This study was carried out on an assessment of the role of Nigeria’s agriculture in development. The study explored empirically the role of agriculture in development of Nigeria between 1981 and 2012. The study is borne out of the curiosity to examine the role agriculture plays in the development of a nation having being neglected in this part of the world over a considerable period of time by the government and policy makers while the whole attention is paid on the crude oil. The term-paper takes analytical and quantitative dimension. The quantitative technique is employed in a multivariate study with the adaptation of the Solow Growth model that include Capital proxy by Gross Capital Formation (GCF), labor proxy by post secondary school enrollment, Agricultural Output and Economic Growth and Development proxy by RGDP. Restricted Error Correction Model is used with the aid of Econometrics View Package (e-view). The study reveals that the Agriculture plays a significant role in economic development of the nation. In addition, the sector has been neglected to the extent that its contribution to the GDP has been dwindling since 90’s. Consequently, the barriers to the agricultural sector performances were identified and the necessary policy recommendations were proffered. 



1.1       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 ago-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).