1.0 Background to
The economies of the developed nations has agriculture as
the basis for growth and development. Most developing countries have
agriculture as their primary (traditional) pursuit and it’s the gateway to
sustained growth of the economies. Nigeria is greatly endowed with potentials,
resources and the wherewithal to provide the basic needs of the citizens.
Before discovering oil in commercial quantities, the economic system of Nigeria
was agro-based with the sector accounting for about two third of the Gross
domestic product (GDP) and during pre independence, it had been the main stay
of the nation.
According to (Amaza and Udoh, 2000), “agriculture is the
main stay of households in Nigeria and is a significant sector in Nigeria’s
economy. This explains that a strong agricultural sector has a multiplier
effect on any nation’s socio-economic and industrial fabric due to its
multi-dimensional nature. Until the 1970s the sector provided the basic food of
the population, was a major earner of foreign exchange for Nigeria and supplied
raw materials required by manufacturing sector to provide adequate employment.
The agriculture sector still remains the principal supplier of raw materials
for industries. Effort have been geared towards accelerating economic
development with the ultimate goal of transforming the economy into an
industrialized one, raising the welfare of the population with agriculture
acting as the catalyst for the realization of the goals. The traditional role
of agriculture in economic development provides the foundation for this
position (Obiechina, 2007).
Agriculture also called farming include the cultivation of
animals, plants, fungi and other forms of food biofuel, fibre, drugs and other
products, used to sustain and enhance human life. In most developing countries,
agriculture is the springboard for economic development and a sustained growth
of the modern economy. It can be stated here that economic growth goes
hand-in-hand with a flourishing agricultural sector, as well a dwindling
agricultural sector is the principal factor for poor economic performance of
developing countries particularly Nigeria. Abayomi (1997) stated that rising
agricultural productivity has been the main concomitant of successful
industrialization and among the roles conventionally ascribed to agricultural
sector constitutes the major source of employment.
Agriculture is a pertinent sector for reducing poverty and
sustaining growth of developing countries. In terms of contribution to Gross
Domestic Product, the food and agricultural sector dominates developing nations
including Nigeria especially among the rural dwellers. This contribution also
includes employment and income, its growth and development are necessary for
the overall process of socioeconomic development of Nigeria.
The fundamental roles ascribed to agriculture for
development has long been discovered/recognized. It is a major source of
contributions that help induce industrial growth and structural development of
an economy. Agriculture’s multiple functions for development follows triggering
economic growth, reducing poverty, narrowing income disparities, providing food
security and delivery of environmental services.
Classical theorists viewed economic development as a growth
process of relocating factors of production from an agricultural sector
characterized by low productivity and the use of traditional/crude technology
to a modern industrial sector characterized by high productivity.
In the early stages of development, large share of
manufacturing is agriculturally connected. As much, rising income of household
in rural areas is vital to provide market for manufactures and services
domestically produced. Moreso, technological change and output growth in
agriculture were linked to closed economy model that in turn held down urban
wage costs and stimulated competitive exports of industrial products (Hsieh and
Sadoulet, 2007). This ideology falls under the structural transformation
paradigm. There is however an argument for a broader role of agriculture for
In 2000, 191 United Nations members agreed on the central
role for meeting the environmental agenda and this was enshrined in the eight
millennium development goals. Agriculture is considered as the major user and
abuser of natural resources. Agriculture relates to the MDGs and “particularly
central to the three of them – poverty reduction and hunger, fostering gender
equality and sustainable management of environment”. Moreover, agricultural
growth remains critical to achieving these goals.
Based upon its substantial base to build upon in view of its
abundant natural resources, including 98.3 million hectares of which 74 million
hectare is good for farming even though a half is utilized (Omotor, 2009). In
view of its climate and agro ecological conditions, Nigeria has potential for
producing a wide variety of crops through mechanized farming. Climatic
characteristic of the nation from the tropical areas of the coast to the arid
zone of the north makes it possible to produce varieties of products that can
be grown in the tropical and semi tropical areas of the world. The varieties
include sorghum, yam, tuber, cocoa, palm fruit et cetera.
Agriculture suffers from low productivity reflecting
reliance on antiquated methods. The economic importance of agriculture covers
employment generation of which is a major labour employer, it holds the ace for
reducing unemployment. Unemployment is among the threatening problems facing
Records have it that the technological strides of the more
developed economies had their root in agriculture. Early development theorists
argue that agriculture can offer the much needed output of food and propagate
industrialization. The argument/debate is anchored on the raw materials needed
by the industries along with the labour that will be absorbed by industries.
The Nigerian economy was positive in 2003. Annual GDP grew
by 9.1 percent (NBS, 2007) between 2003 and 2005, 6.1 percent from 2006-2008.
The growth can be attributed to the non oil sector, primarily agriculture which
has grown rapidly accounting for about 35 percent to total GDP.
Effort to restore the sector has yielded less than optimal
result. Potential of the sector is large, considering the capacity of the
sector to provide the sustenance for the population through increased output
and employment to better the welfare of citizens, providing foreign exchange,
stimulating investment and industrialization. Because of poor technology,
output and income are low. Consequently, agriculture is caught in a low level
equilibrium trap where the rate of return cannot rise among other things in
view of the method of operation/practice (Titus, 1996). Developing the sector
is crucial to economic development. With soaring poverty, unemployment,
importation of basic tools needs agriculture holds, potential for bringing
about general development of national economy, therefore, the researcher has
embarked upon this study to evaluate the role of the Nigeria’s agriculture in
1.1 Statement of the
Agriculture is one of Nigeria’s real sector capable of
fostering economic growth. The sector is a catalyst, that is, it is a
propagator of growth which can trickle down to other sectors and thus bring
In Nigeria, agriculture has undergone neglect in the form of
poor management, poorly implemented government policies and lack of basic
infrastructure necessary for better performance. Nigeria’s economy can be
described as an agricultural economy even before independence and till date, a
greater part of the population is engaged in agricultural practice.
Agriculture employs over 65 percent of the labour force,
contributes immensely to gross domestic product and generates revenue for
government through export.
Despites these benefits, there is more that can be derived
howbeit, there is a dwindling interest in the sector. In 1980, government
expenditure (recurrent) in education was N155.81m, N52.79m for health,
transport and communications received N27.30m but government recurrent
expenditure on agriculture was a meager N17.14m for that period. This amount
decreased to N13.03m in the preceeding year, N14.80m in 1982, N12.77m in 1983
before rising again to N20.69m in 1986 and N46.15m in 1987 which cannot be
compared with N225.01m spent on education.
A further review reveals that in 2000, the federal recurrent
expenditure shows that N15.218m was spent on health, N57,956.64m was spent on
education, N25, 154.67m on internal security and N6,335.78m was sparingly given
Another problem facing this sector can be seen in the amount
of farmland cultivated. In 1990, 82 million hectares of Nigeria’s total land
area of about 91 million hectares were found arable even though42% of the
cultivated area was farmed.
Nigeria’s cocoa output has declined with a potential of
producing 300,000 tons per year, but in 1999 145,000 tons was produced. There
is how investment in agriculture. The potential of the sector is barely tapped
which explains the gap in meeting the increasing demand for agriculture commodities.
Credit facility is difficult to obtain. This hinders the shift from crude
implement to sophisticated farming machines. These problems necessitated this
study to determine the role of Nigeria’s agriculture in development.
1.2 Objectives of
The objectives of this study includes the following
1. To evaluate the
agricultural history of Nigeria.
2. To make
meaningful suggestions as remedial measures for solving some of the problems
facing agricultural development in Nigeria.
3. To assess the
cause of decline in agricultural production in the sector in Nigeria.
agriculture can bring about development.
reforms at revamping the sector for national development.
The operational hypothesis to support the research work is
hereby stated thus;
H0: Agriculture does
not have a significant effect on national development
H1: Agricultural has
a significant effect on national development.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF
A flourishing agricultural sector can offer a lot towards
economic development. The study aims to provide answers to what the relevance
of agriculture is to economic development, the causes of agricultural decline
and how the present agricultural productivity will be improved in order to
create more job opportunities, foreign exchange, investment opportunities for
overall economic development.
The research is significant as it stands to benefit Nigeria
as a whole. The research intends to bring out ways to improve on agriculture
for development through increased agricultural investment, research in finding
solutions to problem facing agriculture for development in Nigeria.
1.5 SCOPE AND
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study is Nigeria and focus on the role of
the Nigerian agriculture in development. The originality and reliability of any
study or research work is based on the quantity and quality of available data.
Hence, this research work is constrained by several factors including availability
of data in sufficient quantity, time constraint as well as sufficient finance
to complete the project write up.
1.6 DEFINITION OF
There are some terms that are used in this study that
require an explanation. The meaning of the concepts as it is portrayed in this
study is necessary for comprehension.
Agriculture is the occupation of cultivating land and
rearing crops and livestock, farming,. It is also the art or science of
cultivating the ground, including the harvesting of crops and the rearing and
management of livestock, tillage, husbandry, and farming.
Agricultural productivity is the rate of agricultural
commodities to the rate of inputs used in production. It is the ratio of output
to input in the agricultural production process.
Economic development is a sustained concerted actions of
policy makers and communities that promote the living standard and economic
health of an economy. It is also the quantitative and qualitative changes in an
Poverty according to the United Nations (2010) is the
inability of getting choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity.
It means lack of basic capacity to participate effectively in society. It means
not having enough to feed and clothe a family, not having school or clinic to
go to, not having the land on which to grow one’s food or a job to earn one’s
living, not having access to credit.
The World Bank (2010) defines poverty as pronounced
deprivation in well-being and comprises low incomes and the inability to
acquire basic goods and services necessary for survival with dignity.
UNEMPLOYMENT AND EMPLOYMENT
Unemployment is the state of being without work but actively
seeking or searching for work or waiting to return to work.
Employment is the state of having jobs and performing any