefore, increased fertiliser use can be seen as a measure of agricultural prosperity. There are various practical difficulties in providing adequate fertilisers and manures in certain parts of the world. In some regions, animal waste is used as manure to replenish the soil, but this is often limited by the high costs and demand for fuel in rural areas; chemical fertilisers are also expensive, making them out of reach to the local farmers.

Loss of agricultural land

One of the major farmers problems has to be the loss of agricultural land, as when more land is lost, it becomes increasingly difficult to produce the right volume of food required to feed the entire population.

Lack of modern farming equipment

One of the major problems faced by farmers is the lack of adequate farm equipment which can hamper their ability to adapt to the requirements of modern farming practices. When farmers are trained using the equipment, their lives can significantly develop. Implementation of said equipment is important.

Possible Solutions For Farming Challenges

Despite the myriad of problems that farmers face, there are a number of ways that farmers can avoid or at least minimise their impact. While technology is an obvious one, there are also solutions which are already available to the farmer. Some are:

Farmer organisations

Farmers’ associations play a pivotal role in ensuring farmers are represented at all times. They can also ensure proper participation in creating and implementing agricultural transformation procedures. These associations should be designed to represent the interest of each of their members while ensuring they offer food security. The role of the farmer’s organisation is extremely important as it ensures farmers are all singing from the same hymn sheet. For this reason, farmer’s associations are a great concept to have.

Increase in investment

While research has repeatedly shown that the world population is growing at an alarming rate and is soon to outpace the world’s current agricultural output in a few decades, there still appears to be a lack of solid investment in agriculture. This is especially true when you compare other sectors and industries of the economy.

Insufficient attention is given to investing in agriculture — improving farming operations and the lives of those in rural areas. This is an issue that needs to be rectified. Adequate and targeted agricultural investment can result in high yield and other improvements such as increased agriculture infrastructure.

Improved storage facilities and infrastructure

Considering that the majority of top agricultural-producing nations are dealing with many other issues highlighted in this article, it makes perfect sense that they also struggle with the lack of efficient storage facilities.

The purpose of agriculture in today’s world is to increase food security around the globe. This aim cannot be achieved if farmers have to deal with inefficient storage facilities. It can be said that agricultural produce storage is just as pertinent as farming.

When trying to solve this issue, it is imperative to understand that it must be viewed as a business issue, rather than a farming one. For this reason, there needs to be the creation of amble storage such as cold storage facilities and on-farm storage units. These products can raise the availability of products.

Introduction of modern farming technology

Some top agricultural-producing nations, such as Nigeria, Guinea, and India are overwhelmed with a dearth of mechanisation in their farming operations. The use of conventional and crude tools instead of machines in the farming process required to feed the world’s growing population isn’t something that should be allowed to fly.

There are a plethora of benefits associated with introducing mechanised farming. Nevertheless, various measures will need to be put in place for this to happen. Some measures will require forward-thinking government policies, such as subsidising machine purchases and promoting the re-education of farms on the benefits of improving their agricultural processes with the times. Doing this can result in a increased agricultural produce yield.

Increased availability of fertile land

When it comes to farming, one problem farmers face is land shortage. While millions of hectares are used for agricultural purposes every year, millions more hectares are lost to erosion, salinisation, desertification, and urbanisation. All land on earth represents just 29% of the earth’s surface, which stands at 57,308,738 square miles. Just 24,642,757 square miles of all land is habitable while the rest are made up of desert and mountains.

When land lost to urbanisation, desertification, erosion, and human habitation are accounted for, the remainder appear to not be sufficient to cater to the world’s agricultural demand. This is especially important as the world’s population continues to grow. Furthermore, when land is set aside for non-agricultural purposes, it is rarely restored for farming purposes. This is because government policies are formulated to stop the frequent use of lands for non-agricultural purposes.

Farmers’ education is vital

This is another solution because it will help farmers understand how to farm properly and use new techniques that will improve their lives. This is vital because they need to know how to manage their land properly, so they receive maximum yields from each crop planted on their land. Having access to information about modern farming techniques also helps them make better decisions about what types of seeds should be purchased for planting in their fields each season.

The requirement for Crop Insurance

Farming is a risky business because there are many things which can go wrong during cultivation or harvesting season. Farmers should always consider purchasing crop insurance as it will help them recover from any losses caused by natural disasters or pests like insects, animals, etc. It is important for farmers to have proper knowledge about crop insurance, so they can take advantage of this benefit provided by various companies at affordable rates.


When any business is being run, it is important to ensure it is run with a firm budget. This is especially important when running a farm, as the costs can quickly spin out of control over an extended period of time. It also helps that the effect investing in agriculture has is effective and fast. Nevertheless, an extremely suited catalyst required to achieve this growth is finance.

The inability of small-scale farmers to get the loans required to finance their farming activities can result in a cap on their production and efficiency. Proper restructuring of finance options and systems and lower interest rates linked to loans can help agriculture and small-scale farmers have a brighter future. Farmers might also want to enlist the services of a trained accountant. This trained accountant can handle the farming budget to ensure it doesn’t spiral out of control.


In all, these are just some of the problems faced by farmers. All of the issues, as well as their solutions are connected. For one, more investment in agriculture can increase infrastructure spending, the purchase of manures, and fertiliser, using modern farming equipment to propel agricultural yields and processes into the 21st century.

We’ve made it our mission to make smallholder farming a more profitable career for rural communities. At Jiva we have created an ecosystem devoted to improving the lives of farmers by providing access to the best possible advice, products and trade services. Learn more about our solutions HERE.

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