The importance of the agricultural sector of a country cannot be overemphasized as it plays an essential role in the country’s economic development.
In developed countries like the European countries, agriculture has made a significant contribution to their economy as it has been the backbone of their economy right from day one.
And in underdeveloped and developing countries, agriculture is also one of the bases of their economic development as it is the occupation of most rural people in the country.
Nigeria is a developing country, and the importance of agriculture in the country cannot be undermined because agriculture supplies the basic necessities of human life (food), it also provides inputs and raw materials for industrial use, and it also gives Nigeria the opportunity to export some of its agricultural products to other countries of the world.
There are several ways’ agriculture has made a contribution to the economic development of every Nigeria. Some of them are:
10 Roles of Agriculture in Nigeria Economic Development
1. Source of Food Supply
This is the major contribution of agriculture in the country. Agriculture is the major source of the food supply in every country in the world, as it provides food for all other sectors in the country, and Nigeria is also not left out.
Without agriculture in Nigeria, survival will be difficult because basic food items will be imported into the country which will make food items expensive and eventually make life difficult for ordinary citizens.
Nigeria is a country with a high population, so the demand for food is high, and in order to meet the high demand for food in the country, the agricultural sector must be available.
And if the agricultural sector fails to meet the high demand of food in the country, there would be a decline in the growth of the country’s economy.
2. Creation of Employment Opportunities
Agriculture makes it is possible to create employment opportunities for the masses in Nigeria as agriculture is the primary occupation of most rural people in the country.
It helps to create jobs to numerous uneducated and unskilled labor particularly in the northern part of the country, in order to grow the workforce, and also contribute to the development of the country.
3. Supplying Other Industries with Raw Materials
Agriculture has always been a source of input for major industries like the agro related industries in Nigeria because it supplies raw materials to these industries.
Any shortage of agricultural products will have an impact on industrial production, as there will be a hike in prices of goods generally and this will consequently hold back the country’s economic growth.
The production, productivity, and growth of the agro based industries like textile mills, tobacco factories, flour mills, rice sheller, sugar factories, bread, meat, and other numerous industries are highly dependent on the production and productivity of the agricultural sector.
4. Source of Foreign Exchange
Nigeria is a major exporter of agricultural products to other parts of the world. And Nigeria depends solely on its oil and agricultural sector as a source of its foreign exchange.
The country has so many agricultural products like, cocoa beans, sesame seeds, ginger, palm kernel, soya beans, among other commodities that are exported to other countries of the world which in turn contribute to the Gross Domestic Product of the country in general.
Most of the machinery used for the industrial development in the country is usually imported from the developed countries, and if Nigeria fails to match its export earning of the agricultural sector with its import, there will be a heavy deficit in the balance of payment which will eventually lead to a serious foreign exchange problem.
5. Contribution to The National Income of a Country
The agricultural sector in Nigeria is one of the vital sectors that contribute immensely to the national income of the country as it is one of the agricultural exporting countries most.
In Nigeria, the agricultural sector has grown in the past years and it has contributed immensely to the economic growth of the country.
By the end of 2019, agriculture accounted for 21.91% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product across other economic sectors.
6. Diversification of The Economy
Agriculture has helped to diversify the Nigerian economy. In the past, the Nigerian government use to depend majorly on the income from the oil sector neglecting the agricultural sector. But when oil prices started declining, the government started paying attention to the agricultural sector which has also helped to diversify the economy.
7. Boost Food Security
If Nigeria develops its agricultural sector, there would be food security in the country. This is because if the sector is developed, there would be sufficiency of farm product, the farm produce will be of good quality, it will be safe and even cheaper.
And the below-average income earners would be able to afford the three square meals in a day.
Read more on: How to Achieve Food Security in Nigeria
8. Leads To Industrialization
Agriculture is a good method of industrialization in every country of the world as the proper harnessing of agricultural products and by-products will lead to rapid industrialization.
Most industries in the country depend directly or indirectly on farm produce. For example, the textile industries in Nigeria depends solely on the cotton cultivated from the farm in the country.
Also, the leather industry in the country depends on the hide from the livestock in the northern part of the country.
9. Eradicate Poverty
In Nigeria, the agricultural sector will go a long way in eradicating poverty as well as improving the lives of the rural people in the country.
Though most of the rural people in Nigeria are farmers, if the government pay attention to these people, and also assist in improving the quality of their lives in addition to practicing sustainable agriculture, there would be a great reduction in the level of poverty in these countries.
Agriculture plays an important role in Nigeria, as it is an engine of economic growth in the country. A sustainable agricultural sector in Nigeria literally translates to a sustainable economy.
And as it is seen above, survival will be impossible without agriculture because agriculture does not only feed the mouth, it is also a source of income for both individuals and the government, and it also plays a vital role in the economic development of Nigeria.
If the government is intentional about the agricultural sector of the country, then the government is giving the country another opportunity to be rich again.
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