Importance of Agriculture in Nigeria Economic Development. Nigeria is a country that is highly endowed with material and human resources. One of these material resources includes a vast array of land that is arable. This is among the reason for this post on “The Importance Of Agriculture In Nigeria Economic Development”. However, despite the presence of such wealth, the economic status of Nigeria is decreasing apart from the poverty that is increasing every day in the country. In fact, currently, Nigeria has been tagged to be among the World power when it comes to the agricultural sector. A major reason for the decline in the economic status of the country lies mostly in the hands of the Government. This is due to the fact that the Government has centralized the source of income to the country by relying only on the crude oil that the country is also endowed with.
There are many sectors in Nigeria that can contribute to the development of the economic status positively but the role of agriculture cannot be sidelined. Looking at the lands present in Nigeria, about 80 percent of this land is arable. But funny enough, less than half of the land has actually been used for the farming activities. Most of the people usually look at agriculture as a minor course but believe me or not, there seems to be coming a time in the history of Nigeria that the major source of income will be from the agricultural sector. Currently, agriculture contributes about 30 to 40 percent to the National Gross Domestic Product with most of the source for such income arises from the full participation of the rural area in agriculture. But looking at the vast importance of agriculture, the sector is expected to contribute much more to the development of the economy.
Also, looking at the favourable climatic condition of Nigeria, Agriculture is going to be a very feasible business in Nigeria. The climate varies from the thick rainforest of the southern region to the desert like and savannah climate in the North. The major crops grown in Nigeria in abundance are sesame, Maize, millet, Oil Palm, banana, rice, rubber, sorghum, soybeans, yams etc. In addition to these crops, the agricultural sector of Nigeria provides for the provision of fruits like Pineapples, Apples, citrus like oranges, lemon, lime and tangerine, and cherry.
When it comes to discussing the role and importance of agriculture in Nigeria economic development, it will be an issue that will never be exhausted. Therefore, in this article, we present for you the major importance of agriculture in developing the economy of Nigeria
Importance of Agriculture in Nigeria Economic Development
Before the advent of oil discovery in Nigeria, agriculture has been the main source of income for the country. And for your information, agriculture provides the highest income for Nigeria when compared with the income the oil is providing in Nigeria now. Apart from that, Nigeria is also blessed with enough food to feed the nation during that period. However, the petrodollars attached to the Oil Industry turned the face of the then Nigeria Government from the agricultural sector to the Oil sector. And to be candid, this detrimental decision of the Government has caused an adverse effect on the economy of the nation. However, despite the fact that the source of income from the agricultural sector has been shifted to the oil sector, agriculture still plays some major role in the development of Nigeria economy. These roles are:
Role of Agriculture in Nigeria
- 1. Provision of Employment
As the rate at which unemployment is increasing daily in Nigeria, there is an urgent need for the provision of employment for the youth. Even though agriculture is no longer the main source of income for the nation, if proper intervention is given to the sector, the sector will in much more way contribute to the eradication of unemployment.
Also, the venture into agriculture will eradicate the dependency on the Federal government as venturing agriculture is a self-dependent business. As of 2010, agricultural sector provided employment opportunity for about 30 percent of the population and this value has been on rising since then. If the opportunities of agriculture are being explored, believe me, the unemployment will be drastically reduced. For example, Dangote’s tomato paste factory which was recently commissioned in Kano State is of high certainty in increasing the livelihood of many youths by providing employment opportunities for at least 3000 youths.
- 2. Foreign Exchange Earner
Apart from reducing the unemployment situation in the country, agricultural sector also has the capacity of contributing to the foreign exchange of the country. Second, to oil, agriculture is the second highest foreign exchange earner for the country.
Cocoa is one of the highest foreign exchange earners of Nigeria producing about 300,000 tons of cocoa per year in the agricultural sector. This is giving a hope that if the traditional agricultural methods are improved with modern mechanized methods, the agricultural sector will do well in contributing to the economic development of the country. Oil is one of the major foreign exchange earners for Nigeria, other agricultural products like rubber, which is second to the cocoa in foreign exchange earnings, are also produced.
- 3. Diversification of the Economy
Looking at the fluctuations in the oil sector, there is the urgent need for the country to diversify as they say that more than one source of income will definitely increase the economic development. If proper intervention is done in the agricultural sector, the sector will definitely serve as an alternative when there is downtime in the oil sector. Even though little contribution is being made to the sector, these efforts can be doubled or even tripled in order to achieve a more stable economy.
- 4. Food Security
In a country, the most important thing you should be the provision of food for the populace as the quality of life of the people is a reflection of the quality and quantity of food consumed. Looking at the population of Nigeria which is more than 160 million and still on the rise, there is the need for the provision of food for the populace. Apart from that, the security of the food provided by the country to the populace has been taken into cognizance.
Rather than importing most of these food products, we should explore the arable and fertile soil of Nigeria to provide food for ourselves. In this way, the economic development of the country will be ascertained. From this perspective, the Nigerian Government has put forth some policies in order to promote the agricultural sector of the country even though the full implementation has not been carried out.
- 5. Provision of Raw Materials to support Industries
Another role of agricultural sector in developing the economy is the role performed by the agricultural sector in the provision of agro-based raw materials to cater for the fledging, manufacturing and production industry. Animal products like cattle hide and wool and plant products like cassava, cotton, oil palm are very important raw materials that are in high demand by these industries. The provision of raw materials by the agricultural sector to these industries will definitely boost the output of the industries and in fact, attract foreign investments into the country.
- 6. Infrastructural Development
One other way in which agriculture will help is in the development of the infrastructure of the country. And once the country is well equipped with infrastructure, there will even be an increase in foreign intervention.
With all the major importance of agriculture in Nigeria economic development discussed above, there is a need for development in the agricultural sector
Reasons For Development
The practice of monoculture by the Nigeria Government, which is the sole dependency on the income generated from the crude oil has turned the country to which strive hard to provide for her people. Recently, the high increase in the local petrol price has left some people with no other choice than to source for money from different illegal sources. Also, the high increase in the petroleum has also reduce the general money in circulation thereby reducing the economic status of the country. But with agriculture, the dependency on the government for support will be a thing of the past as agriculture can turn your life around even with just a little fund.
Also, looking at the rate at which insecurity of the nation is on the rise due to the illegal acts left for the youth, there is the need for empowerment of youth in order to stabilize and even increase the economic status of the country.
Most of the rural and urban farmers are willing to contribute to the economic status of the country but they are being capacitated by both finance and equipment constraints. Provision of these types of equipment for the farmers will definitely contribute in a positive way to the development of the Nigeria economy. And even, once the government has started the empowerment, believe me, the number of people that will venture into agriculture will increase drastically. And also, there will be a high migration of people from the urban region of the country to the rural region. This will not do any harm but rather help in the development of the rural areas. Hopefully, once all these have been implanted, the economy of Nigeria can be on the same level with that of developed countries like USA and UK.
That’s all about Importance of Agriculture in Nigeria Economic Development.
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