Farming is an essential activity for providing food and other agricultural products to meet human needs. It can be likened to a system where various inputs, such as seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, machinery, and labour are used up, modified or transformed to produce output which could be food, livestock, and other agricultural products for human consumption.
Agricultural inputs are essential for successful farming and can have a significant impact on the quality and quantity of the final product. In this article, we will discuss the different types of farm inputs and their importance.
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According to Jitin Kollamkudy, agricultural inputs are broadly categorised into two main groups: consumable inputs and capital inputs and are the heart of rural marketing and development.
Consumable inputs include materials such as seeds, fertilisers, pest control chemicals, manure, and even physical labour that are used up or consumed by the crops during farming. They are often organic and essential to the productivity of the farming venture.
Capital inputs are mechanised and technological materials and advancements that aid the speed, accuracy and yield of farming activities. They are likened to tools, materials, and machinery that involve capital investment. These inputs are made accessible to farmers for purchase and lease through the inclusive marketplace provided by Crop2Cash.
Classes of Farm Inputs
Farm inputs can be classified into several classes based on different criteria:
Based on Source
Inputs can be classified as natural, synthetic or a combination of both. Natural inputs such as manure, compost and other organic materials come from natural sources while synthetic inputs such as chemical fertilisers and pesticides are manufactured in factories. Some inputs such as hybrid seeds are a combination of both natural and synthetic materials.
Based on Function
Inputs can be classified as inputs for growth, inputs for protection and inputs for mechanisation. Inputs for growth include fertilisers, seedlings, and seeds. Inputs for protection include pesticides and other crop protection products. Inputs for mechanisation include tractors, ploughs, planters, harvesters, and other farm equipment.
Based on Application
Inputs can be classified as soil-applied, foliar applied or seed-applied. Soil-applied inputs are applied directly to the soil, while foliar-applied inputs are applied directly to the plant's leaves. Seed-applied inputs are applied directly to the seed before planting.
Based on the Crop
Inputs can be classified based on the type of crop they are used for. Some inputs are crop-specific, while others can be used for multiple crops. For example, a fertiliser that works well for corn may not be suitable for rice or soybeans.
Based on Sustainability
Inputs can be classified as sustainable or unsustainable. Sustainable inputs are those that can be used in a way that does not harm the environment, such as organic fertilisers, biological pesticides, and conservation tillage practices. Unsustainable inputs are those that have negative environmental impacts, such as synthetic fertilisers, chemical pesticides, and intensive tillage practices.
Examples of Farm Inputs
Seeds are the most important input for farming, as they are the source of plants. Farmers need to choose the right type of seed based on their needs and the environmental conditions in their area. There are different types of seeds, including hybrid, open-pollinated, and genetically modified seeds.
Hybrid seeds are the result of crossing two different plant varieties, while open-pollinated seeds are produced through natural pollination. Genetically modified seeds have been altered in a laboratory to include desirable traits, such as resistance to pests or herbicides.
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Fertilisers are used to provide plants with the nutrients they need to grow. They can be organic or inorganic. Organic fertilisers, such as compost or manure, are made from natural sources and help improve soil quality while inorganic fertilisers, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, are synthetic and provide plants with specific nutrients they may not get naturally.
Pesticides/ Insecticides/ Herbicides
Pesticides are used to control pests and diseases that can damage crops. The issue of pest infestation has been a thing of concern for farmers in Nigeria. This problem can be resolved today by dialling, *346*47# . Pesticides can be chemical or organic. Chemical pesticides are synthetic and can be harmful to the environment, while organic pesticides are made from natural sources and are considered safer.
Machinery is vital for modern farming, as it helps farmers plant, harvest, and process their crops efficiently. Tractors, combinators, and cultivators are some of the most common types of machinery used in farming. They help farmers to save time and labour and increase productivity.
Mechanization of farming processes in Nigeria does not have to be expensive because services such as renting tractors, combinators, etc have been accessible to small-holder farmers.
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Labour is a critical input in farming. It involves the physical work required to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops. Farm labour can be performed by farmers, family members, or hired workers. In Nigeria, farm labour shortage can be a significant problem for farmers. This has been curbed by providing means to improve the prosperity of farmers thereby encouraging more people to delve into the untapped potential of the agricultural sector in Nigeria
In conclusion, farming involves various inputs that are essential for producing quality agricultural products. The right selection and use of these inputs can help farmers to increase their productivity and profitability. However, it is essential to use these inputs wisely and sustainably to minimise the impact on the environment and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture.
The need for quality farm inputs cannot be over-emphasized. This is why we launched the Beta Farmer Package at Crop2Cash to provide quality farm inputs at a 5% discount amidst other benefits at a very affordable price.
Simply dial *347*46*466# to get started now!