One major way technology can be used to significantly improve farming is through greenhouse farming. Vegetable production using greenhouses is an advanced way of commercial farming. A greenhouse is a farm device designed to control relative humidity, rainfall, excessive sunlight, insects, pests and other vagaries affecting vegetable and fruit production. Growing crops under greenhouses has many advantages, among them are:
  • The ability to produce huge quantities on a small piece of land and continuous harvesting.
  • The tomato varieties grown under greenhouses have a shelf life of 21 days compared with 14 for those grown in the open.
  • Tomatoes are generally highly susceptible to diseases, requiring heavy application of pesticides, but under the greenhouse growing techniques, which come with basic training on hygiene, most of common infections are easily kept at bay.
  • Also kept at bay are insects and other pests known to invade plants, as well as weeds. Apart from huge savings on crop protection chemicals, which constitute a huge part of production cost, while exposure to chemical toxins associated with application is minimized or eliminated altogether.
  • Nigeria is a major importer of vegetables. Because tomato and other vegetables produced in the country are of low quality a lot of it gets wasted during peak period of harvest.
  • Farmers who have opted for this farming system claim it provides the best option for boosting the quality of agricultural yields. The major advantage of greenhouse farming system is that it is capable of addressing scarcity of vegetables especially tomatoes during the rainy season since crops in the greenhouse are planted all year round, in a well-controlled climatic condition.

Greenhouse farming in Nigeria

There is a growing interest in greenhouse farming. Experts say with a little effort, one can start a greenhouse that will enhance the environment and bring in profits. DANIEL ESSIET reports. To manage the challenges of rainfall, degraded land and decreasing land sizes, farmers have been urged to go for greenhouse. Source: School of Estate

Learning From Europe

The United Nations estimates that by the year 2050, the world's population will grow from today's 7.5 billion people to nearly 10 billion. And as natural resources like farmland and water become scarce, feeding everyone will become an even greater challenge. Greenhouse production in Nigeria according to what we have seen so far, is many years behind that seen in Europe and some countries elsewhere. The way forward, is to help those that are willing to learn to acquire the knowledge.

Greenhouses are permanent glass or plastic-covered structures that allow farmers to grow vegetables and fruits year-round through mechanically-controlled temperature and irrigation systems.

Reflecting the severity of global food insecurity, over 60% of the African population is considered malnourished, with many regions in a state of famine. There is broad agreement on the need to help small-scale farmers move from subsistence to sustainable and profitable farming by boosting their agricultural productivity, reducing post-harvest spoilage losses and providing market linkages.

Most countries in Africa have an agrarian economy with over 80% of the households depending on agriculture for their livelihoods. The climate is characterized by biannual dry seasons where many farmers suffer due to water shortages and poor soil nutrition.

 While short periods of rain benefit local farmers, heavy rainfall sometimes destroys cash crops.