The importance of Agriculture in Nigeria can never be overemphasized. Although oil & Gas was the mainstay in the past, the presence and the future of Nigeria’s economy is Agriculture due to its overwhelming importance in human survival and Community and economic development.
Agriculture is generally defined as the art or science of cultivating the soil for the production of crops and animal husbandry for human consumption.
Agriculture to man is as important as life and as ancient as civilization. Right from the stone ages through the agrarian age to the modern era, the importance of agriculture to man has cut across virtually every aspect of his existence.
From the production of food to the provision of raw material to industries and the development of communities, agriculture always takes the lead for the highest contribution to human existence.
10 Importance of Agriculture in Nigeria
Below are the importance of agriculture in Nigeria:
1. Production and Provision of Food for Human Consumption
Among the basic needs of man, food ranks first. That’s why agriculture is often said to be the first occupation of man right from the Garden of Eden.
In Nigeria today, there is a rising demand for food due to a continuous increase in the population of the country. Agriculture ranks first on this list because of the food crisis that looms not only in Nigeria but around the world.
As life continues to bite harder, more and more attention is being shifted to food first before any other thing. Thus, there is always going to be a continuously expanded market for agricultural produce.
Virtually every branch of agriculture including horticulture, Poultry, animal husbandry, fishery, and forestry, there is a high demand for food commodities, dairy products, and raw materials produced in the sector.
2. Provision of Raw Material
The world will always be in need of raw materials produced in Nigeria to support their manufacturing industry. Countries in Europe, Asia, and North America are keenly in demand for raw materials such as timber, crops, animals skins, rubber, etc for the successful running of their manufacturing sector.
Although they could get their raw materials around the world, especially Africa, Nigeria happens to be the leading supplier of some of the most vital raw materials around the world.
3. Employment of Labour
Given the rate of unemployment in the country and the high demand for food commodities, agriculture is practically the #1 sector with the highest level of employment in Nigeria.
As evidence, I have friends in Lagos whose cassava he planted with the luxury of time provided by the Covid-19 lockdown had started yielding rewarding tubers. His interest in farming is now so obvious as he is making plans to give more time, effort, and investment to agriculture in the coming year. As I’m talking to you he is earnestly looking for additional land for that purpose.
Pascal King is another of my Paddy who is into film making, entertainment and event planning, but whose next project is an investment in agriculture. The world we currently live in is pointing to agriculture and technology. Are you still in doubt? Listen to the news, you’ll be convinced.
4. Protection of the Environment
Agricultural activities, especially in the area of tree planting and cultivation of crops helps protect the environment. The activities of land cultivators or Farmers contribute to the prevention of erosion in the environment.
In the area of forestry, the environment benefits from the protection of trees against strong winds and storms. There is increasing fear of the effect of global warming, tree planting which is the main stay of forestry is of immense help to the country’s environment even while contributing income to the economy.
5. Preservation of Species
Without the Farmers who continue to preserve species of crops and domestic animals, birds and fishes through cultivation, husbandry, poultry, fishery and forestry; many species would have gone to extinction.
Through agriculture that has been in practice over the ages, species in various sectors of agriculture are preserved from generation to generation. Some have even gone through improvement processes like crossbreeding which aid in producing better grades of crops, animals, fowls, fishes and trees.
6. Foreign Exchange
as a modern nation, Nigeria cannot do without participating in Foreign Trade and there will be no balance of payment according to Economists if Nigeria only buys from her global counterparts.
The importance of agriculture, therefore, as regards Foreign Trade is that it helps the country to exchange her agricultural produce such as cocoa, palm oil, palm kernel, animal skins etc. with foreign goods brought into the country.
7. Boost Export
Exportable goods in Nigeria such as timber, rubber, cocoa, ethanol and many more are all products of the agricultural sector of the economy. Most of the raw materials needed for successful operation of manufacturing sectors in these countries are agricultural produce from Nigeria. The export sector of Nigeria would be incomplete without agriculture which apart from crude oil represents the country’s major source of export goods.
8. Means of Subsistence
although modern technology has brought revolutionary development to global agriculture where most Farmers in the international system are involved in mechanized farming using high-tech machinery and equipment; majority of Nigerian Farmers still operate at subsistence level.
Most Farmers in Nigeria are actually not much concerned about the commercial aspect of agriculture, all they care for is to produce what can sustain them and their families. What they care to sell sometimes is simply as much as trade by barter where they sell just a fraction of their farm produce to get other commodities for their consumption.
Despite the fact that a large number of the Nigerian population are in white and blue colour jobs while some are into one business or the other, a greater percentage are actively engaged in agriculture to earn their living. Experience even shows that even those who are into white colour jobs e.g. Civil Servants are partially involved in one form of agriculture or another. For instance, about 70 percent of Poultry farms in some states of the federation are owned by Civil Servants who use it as additional supply for their family needs.
9. Source of Interdependency Among Tribes
Agriculture in Nigeria plays a very significant role in unifying the many tribes of Nigeria through Interdependency in agro-products. For instance, the southern part of the country produces palm oil and fruits such as orange, etc while the North specializes in the production of beans and vegetables such as carrot, onions, beef and dairy products. This creates a kind of mutual relationship among the regions that transcend tribalism and the deep sited ethnicity in the country.
10. National Income
Agriculture generates revenue to the national purse through taxes collected mostly by local governments in form of ticketing and gains made from international trade.
Above are the importance of agriculture in Nigeria. In the post, we’ve navigated through 10 of the most vital importance of agriculture in Nigeria which caught across horticulture, Poultry, animal husbandry, fishery and forestry.
Thus, the article can be classified as being informative, educational and inspirational as it incorporates vital information required to spur one into action which in this case is being inspired to venture into the agriculture business in Nigeria. And you will never regret it afterward. Good luck.
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