In the early 1900’s, American agriculture began its development in farm machinery and technology. The 18th century included oxen and horses for power, crude wooden plows, all sowing by hand, cultivating by hoe, hay and grain cutting with a sickle, and threshing with a flail. But later on, the commercial fertilizers increased annually. Then came the big open-geared gas tractors introduced in areas of extensive farming. Farm production gradually grew from expanded use of mechanized power.

But in Nigeria and across the continent, farming is highly inefficient. It takes place in small plots, with each family trying to feed themselves. They plant and weed by hand.  The production lacks from a shortage of tractors and fertilizer that results in yields that fall behind the globe average.

In northern Nigeria, most farmers are not well-educated men about farming. They just plant and harvest to feed their families. Aisha Ali, a resident in the country’s second-largest city, graduated from college with a degree in microbiology. Some were surprised by the fact she was going into farming right after graduation. Although she has a part time office job, her focus was more on an effort to create a new class of young, educated commercial farmers- and in turn hopeful to shift the image of farming and eventually develop agricultural production in a country unable to feed itself.

It goes the same for other African nations. They import a great deal of its food. This has caused vulnerable to economic slumps, including current recession caused by a decline in the price of oil, Nigeria’s main source of income. On the other hand, in Ethiopia, they recently faced a severe drought.

These countries are more focused on development. In Nigeria, these small beginner farmers get around 2 acres of land for training college graduates, which I believe is a great investment. Because there is a high potential in the agriculture sector for the economy, and exposing the young graduates like Aisha, is a best strategy to give back to a community.

According to the United Nations , “improving farming techniques and yields is the only way to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals of eradicating poverty and hunger by 2030. The good news is that there is wide room for improvement, with farm productivity in Africa at just 40% of its potential.”

The trainees spaced their crops too far apart at first and wasted seed and fertilizer. But Sani, a farming mentor, quickly corrected them. Then, through the lesson, they began to master it. The new farmers were defying expectations. As Aisha walked through the 8-foot-high maize, she sensed the feeling of success. In the years right after her graduation year, her farm delivered a bumper crop. She was already planning what to plant next.

On a place like Nigeria, Ethiopia, and other African countries, the agriculture sector has a big potential for the economy. The small class farmers can feed themselves, but also be a potential exporter. They just need the right education and a passion like Aisha’s.

Especially, these small farms, it is essential to understand the basic backgrounds and scientific factors that goes into planting, for instance, the use of harsh surfactants in agricultural soil and agrochemical industries. 

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The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) mentions that:

“Biosurfactants which are reported to be produced by bacteria, yeasts and fungi can serve as green surfactants. Biosurfactants are considered to be less toxic and eco-friendly and thus several types of biosurfactants have the potential to be commercially produced for extensive applications in pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and food industries.”

Many plant associated microbes produce biosurfactant. These biomolecules have a major role in motility, signaling, formation, signaling that biosurfactant presents plan-microbe interaction. According to NCBI in agriculture, biosurfactants can be used for plant pathogen elimination and for raising the bioavailability of nutrients for useful plant-associated microbes. Besides, the biosurfactants can be used for improving the agricultural soil quality by soil remediation. By doing so, these biomolecules can then replace the harsh surfactant currently being used in pesticide industries.

After educating them, working with government, they could bring in a tractor for a quick production process. faster method- more production, more production- more food. With the effort of government support, they could move to larger-scale farmers.

But sometimes when it comes to farming, there are some things that could go wrong, sometimes devastating ones. Natural disasters like drought, drylands, and such are out of our control. Rain doesn’t have a favor to whom it could affect, small farmers, middle-class, and upper-class farmers get hit with drought. Ethiopia is a recent example of this. A severe drought hit Ethiopia last year. The drought has a significant impact by limiting agricultural production, straining livelihoods, and causing food insecurity among poor and vulnerable households. It was unexpected. It was sudden. Many were hungered, cattle falling dead on the dry lands.

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A farmer shows his failed crops and farmland in the Megenta area of Afar, Ethiopia. The farmer said he has lost 100 percent of his crops. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

When this occurred, the World Humanitarian Summit, USAID, World Renew, and other supporters poured their givings to the sudden drought before millions of people went without food. Also during this time, of all religions fasted and prayed to their God for a long time. Natural disasters, like drought, are out of our control, and as Christians, we must turn to God to provide us with a way out of such trouble. The flooding story in the Scripture talks about how God was going to punish the earth with the flood. It happened, but God’s mercy came out of that.