Architecture Project Topics

Architectural Design of a Farmers’ Market, at Onitsha, Anambra State

Architectural Design of a Farmers’ Market, at Onitsha, Anambra State






“Market” is an area or setting in which price making forces (demand and supply) operates. It is the organization of the exchange of commodities and process by which all the institutions and people concerned are kept in close contact. Kohl and Uhls (1980), defined market as an area for organizing and facilitating business activities, and deciding on what to produce and distribute. The emphasis in the concept of market is on the “contact” which is established between sellers and buyers. These contacts can be established either by letter writing. (i.e correspondence), through the use of a telephone or by meeting at a particular place or on the internet. Market sustains the economic base of towns as well as the tax base of local authority. Hence, the market is both an economic institution as well as the links between people of diverse ethnic groups, racial background and cultural traits, (Claes, 2005). Meanwhile, for a market to be perfect, certain conditions has to be fulfilled. They include the following issues examined:

  1. Population of buyers and sellers: The number of buyers and sellers should be so large that no buyer or seller can influence the price of the commodity traded.
  2. One unique price: This is the basis of a perfect market. When price differences are eliminated, one price comes to prevail, which is the sign of a perfect market.
  3. Complete and perfect knowledge of conditions in the market: Buyers and sellers must have exact knowledge of demand and supply situations and prevailing prices elsewhere in the market.
  4. Free entry and exit: For a market to be perfect, each buyer and seller should be able to move in and out of the market freely with little or no restriction.
  5. Homogenous commodity: The product of any seller in a perfectly competitive market must be the same product of any other seller.
  6. Very small or no transport cost: The cost of transport should be minimal, at least relative to the cost of the commodity to be purchased.

Marketing refers to the process of identifying, anticipating and satisfying consumers‟ requirements for the goods and services they need. Marketing may be thought of as simply the process of making goods available to consumers and covers all business functions, including decision making (Arena, 1998). As such, the existence of market depends greatly on marketing, which involves sellers and buyers or consumers, determining the needs and desires of buyers, educating them with regards to available products and developing strategies to persuade them to buy.

Agricultural marketing consists of all the activities involved in the flow of agricultural related commodities and services from the point of production to the point of consumption (Olukosi and Isitor, 1990). According to Abbot and Makaham (1990), “The marketing of agricultural produce begins at the farm, when the farmer plans his production to meet specific demands and market prospects.” Arena (1998) expanded the scope of agricultural marketing to include the legal, physical and economic services that makes it possible for products to move from producers to consumers in the form desired by the consumers. These functions include those of buying, transportation, processing, standardization, marketing intelligence, selling of farm inputs and outputs.


The state lies between latitudes 5°41 and 7°051 North and longitude 6°31 East and occupies an area of approximately 5025 km2 (NPC, 2006). It was carved out of the former, larger Anambra State on August 27, 1991. It is bounded by Delta State to the west, Imo State to the south, Enugu State to the east and Kogi State to the north. With a land mass of about 4,416sq km with an approximate population of 4,182,022 (as at 2012). The people of Anambra State are predominantly Igbos and are very industrious. The inhabitants of the rural communities are mainly farmers. Within urban towns and cities, there is the cultivation of market gardens. Anambra State is divided into four agricultural zones (namely: Aguata, Anambra, Awka and Onitsha). The agricultural zones are comprised of 21 Local Governments Areas.

Three out of the four agricultural zones were purposively selected (Onitsha, Aguata and Awka) due to high concentration of market garden operators. Two Local Governments Areas were similarly purposively selected from each of the agricultural zones to give a total of six Local Governments Areas used for the study. Selected Local Governments Areas were Onitsha North and South, Awka North and South, Nnewi North and Aguata. Each Local Governments Areas, has on the average 15 market gardens. Considering the manageable number and strong network among gardeners in the state.

Several raw materials and agro-products are produced in various parts of the State. For example Cassava is widely grown in Orumba South Local Government, Yam in Anambra West and Rice in Anambra East. Fishery products are abundant in Ogbaru. Though the marketing of vegetables and fruit is not restricted to a particular area of the state, because in a good number of residential houses there are small garden which can provide enough for the family that stays there either fruit trees or vegetables are planted.

Although Onitsha does not have the largest land mass, they will not be deprived the opportunity to enjoy healthy meals. There are pockets of spaces that have been industriously used to provide for this need; not every house has the space to plant their own vegetable garden, but eating healthy is essential for everyone. Therefore the need to give them a perfect vegetable market is very important.


Currently, Nigeria has 75 percent of its land suitable for agriculture, but only 40% is cultivated. That indicates there is much room for the country to focus on provided with the proper infrastructures. This addresses the food security and agriculture component of their plan along with the focus on employment for all. However, to move forward, the country must increase the productivity of current agricultural companies, engage competition within the agricultural sector, develop domestic policies and increase consumption of homegrown agricultural produce.

There are also goals in the areas of livelihoods improvement, sustainable development and policy and institutional reforms. This involves conducting agricultural surveys, and establishing smallholder fattening schemes for livestock. It also includes the rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructures and expansion of those structures as well. There is also a call for a 1,000 capacity community farm center; there is also a plan for increasing the effectiveness of fish hatcheries by establishing parent stock programs and there will also be vaccination programs for livestock. There will be a revision of the guaranteed minimum price system for crops and livestock; as well there will also be government training for the first 10,000 new agricultural workers (Ayoola 2009).

Nigeria is fortunate to have an abundance of fertile soil along with a climate suitable for agriculture. There is also a supply of human resources that could benefit from having the agricultural sector to work in. The agricultural sector is favourable as it allows greater employment opportunities for the poor, though the industrial sector is important for boosting the economy, it fails to create sufficient employment opportunities for the poor and unskilled worker.

Speaking on the contribution to Economic development of the sector of Agriculture in this nation. This was observed by Todaro and Smith in their work. They wrote, A common alternative economic index of development has been the use of rates of growth of income per capita to take into account the ability of a nation to expand its output. Ray quoted Lucas as saying, “by the problem of economic development I mean simply the problem of accounting for the observed pattern across countries and across time, in levels and rates of growth of per capita income”  and wrote that “low per capita incomes are an important feature of economic underdevelopment –perhaps the most important feature” (1989, p. 10). He clearly stated in his works that “the universal features of economic development –health, life expectancy, literacy, and so on- follow in some natural way from the growth of per capita GNP, perhaps with the passage of time” (1989, p.9). Therefore, the above clearly implies that the indicators are positively correlated.

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The term ‘economic development’ has previously been viewed as alterations in the framework of production and employment. This means that when there is a rise in the manufacturing and service industry in a country, the agricultural sector tends to decline. This is the reason most strategies for

Growth in economic development focus mainly on rapid industrialization and concentrate on the urban areas while the rural areas and agriculture are highly neglected.

With all that has been said, it is obvious that we do not have enough to feed ourselves effectively as a Nation, not to even envisage feeding the Countries around the world by exporting food to them. This project is to provide a platform for the distribution of the farmers’ produce within ourselves. Promoting the consumption of our own produce, cutting short the expenses of importing foodstuff and building trust in our producers.


Studies have shown that the Nigerian economy, during the first decade after independence, could reasonably be described as an agricultural economy because agriculture served as the engine of growth of the overall economy (Ogen, 2003:231-234). From the standpoint of occupational distribution and contribution to the GDP, agriculture was the leading sector. During this period, Nigeria was the world’s second largest producer of cocoa, largest exporter of palm kernel and largest producer and exporter of palm oil. Nigeria was also a leading exporter of other major commodities such as cotton, groundnut, rubber and hides and skins (Alkali, 1997:15-16). The agricultural sector contributed over 60% of the GDP in the 1960s and despite the reliance of Nigerian peasant farmers on traditional tools and indigenous farming methods, these farmers produced 70% of Nigeria’s exports and 95% of its food needs. (Lawal, 1997:195) However, the agricultural sector suffered neglect during the hey-days of the oil boom in the 1970s. Ever since then, Nigeria has been witnessing extreme poverty and the insufficiency of basic food items.

Historically, the roots of the crisis in the Nigerian economy lie in the neglect of agriculture and the increased dependence on a mono- cultural economy based on oil. As the food situation performance of the agricultural sector got worsened, a number of agricultural development institutions were set up and special programs and projects were launched. These include: National Accelerated Food Production Program, NAFPP (1973); Agricultural Development Project, ADP (1975); Operation Feed the Nation, OFN (1976); River Basin Development Authorities, RBDA (1977); National Seed Service, NSS (1977); Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme, ACGS (1977); Rural Banking Scheme, RBS (1977); Green Revolution, GR (1979); Directorate of Food Road and Rural Infrastructure, DFRRI (1986); National Agricultural Land Development Authority, NALDA (1992); National Fadama Development Project, NFDP (1992); Nigerian Agricultural Cooperatives and Rural Development Bank, NACRDB (2000); National Agricultural Development Fund, NADF (2002); Commodity Marketing and Development Companies, CMDC (2003).

According to Ihimodu (2004), empirical records of many of these programs and projects are not impressive enough to bring about the expected transformation of the sector. The food self- sufficiency ratio has fallen from 98% in early 1960s to less than 54% in 1986. In 1990, 18% of the population (14.4 million) was estimated to be critically food insecure and this has increased to 36% (32.7 million) in 1992 and further increased to 40.7% in 1996. Presently, over 40% of Nigeria‟s estimated population of 133 million people is food insecure (Idachaba 1980). To be able to provide needed food for the rising Nigerian population, the government adopted the „fire brigade‟ approach of food importation. The agricultural sector now accounts for less than 5% of Nigeria‟s GDP. As noted earlier, the neglect of the agricultural sector and the dependence of Nigeria on a mono-cultural, crude oil-based economy have not augured well for the well-being of the Nigerian economy. In a bid to address this drift, the Nigerian government as from 1975 became directly involved in the commercial production of food crops. Several large scale agricultural projects specializing in the production of grains, livestock, dairies and animal feeds, to mention but a few were established (Fasipe, 1990: 129-130). Sugar factories were also established at Numan, Lafiagi and Sunti (Lawal, 1997: 196). The Nigerian Agricultural and Co-operative Bank (NACB) was established in 1973 as part of government’s effort to inject oil wealth into the agricultural sector through the provision of credit facilities to support agriculture and agro-allied businesses (Olagunju, 2000: 98). Marketing of agricultural produce is not peculiar to Nigeria. It has attracted a global attention as more than 800 million people throughout the developing countries and some other 40 millions in developed world do not have enough food to meet their basic needs and millions more experience hunger, malnutrition, growth retardation and sometime death due to starvation. Idachaba (2004), observed that food insecurity could be caused by supply-side factors and demand-side factors. One of the supply-side causes of food insecurity as identified by Idachaba (2004), is food-marketing problem. Idachaba (2004), argued that the dwindling agricultural production in Nigeria is a confirmation of the unattractiveness of agriculture as a result of low returns and compensation being paid to farmers, which tend to discourage increased production. The food marketing problems are evidenced when farmers, (who are the primary producers and who reside mostly in rural areas) could not get their produce to the market at the right time (thereby incurring considerable post-harvest losses) and are not given better returns for their efforts. This perceived „cheating‟ causes discouragement and leads to loss of interest in farming and consequently a reduction in food production. A strong and an efficient agricultural sector would enable a country to feed its growing population, generate employment, earn foreign exchange and provide raw materials for industries.


Case studies were carried out by the author, to enable him to further understand the project, the mode of construction, the challenges they encounter, their day-to-day running systems, their codes, and the way their problems can be solved using architectural methods and solutions. A total of six case studies were carried out, three were carried out on local markets while the other three were carried out on foreign markets. They include:

2.4.1 CASE STUDY 1

Project: Ose Market

Location: Along Ajasa Street, Onitsha, Anambra state.


The market is located at a nodal point, with several road networks converging there, there are shops built up very close to the main road, but the main road leading into the market itself is filled with temporary shades, which are mostly just tables with the umbrella. There is constantly a high figure in the human and vehicular traffic.


These includes the following:

  1. Meeting hall (for Wednesday Prayers).
  2. A tax force office.
  3. Blocks of shops.


Plate 2.1 : Ose Market

Source: Researcher’s Field Survey, 2017

Plate 2.2: Inside one of the shops

Source: Researcher’s Field Survey, 2017

2.4.2 CASE STUDY 2

Project: Mgbaukwu Market

Location: By New Market Street, opposite St. Stephen Ang. Church


The obvious thing about the market is the uniformity in its form and pattern. It has a very simple design, a display area covered under a gable roofed shade. Though, it lacked proper drainage, there were pathways clearly located in the market to make movement very free and open, with a 100% lightning and ventilation. The popular name of the Market is called “Nkwo Mgbakwu”.

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