The role of Law in Agriculture
As earlier noted, in our general overview, law is pivotal to the success of the agricultural industry. However, there are specifics in the role it plays in ensuring the sustainability of this industry. A few of them are examined below:
a. Land Acquisition:
Although not all farming is related to tilling the ground for harvest, one common practice associated with all of them is the need for the land area to carry out whatever form of agricultural practice. The implication of this rather common ground is to ensure that all the correct legal measures are followed to the latter to ensure a free and undisturbed enjoyment of the land.
In Nigeria, Land Acquisition is regulated by the provisions of the Land Use Act of 1978. The provisions of this Act abolished the existing land tenure systems and made for a uniform administration of Land tenure system. With the existence of this Act, Farmers are given an opportunity to own land, or even lease landed properties.
b. Right to Quality Agro-Inputs:
For farmers who are into seed buying, the law of contract, and Sales of Goods Law amongst other prominent laws, protect the right of the purchasing farmer, where he is defrauded by the other party. This ensures that farmers enjoy what is referred to as quality agro-inputs. Where the purchase appears to be consistent, there also arises the need for a sales contract to regulate the transactions.
Agro-financing also known as Agriculture financing refers to (public or private) resources (in form of equity, gift or loan), for improving social welfare through the development of the agricultural sector. It encompasses not only government funds but also funds of non-governmental organizations that use matching grants to attempt to promote community and sector development, income equality and local empowerment.
Having highlighted the significant roles played by law in the Agricultural industry, it becomes pertinent to also highlight the areas of challenges faced in Implementation. A few of these challenges are:
a. Persistent Regulatory Review:
With the consistent review of legal provisions in the Nigerian Legal system, it becomes hard for the industry to keep up. To a large extent, there is a high dependence on investment. Thus, the constant change in policies, such as taxation, loan policy, and return on investment policies amongst others are sure to affect the economy.
b. Poor Sensitization:
It is no longer news that the majority of farmers have little or no access to the required knowledge surrounding their agricultural practice. Statistics show that there exists poor knowledge amongst farmers on the issues of land acquisition and management.
c. Lack of Proper Labour Infrastructure:
Law as earlier identified, cuts across every industry, so it is required that law also regulates the agricultural labour sector. This is considered one of the significant aspects of agriculture, it determines the production level and the revenue generated in this sector. This goes beyond manual labour, it also addresses the need for expertise, and outlines where there is a need for foreign expertise on matters of sustainability. There are laws like the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020, which address specifically the issue of foreign participation, but there is a lack of provisional arrangement for where this expertise concerns foreign expertise in agricultural sustainability.
Other challenges are transnational border transactions, poverty, and poor transportation medium.