The study is to research on the problems and prospect of agriculture and economic development in Edo State. The study is to look at the attitude of Edo State people towards the improvement of agriculture, which tend to be a weak attitude and problems to the state at large. These problems are summarized as low level of literacy, poor agricultural implements, inadequate number of skilled /trained and qualified labourers or workers, little or on finding etc. However, the research deems it fit to profound solution to the low level of agriculture in Edo State. These solutions are as follows; lists of skilled workers should have compiled and updated always receipt or certificates should be advocated, personal income and support should be appropriate appreciated and use well. However, the above solutions to the problems of agriculture in Edo State, will tend to change to a positive one, whereby the people of Edo State will now tend to improve agriculture effectively if only the government of Edo State will employ these prospects of agriculture.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Agricultural sector is the earliest sector of the economy in the history of mankind. The history of agriculture started when man wandered from places to place gathering fruits and animals to satisfy his immediate need. As at that time, man had three basic necessities in life, these are air water and food air and water are provided naturally while food has to be provided by man himself with much and little hindrance from nature. Agriculture as the backbone of West Africa economy is further revealed by the fact that it contributes an average of about 75 percent of various counties exports. Agriculture supplies about 80 percent of Nigeria’s exports.
The importance of agriculture in the economy of west Africa is borne out by many factors, for instance, it employs between 60-90 percent of west Africa occupied population in Liberia, 80 percent of the working population is engaged in agriculture forestry, fishing and breeding more than 60 percent of the employed labour force is engaged in agriculture in Ghana in the Ivory coast, 85 percent of the population are farmers, and the percentage rises to go if we include the immigrant population of that country in Senegal 80 percent of the active population is engaged in agriculture. All these point to the facts that agriculture is the main source of livelihood of West Africa Agriculture as an economic development has provided a dominant position within the economy of each country gives at a crucial role in the economy development of West Africa. It provides raw materials for the textile, tyre, soap, cocoa, fruit canning and cigarette factories.
In 1968, agricultural exports formed 72 percent of the total exports of Ghana. The 408.000 tons of agricultural products, valued at about 24,000 million CFA Francis, which the Cameroon republic exported in 1964. Constituted about 80 percent of their total exports. At about 20 percent of the total agricultural output of West Africa is exported while the remaining is consumed directly or used by the local industries. The rates of economic development and growth of Nigeria and West Africa countries of the under developed and developed ones has increase efficiently under production of the existing exports crops as permitted by the world markets, and the developing of new ones in orders to increase foreign exchange earning which turn permits the import of the goods and services needed for development. This goes to say that one of the most significant impetus for economic development lies in the size and stability of a flow of maximum proportion of investment in agricultural output which will have to be rapidly expanded. Also, with an increase in the incomes obtained from the sale of food stuffs and agricultural raw materials by the farmers more funds will be available for further investment in agriculture and the new industries.
According to Areoye (2014), some states have low agricultural potentials, it has also been observed that West Africa small scale farmers applies a lot of general labour, the supply of which is plenty, and a little capital to a wider extent of land than his counterpart in the economically advanced area of the world. Simple implement likes hoes and cutlasses are used on the frames while fertilizers and manures are not widely used. Almost all the traditional farmers are uneducated thus activities not properly organized and production cost are not carefully related to their yearly output. However, bulk of agricultural production in West Africa come from millions of small scale farmers in Nigeria, peasant farmers cultivate an average of two to three areas and in some part of the Northern states, each extended family has been found to hold about 17 areas, about one quarter of which is usually under permanent cultivation. It is significant that apart from food products the bulk of exports like rubbers, cocoa, cotton and palm kernels are produced on the small holding of millions of West Africa peasant farmers. And in spite of the significance of large scale plantations farming in Liberia and Ivory coast yet now here does the proportion of plantations exceed 10 percent of the total cultivated land. Lastly, the small scale farmers use traditional methods of farming one of these is shifting cultivation and bush fallowing by which they allow land to go back to bush after a few crops. Thus, new land is cleared for cultivation which may be for two or five years, depending on the pressures of populations of land after which it is abandoned for a number of years, the percentage of the total land area that is under fallow at any period of time has been estimated to be at least 40 in Nigeria which however engages it to problems in food production in Nigeria.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
In the African circle, agriculture holds a great potential to serve as an engine of faster growth and poverty reduction in the region. This is because Africa is blessed with cultivable land, huge population and favorable climate which when fully utilized can plunge most of the countries on the pedestal of economic growth and development. A fact sheet published by the International Food Policy Research Institute in 2009 revealed that , ‘in most African countries, agriculture is the engine of economic growth, and agricultural growth is the corner stone of poverty reduction. Approximately sixty-five percent of Africans rely on agriculture as their primary source of livelihood. Small scale farmers are responsible for more than ninety percent of Africa’s agricultural production’. In the contemporary, agriculture accounts for 30 to 40 percent of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and almost 60 percent of its total export earnings. Agricultural sector has no doubt contributed to the economic growth and development witnessed in Africa today. This was put in retrospect by Fan (2009), stating that agricultural growth rates have increased modestly from about 2.4 percent a year in 1980-1989 to 2.7 percent in1990-1999 and 3.3 percent a year since 2000. This is impressively outstanding and factual to note that the level of growth in agricultural productivity increased in response to the level of government expenditure in the sector.
PURPOSE OF STUDY
1. To analyze the economic role of agriculture in the NigeriaN economy towards economics development
2. To identify problems facing the agricultural sector in Edo State.
3. To offer possible solutions to the problems facing agricultural sector in Edo State.
This study is designed to answer the following questions.
1. What is the role of agriculture towards economic development?
2. What are the problems facing the agricultural sector in Edo State?
3. Are there possible solutions to the problems facing agricultural sector in Edo State?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is on the agriculture and economic development problem and prospect. The study will be conducted in Edo state.
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The demanding schedule of respondents made it very difficult getting the respondents to participate in the survey. As a result, retrieving copies of questionnaire in timely fashion was very challenging. Also, the researcher is a student and therefore has limited time as well as resources in covering extensive literature available in conducting this research. Information provided by the researcher may not hold true for all research under this study but is restricted to the selected respondents used as a study in this research especially in the locality where this study is being conducted. Finally, the researcher is restricted only to the evidence provided by the participants in the research and therefore cannot determine the reliability and accuracy of the information provided. Other limitations include;
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.