AN ASSESSMENT OF THE ROLE OF NIGERIA’S AGRICULTURE IN DEVELOPMENT
1.0 Background to the Study
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.