Nigeria’s agriculture is diverse, presenting various opportunities. It includes four sub-sectors, namely; crop, livestock, fishery and forestry. The crop sub-sector accounts for about 90.0 per cent of agricultural production in Nigeria, followed by the livestock sub-sector which contributes about 7.0 per cent. Fishing activities contribute about 2.0 per cent and forestry activities account for about 1.0 per cent. However, Nigeria remains a food-deficit country blessed as it is with abundant agro-ecological resources and diversity. As reported by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the number of people undernourished has been on the increase, from 8.7 per cent of total population in 2007-09 to 11.2 percent in 2012-2014. This is because adequate attention has not been given to the agricultural sector, particularly after the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in the country. For instance, the proportion of government total recurrent and capital expenditure allocated to the agricultural sector between 1981 and 2014 has been less than 3.0 per cent compared with the 25 per cent recommended by the FAO, and the minimum of 10 per cent recommended by the African Union. Similarly, the agricultural sector’s share of total commercial banks sectoral allocation of loans and advances to the economy declined from the height of 19.6 per cent, attained in 1996 to 3.7 per cent in 2014. Meanwhile the Bank of Agriculture set up to focus on financing the sector has been plagued by inadequate capital and poor management. Other funding initiatives put in place to assist the agricultural sector have not been very successful as well due to the peculiar nature of agricultural production in Nigeria and hence, the preference for financing of commerce by financial institutions. It is therefore recommended that more financial resources be strategically directed at the agricultural sector for sustainable development of the Nigerian economy in view of the traditional role of agriculture in a developing economy.
KEYWORDS: Financing, Economic Development, Agriculture, Sustainability.
Economic development is a process whereby an economy’s real national income increases over a long period of time. The term economic development also refers to achievement by poor countries of higher levels of real per capita income and improved conditions of living for their people. That is an environment more like those prevailing in developed countries (Ojo, 2010). Sustainable development is defined as development that meets the need of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Akatugba and Ogisi, 2005). The principles that govern sustainable development are:
(i) the principle of intergenerational equity- which advocates the necessity to preserve nature for the benefit of future generations;