1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Without any doubt, agriculture is one of the necessities for the growth and development of any particular country. This is because agriculture has some links with other sectors like the industrial sector and also peoples economic growth and development. However, agriculture involves the cultivation of land, raising and rearing of animals for the purpose of food for man, feed for animals and raw materials for industries. Agriculture involves cropping, livestock, forestry and fishing, processing and marketing of these agricultural products. Broadly, agriculture can be classified as crop production, livestock, forestry and fishing. Thus, the importance of agriculture in society goes beyond it being a source of food and raw materials for industries to provision of job opportunities and a source of foreign exchange. However, agricultural extension was ascribed by the colonial government as one of the important activities for economic take off in Nigeria.
Agriculture is the mostly widespread activity, it serves as a means of livelihood for more than quarter of mankind, raw material for factories, which human beings depend upon and for feeding the agro allied industries. The surplus is sold to purchase other necessities of life such as clothes, can food, electric cookers, stoves, refrigerator, cables, satellite, television sets and radio sets among others. Many industries will shut down without agriculture. Despite the work of science and technology, the world is a dead place without food.1
Agricultural development through the adoption of new farm input, technological knowhow, rural roads facilities. Rural electrification enhances increase in food production, provide employment, obviate rural urban drift as well as improve standard of living of the rural populace and social status. Government strategies to increase farm income of the rural farmers is designed in such a way that farmers input are scientifically and technologically improved to bring about greater output. Before the 1960s, Nigeria former regional governments namely the North, West, East, and Mid-west, undertook different policies and specialization method of producing different crops within their territorial bound. This has shown that before the advent of the “oil boom”, the major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria was the sale of agricultural products such as cocoa, groundnut, cotton, coffee, rubber, palm oil and soya beans. But it was reported that even though the Federal Government currently derives most of its foreign exchange from petroleum, the earnings from agricultural export could still be much higher if appropriate and sustained policies are applied to the sector.2
In Nigeria, the year 1960-68 marked the period of agricultural development, to accelerate food production, generate foreign exchange and increase country’s balance of trade in the international market, projects were empowered to distribute seed, establishing cooperative farmers association and plantation units, provides extension farm centre, introduce modern farming techniques, industries for processing agricultural produce such as cotton, groundnut, maize, and palm oil. The second period of agricultural was between the years 1970-1980, was a period of prosperity and oil boom, agricultural development constraints have taken myriad dimensions ranging from physical problems such as lack of incentive, poor return, low yield of output, lack of fertilizer. Other problems include erratic rainfall, long unset and short upset of rain drought. There were also economic problems such as lack of capital and good transport and communication network, very little or no incentive to farmers to produce more, poor market.