AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT AS BEDROCK OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF IKOM L.G.A, CROSS RIVER STATE)

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Abstract

This study focuses on the relationship between agriculture and economic development and how agriculture has contributed to economic development of Ikom Local Government area .In order to achieve this, we adopted survey research method where we obtained data from primary sources using the instruments of questionnaire backed by interviews while secondary data were also collected from the records of the local government finance department and department of agriculture and natural resources. Data collected were presented and analyzed using tables and simple percentage while the hypotheses of the study were tested using the chi-square statistic .We found that agriculture has contributed immensely to economic development as it has been the main source of employment to many and that increasing agricultural productivity among farmers has enhanced opportunities for more income generation. The income being used by farmers has promoted health and educational status of many households as well as being a source of food and nutritional upliftment of households in the local government. We also found that lack of adequate farm inputs, microcredit scheme, use of inappropriate technology, environmental hazard including overdependence on imported agricultural food items were the major factors and problems militating against the development of agricultural productivity for economic development. We therefore recommended that mechanization of agriculture that will help improve the sector in rural areas and involve the use of modern machines and technologies such ploughs, tractors, harvesters, among others will make the sector productive and economic development-driven but government must intervene as rural farmers cannot afford these machines. We also recommended that adequate supply of farm inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides and insecticides, improved seedlings, chemicals, storage facilities among others to help in controlling pests and other diseases that can destroy agricultural produce can be useful in improving yearly productivity of farmers, increasing their incomes as well as impacting positively on their standard of living. There should be a microcredit scheme for farmers which should be at low interest rate and that local, states and federal governments.recordsThis study focuses on the relationship between agriculture and economic development and how agriculture has contributed to economic development of Ikom Local Government area .In order to achieve this, we adopted survey research method where we obtained data from primary sources using the instruments of questionnaire backed by interviews while secondary data were also collected from the records of the local government finance department and department of agriculture and natural resources. Data collected were presented and analyzed using tables and simple percentage while the hypotheses of the study were tested using the chi-square statistic .We found that agriculture has contributed immensely to economic development as it has been the main source of employment to many and that increasing agricultural productivity among farmers has enhanced opportunities for more income generation. The income being used by farmers has promoted health and educational status of many households as well as being a source of food and nutritional upliftment of households in the local government. We also found that lack of adequate farm inputs, microcredit scheme, use of inappropriate technology, environmental hazard including overdependence on imported agricultural food items were the major factors and problems militating against the development of agricultural productivity for economic development. We therefore recommended that mechanization of agriculture that will help improve the sector in rural areas and involve the use of modern machines and technologies such ploughs, tractors, harvesters, among others will make the sector productive and economic development-driven but government must intervene as rural farmers cannot afford these machines. We also recommended that adequate supply of farm inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides and insecticides, improved seedlings, chemicals, storage facilities among others to help in controlling pests and other diseases that can destroy agricultural produce can be useful in improving yearly productivity of farmers, increasing their incomes as well as impacting positively on their standard of living. There should be a microcredit scheme for farmers which should be at low interest rate and that local, states and federal governments.

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY​      

Nigeria as a sovereign state is naturally endowed with abundant resources, including both human and material resources. The nation’s resources should be fully developed in such a manner that is possible with the mineral deposits of the nation as a whole, which can only be harnessed by rational and efficient utilization of the natural resources. Thus, the importance of resources in any given economy depends on the roles such resources play in economic growth and development of the nation. In developing economies like Nigeria, agriculture constitutes backbone and critical sector of the economy, as the contributions of the sector to the growth and sustainable development of the country cannot be overemphasized. It contributes immensely to economic growth and development of the economy in various ways, such as creation of employment opportunities for the country’s workforce, provides food requirement of the economy and industrial raw materials to industries, generates foreign exchange earnings and revenue to the government, and as well eradicates extreme poverty in the country. More so, (Abayomi, 2009) while explaining the nexus between agriculture and economic growth revealed that poor performance of economic growth in an economy especially, in the developing economies is due to slump in agricultural sector performance. Agricultural sector in Nigeria has overtime become an important sector of the economy.