Why Nigeria Must Focus on Agricultural Growth

Why Nigeria Must Focus on Agricultural Growth? The Nigerian economic development begins with the development of agriculture. This is because in the early stages of economic development in Nigeria,  agriculture accounted for one-third to one-half of the GDP and employed two-thirds or more of the labour force.

Agricultural development is one of the most powerful tools to end extreme poverty, boost shared prosperity, and feed a projected 9.7 billion people by 2050. Growth in the agriculture sector is two to four times more effective in raising incomes among the poorest compared to other sectors.

Agriculture is also crucial to economic growth: accounting for 4% of global gross domestic product (GDP) and in some least developing countries, it can account for more than 25% of GDP.

Why Nigeria Must Focus on Agricultural Growth

Agriculture contributes 40% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs about 70% of the working population in Nigeria (CIA, 2012). Agriculture is also the largest economic activity in the rural area where almost 50% of the population lives.

Higher agricultural valued added per worker implies that more income is generated from agriculture which contributes to lower levels of poverty in rural areas. Lower poverty rates in rural territories is also associated with more production and income diversification and with more market oriented economies

Why Nigeria Must Focus on Agricultural Growth? Agriculture is a key activity for Nigeria’s economy after oil. Nevertheless, agricultural activities provide livelihood for many Nigerians, whereas the wealth generated by oil reach a restricted share of people.

Study investigated the impact of other mean of development on poverty reduction and the overall growth rate in  Nigeria and asserted agricultural growth is more effective than industrial growth in reducing poverty because a major percentage of the population (about 70%) live in rural areas. In Nigeria, the agricultural sector is favourable as it allows greater employment opportunities for the poor. 

Even though the industrial sector is important for boosting the economy, it fails to create sufficient employment opportunities for the poor and unskilled workers.

The various potential benefits of agriculture also justified why Nigeria must focus on agricultural growth. Though faced with diverse difficulties, Agriculture continues to play an important role in speeding up the growth agenda in Nigeria and it is evident to all, at this point, that promoting agriculture in the country is an essential need for the development of the economy.  Some of the potentials of the agricultural sector are:

  1. Diversification of the economy from mono-culture and over-reliance on crude oil, especially with the global plummet in price that has launched a decline on the economy.
  2. Production of food and raw materials for the country’s teeming population and the manufacturing sector respectively to discourage heavy dependency on imports.
  3. Reduction in the country’s unemployment level due to the labour-intensiveness of the agric sector.
  4. Agriculture is capable of controlling the effect of rural-urban migration thereby decongesting urban areas. Consequently, this will lead to even population distribution and improved life quality for both rural and urban dwellers.
  5. Also, growing the agric sector will help to improve other sectors (like the industrial and transport sectors among others) that way creating newer opportunities in those sectors.

Major Challenges Hindering Agricultural Growth in Nigeria

Among several problems facing the Nigeria agricultural sector, history reveals two major challenges as listed below: 

  1. Inability to meet the required quantity needed to meet the country’s internal food demand and this leading to hunger and malnutrition in Nigeria, and
  2. Incapability to export farm produce at standard quality levels required for market success. 

The two challenges listed are directly birthed by the defective input system and faulty management of output within an extensively inefficient farming model. Being unable to export our farm produce due to low quality is most especially caused by an inefficient system for setting and enforcing food quality standards coupled with inadequate knowledge about the target markets.

The core of the underlining issues with Nigeria’s agricultural economy is insufficient supply, as well as quality management and control. Both issues speak directly of the quality of information and accessible aid to the bulk of the population of agric practitioners within the country who are rural farmers.

Leave a Reply