Farming is a vocation and it takes time and experience to become very profitable. It may not even be profitable at all if you get the land measurement or size unit WRONG during land acquisition.
I’m forced to write this article and to enlighten the general public particularly those who intend to venture into agriculture (crop production). Most people have always fallen victim to buying agricultural land at an exorbitant price.
Note: I am not trying to say that land is cheap in Nigeria but, land dedicated for farming purposes is cheaper than land reserved for building purposes.
As a potential buyer wishing to acquire land for agricultural purposes, you need to be conversant with these terms (acres, feet, plot, hectare). The first hurdle is to understand the system of Land measurement in Nigeria.
In Nigeria’s land measurement system, land are measure in Feet, Meters, Hectares, and Acres. Although several factors affect these measurements, among which are environmental factors and developmental patterns.
The dictionary defines a Plot as a small area of ground covered by specific vegetation or a marked out piece of land for building or farming purposes.
As earlier stated, the size of a plot can vary for different reasons but according to Nigeria’s land division, the appropriate plot for house construction is 50 x 100ft which can accommodate a standard house with a small compound. In Lagos State, the standard size of a plot is 60 x 120ft (18m x 36m i.e. 648sqm), while in some other cities of the country, plots are measured in 50 x100ft.
The difference between agricultural lands and land dedicated for building purposes is the UNITS of measurement. You will agree with me that most land purchased for building purpose are being sold per plot or feet while agricultural land is sold per acres or hectares.
I’ve often realized that buying an agricultural land through a surveyor or real estate personnel is quiet expensive because they always want to sell their land per plots (unit).
The price of a land per plots varies across states or areas and it is determined by the level of development in the area. You may acquire land for Three Hundred Thousand Naira (300,000) or below in underdeveloped areas while land can also cost millions of Naira per plot in a well-developed area.
However, when a novice who intends to venture into agriculture gets land for Two thousand naira or 300,000 naira per plot. Such a person will be happy and see the land as a good deal. But the truth is that acquiring such land for agricultural purposes is EXPENSIVE.
When sourcing for agricultural land, always ensure you discuss price in either per acre or hectare. Do not engage in any discussion that will measure agricultural land to you per plots.
To further have a clear understanding of what I’m saying, let me do some illustration or calculations for us.
NOTE: The length of a standard football pitch must be between 100 yards (90m) and 130 yards (120m) and the width not less than 50 yards (45m) and not more than 100 yards (90m).
For example, Barcelona FC pitch is 105 m × 68 m (115 yd × 74 yd)
An acre is almost equivalent to the size of a standard football field and often used by Land sellers as a standard unit of measurement. An Acre is a product of any rectangular plot of land giving a total of 4,046sqm OR 43,560sq ft. An Acre consists of 6 plots each measuring 6 x 120ft.
It is a unit of surface area equal to 10,000 square meters. It is a land measuring of 100m x 100m OR 328ft x 328ft OR 10,000sqm. It is about two and a half acres. A Hectare consists of 15 plots.
A Plot = 50 x 100ft
Acre = 6 plots or 4,046 sqm
Hectare = 10,000 sqm, 100m by 100m, Two and half acres, 15 plots
Small scale farming = < 5 hectares (12.5 acres)
Large scale farming = > 5 hectares (12.5 acres)
Using a real-life experience as an example (our current project), one of our clients acquired 100plots of land for agricultural purposes at the rate of 300,000 naira per plots for Oil Palm establishment. This cost a total of Thirty million naira (30,000,000). To him, he considered it a good deal. But to us, it’s EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE.
This is because to none agricultural person, 100 plots of land are much, but to an Agriculturist, it is just 7 hectares of land.
And it will have a NEGATIVE effect on the project financial analysis such as B/C ratio, NPV, and IRR because the land acquisition already accounted for 90 percent of production cost while other costs such as labour wages, fertilizer, herbicide, planting material, and equipment accounted for just 10 percent.
However, in an ideal situation, 70 percent of the production cost of oil palm is usually taken by FERTILIZER.