Importance of Agriculture in Nigeria
As can be seen, the act of farming and food production benefits both the farmer and farm product users. It is good for man sustainance and country’s economy.
For this reason, here are the main reasons why agriculture is important in everyday life.
1. Sources of livelihood
Agriculture is important as a source of livelihood, without it, our existence will not have been possible. In Nigeria, the main occupation of many is agriculture; although, the discovery of crude oil has made many to abandon this occupation.
With the price of crude oil declining, many are now re-discovering agriculture as a source of livelihood. In fact, statistics has shown that many Nigeria youth are now practicing one type of agriculture or the other.
In addition, over 75% of the people living in rural area of the country are directly involve agriculture; making it a source of livelihood for them.
If this is very important to the people is our rural areas, then what impact does it have on the urban population?
Well…. those living in cities and town will depend mainly on the supplies from our villages. This is an advantage to those living in the rural area.
As a matter of fact, it is an opportunity for them to make money from these agricultural produce; a good source of income and livelihood.
Significantly, agriculture also supply human with food of high nutrition. For a better understanding, here are the food nutritional substances we get through food.
Importance of Agriculture through Food Supply
Agriculture is the primary source of the food products we consume. For this reason, the substances within the food we eat is vital to us as human; these substances are – protein, carbohydrate, vitamins, mineral and fat.
Let me briefly talk about each of these food nutrients as they relate to the importance of agriculture to human.
Proteins are know to be an essential for human body. As a matter of fact, proteins are the building blocks of human body tissue; such as muscle, hair, etc.
Source of protein include Egg, fish, lean meat, poultry and dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese etc.
Carbohydrate are food nutrients necessary for the supply of energy to human and all living things. They consist of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen.
Food high in Carbohydrates are bread, pasta, beans, potatoes, rice, and cereals.
Fat is one of the major nutrients derived from agricultural produce. In fact, dietary fats are necessary to protect human organs and cell growth; additionally, they give our body energy and warmth.
Major source of dietary fat include meat, milk, cheese, butter, cream and baked products like biscuits and pastries etc.
As can be seen, the importance of agriculture in Nigeria and any part of the world cannot be ignored.
2. Agriculture Brings Poverty Reduction
One of the major benefits of agriculture is the reduction of poverty and the improvement of lives in rural areas; in other words, agriculture saves lives, brings sustainability and development to a nation.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on – FAO supports countries to develop evidence-based policies to eradicate poverty, 75% of the world’s poorest people lives in the rural areas; therefore, agriculture has a key role to play in these countries.
Two questions that come to mind are:
How can agriculture alleviate poverty?
Agriculture will alleviate poverty directly or indirectly through the introduction and practice of sustainable agricultural practices.
Evidences has shown that agriculture has direct impact on poverty reduction through agricultural development in a country. As a matter of fact, it has direct impact on economic development outside of the agricultural sector.
In addition, agriculture can alleviate poverty through the following ways:
Increased farm productivity;
Help increase food supply;
Create employment opportunities (see below); and
Reduces cost of food prices.
As shown above, Nigeria and other developing countries can alleviate poverty by focusing on long term crops and livestock; with minimal effect on the environment.
and for the second question on……
How can we reduce poverty in rural areas?
Poverty can be reduced in rural areas by helping farmers to increase their quality of life; in addition to practicing sustainable agriculture.
3. Business Opportunities within the agriculture sector
As shown above, agriculture is a good source of income; people in the rural area are reaping its benefits. In addition, agriculture create business opportunity for individuals and organization looking to practice it. How?
As well as you may be aware, success in business comes when you are able to provide solution to people’s problems. Being able to meet the demand for food, raw materials and other agriculture products will create wealth to those involve in the business.
Obviously, there is money to be made in agriculture. If not, the likes of Bill gate (world’s richest man) and Larry Ellison (CEO of the global computer technology, Oracle) will not venture into the agriculture business. Modernfarmer.com just listed 5 billionaire that has ties to the agriculture industry.
You may argue that these billionaires are foreign rich people……. well, let me come back to the Africa continent; I can categorically tell you that Dangote (Richest man in Nigeria that double up as the richest black man) invest heavily in agriculture. As a matter of fact, most of his income are generated from agriculture products.
In the light of this, I can tell you that there are various business opportunities in Nigeria when it comes to agriculture; that is to say, it leads the way on business and investment opportunities.
Another very important aspect of the business that exist within the agriculture sector is the exportation of agriculture product.
4. Importance of Agriculture as an Employment Opportunities
With great human and natural resources, Nigeria is blessed. Within the agricultural sectors, there are many opportunities for our youths. From job training positions for news graduate and non-graduates to expert positions; there exist great employment opportunities.
For example, agriculture needs constructions of various infrastructures such as good drainage and irrigation systems, These systems are important in the agriculture sector; therefore, its construction and maintenance are equally important too.
By and large, the sector has been the highest contributor to the Nigeria labour force. While statistics from world bank website on employment in agriculture shows a great decline in the Nigeria agriculture sector; at the same time, it made it clear that there are great employment opportunities for people looking for jobs.
5. Agriculture as Sources of raw materials
Leading manufacturing companies such as sugar manufacturers, cotton and textile companies depend on raw materials from agriculture produce.
In addition, fruit juice processing, rice husking, vegetable processing and few others depend on these raw materials; in other words, the importance of agriculture can be felt in the manufacturing sector too.
Nigeria as a country as been a major source of raw materials for local use and for exportation. Image above from the National Bureau of statistic indicated an increase of 31.8% in raw material export value. This is actually a significant increase for the country agriculture sector.
6. Role of Agriculture in economy development
Truly, there is no way we’ll talk about the Importance of Agriculture in Nigeria without talking about its role in the economic development of the country. To begin with, let us look at other income generating sector to the Nigeria economy.
The Oil sector
While Nigeria depend mainly in the exportation of crude oil, recent happenings in the oil industry should make us think twice.
What are these recent happening?
The simple answer to that is – crude oil price is declining. The rate at which oil price is falling is fast; according to OPEC as shown in a bar chat diagram by Statista.com, the price of oil per barrel has seen over 50% reduction compared to five years ago.
What does the statistic mean?
It simply mean that Nigeria should stop depending on revenue from crude oil. Rather than focusing on crude oil money, they should focus more on agriculture for her economy development.
Despite the fact that Nigeria is a major player in the oil industry, its economy sustenance still mainly depend on Agriculture.
7. Benefits of agriculture to economic development
Since agriculture create employment for the people, it is directly or indirectly contributing to the country economic development. In fact, it help in raising the level of national income (these people pay tax to the government) and at the same time, it give individual a better standard of living.
By and large, agriculture plays a significant role in all the process of economic development of a country.
For example, it role has already been felt in the economic prosperity of advanced countries such as the United State of America, United Kingdom, Germany and many more.
Now, it is time for the governments of developing countries to embrace agriculture as a way to make a significant improvement to their economy.
By doing so, their will be:
An increase in the provision of food and raw materials (as mentioned above);
Empowerment to the rural people which in turn bring out the importance of agriculture; in other words, it will encourage them;
Creation of wealth;
Increase in exportation of agricultural products; and
Provision of basic infrastructure.
8. Importance of Agriculture for International trading – Exportation of Products
This is one of the most significant importance of agriculture to any country. In fact, Nigeria and China are really benefiting from it. Because of the fact that the demand for agricultural product is high, countries producing them can reap from the benefits.
Since it encourages international trading, it also act as a source of foreign exchange for the country. How?
For the fact that most of the developed countries are importers of agriculture products, it give the developing countries an opportunity to export their products based on demands.
Yes, these demands are high.
For example, statistic on rice importation put China and Nigeria as the two highest importer of the item; the combine total rice imported by the two countries is in excess of 8,100, 000 Metric Tonnes.
So, what does the statistic mean?
It simply mean that both China and Nigeria are spending $ billions to import rice.
Nigeria need to up her rice production. By doing so, the country not only save money on the importation of rice, but also generate revenue by exporting rice to other countries.
9. Income generation: Benefits of Agriculture to government
As mentioned above (point number 7), agricultural produce act as income generator for governments. In the example of rice that we did, Nigeria government can turn the importation of rice (if rice production in increased) into an income.
Below, I have analyzed agriculture can act as a for of income generator to the Nigeria government.
Role and Importance of Agriculture in Nigeria Economy and development
Statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics in Nigeria has shown that in the last quarter of last year, the GDP recorded from the agriculture sector is over 47%. What does this mean? It simply mean that the government revenue from that sector is high; even higher that that of manufacturing and communication sector.
Truly, there is no country that does not need huge amount of capital for its economic development. By increasing agriculture output, Nigeria as a country will increase its capital formation.
What is capital formation?
Capital formation is a term used to describe the net capital accumulation during an accounting period for a particular country, and the term refers to additions of capital stock, such as equipment, tools, transportation assets and electricity. Cited from – Investopedia.
How does Capital Formation relates to importance of Agriculture?
There are great relationship between the two as capital formation act as a catalyst that generate funds for the government.
These funds are generated through the following:
Labour and Capital Transfer: This can be in the form of transferring labour and capital from farm to non-farm activities. An important aspect of creating employment in the Nigeria economic system.
Product exportation: Many of the primary farm products can be exported like the case of rice we mentioned above. This will increase government revenue and at the same time, have a significant increase in the Nigeria economy development.
Taxation: Agricultural taxation is another form of revenue for the government. In fact, it is one of the importance of agriculture for both individual and the government
For individuals, they will enjoy more government facilities and infrastructures; while same tax paid will empower the government to develop and improve its facilities and infrastructure to the citizens.
Subsidy: Government can purchase these agricultural products from farmers at low rate (price good enough for farmers) and sell them at a higher price to other countries.
You can see that the role played by agriculture in Nigeria for its economic development is vital; therefore, we all need to embrace it for the development of our country.
Agriculture play an important role in the economic development of a nation. As shown above, it is important not only for the production of food for local consumption, but also as a source of income to both individuals (or corporate entities) and government.
As we engage more in agricultural activities, we give ourselves more chances of enriching our pockets and our bank accounts. Therefore, for those asking the question – Why is Agriculture Important? You could clearly see that without agriculture, we can not survive; furthermore, it is has economy importance to our country.
For Nigerians to see the full importance of agriculture and the role it play in the country’s economic development, it is important to realize the need to embrace agricultural practices. By doing so, we are given our nation the opportunity to be rich again.