Ilorin in Kwara state is in the savanna region of Nigeria. This region is characterized by favorable weather with annual rainfall of 400 – 1400mm.
As a result of this, the zone has a great potential for food production as farming is the predominant occupation of the people in the rural area.
Despite the potential that the region has for food production, the region has frequent seasons of drought or cessation of rain during the growing season.
This can serve as a sort of hindrance to producing food crops and industrial crops on a large scale. What farmers have done is to do small-scale irrigation, flood recession cultivation and seasonal exploitation of high water-tables.
This has increased the production of the food crops and industrial crops. Though majority of the farming communities that ate poor still depend on the natural rainfall to cultivate their crops.
The major food crops that is cultivated in this region include cereals like maize, rice, millet sorghum; legumes like groundnut, cowpea, soybeans; tuber crops like yam, cassava, potatoes; horticultural crops like citrus, mango, tomatoes, pepper and industrial crops like sugarcane, and pulp which is a recent addition to the crops cultivated.
Economic Value of the Crops Cultivated in Ilorin.
Cultivating of crops has a lot of benefits to the economy and these benefits include the following:
1. Reduction of Over Reliance on Only One Sector
Cultivating of crops encourages a shift from the monoculture economy that is being practiced whereby there is an over reliance on crude oil.
This is necessary because when the price of crude oil starts going down, it will have an adverse effect on the economy.
2. Abundance of food for indigenes
With cultivation, there is the assurance of abundance of food being available for the ever increasing population of people. When food is in abundance, there is also assurance of getting it cheap.
3. Availability of Raw Materials for Manufacturing Companies
The raw material got from cultivation can also aid the development of the manufacturing industries. This will help curb the problem of over reliance on importation.
4. Creation of Employment Opportunities
Farming creates a lot of job opportunities for the youths in the community as there are several roles and positions to be filled in all the different aspects of food cultivation.
From the unskilled laborers needed to do the tilling of the land, planting, harvesting to the skilled labor that will be needed in all other aspects of farming especially in the aspects of processing raw materials.
It is a source of employment opportunities all round for the people in the community. Farming therefore provides an avenue for reducing the unemployment level of the economy since the sector is labor intensive.
5. Reduction in Rural-Urban Migration
Cultivation of crops which serves as a source of gainful employment in the community can help to reduce the rate at which people rush off to the big cities in search of greener pastures.
The reason why people migrate to urban areas in the first place is to get better jobs and condition of living, so if they can get it in their communities, there will be no need to leave.
The effect of this is that the urban areas will be decongested and there won’t be overdependence on the social amenities available in the urban areas since it is not overpopulated.
The people working in the community can therefore help in contributing to their community development if they don’t rush off to the big cities.
6. Crop Cultivation Provides a Source of Revenue for the Government
Investors are attracted to the communities and they set up their companies. The result of this is that this creates a source of revenue for government.
This can be got through tax and other payments that these companies have to make to the government. This in turn gives a boost to the economy of these communities.
7. There is Higher Purchasing Power
Cultivation of crops has led to a rise in the purchasing power of the people in the communities because of the surplus availability of crops.
8. There is Expansion of Market Size
The market size is increased because of the demand for products in the agricultural sector such as fertilizers, farm tools and seeds.
9.Industrialization of the Community
When companies are set up in the community as a result of investors coming in, it comes with industrialization. To make things easier and to facilitate the ease with which business is done, there is improvement on the existing social infrastructure available in the community.
To ease the transportation of goods and raw materials within the community and transporting it to other locations, there has been construction of new roads and the existing ones have been improved on. Therefore, there is availability of better road network within the community.
The power supply in the community has improved as a result of the industries needing power supply to carry out their daily activity. Other social amenities have also been made available such as pipe borne water and so on.
This has led to the influx of other companies and financial institutions into the community. Commercial banks, micro finance banks, and agricultural development banks have come to set up their business.
With their presence in the community, they are able to provide loans and credit facilities to the farmers and other people in business and this has helped to improve the economy of the community where they do business.
In the process of all these happenings, the quality of life of the inhabitants of the community is improved.
The cultivation of crops in large quantities provides surplus food has led to an increase in the income of rural dwellers and this helps to improve their welfare.
As a result of this, the people in the community are able to build better houses and they are also able to equip the houses with modern amenities such as electricity, television and radios to mention a few.
With all these industrialization comes better schools for their children, health centers and communication facilities in their communities.
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