Agriculture is the engine that stimulates economic processes when it comes to nation development. Agriculture occurs once people begin planting and cultivating crops. It is said to be nature's food cycle and also the rechanneling of energy for human and animal consumption. In other words, agriculture involves redirecting the natural flow of the organic phenomenon.
Role of agriculture in economic development
According to Economists, Nigeria displays (honestly) the characteristics of a twin economy - a contemporary sector heavily addicted to oil earnings overlaid with a standard agricultural and commercialism economy. Throughout the colonial era, money crops were introduced. Harbors, railways and roads were developed, and a marketplace for goods began to emerge.
After the 1960 independence, agriculture accounted for over 1/2 our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and was the most supply of export earnings and public revenue, with the agricultural selling boards taking part in a number one role. However, these days this leading role within the economy has been confiscated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).
According to the financial organization of Nigeria’s data (2003), Oil still accounts for our significant revenue (gearing towards 80%) and virtually 100% of our export earnings. Though Agriculture (particularly biological science, placental mammal, and fishing) is shown to function as the primary activity of the bulk of Nigerians. It's clear that we have a tendency to use agriculture strictly as personal survival methods rather than as a calculated effort to warming the engine of our country's economy. This is really where our National economic downside lies.
The gospel of economic salvation can not be preached without reference to agricultural development. Agriculture is the major and most crucial path to financial progress and prosperity. It encompasses all side of human activities - be it the art, act and culture. Nursing Science of products production through the cultivation of land and management of plants and animals creates an active web-chain that satisfies social and economic wants.
Agriculture is the mainstay of mankind; thus, wise nations all over the world makes it a priority by developing and exploiting this sector for the maintenance of their abundant population through the earning of revenue for development purposes.
Furthermore, today we can state that there is corruption and different forms of indiscipline that work against all factors of life and most of all, economic production. Whereas several nations in the world are working hard and reaping their harvests in this direction, Nigeria happens to stay among the few that have been exceedingly simple-minded from their past wonderful heights in agriculture, all the way down to a close to zero scales of agricultural production. Surely, this neglect is as a result of harum-scarum and ill-purposeful leadership.
Contribution of agriculture to economic development
The importance of Agriculture cannot be over-emphasised in the continent and particularly in Nigeria especially with the financial condition Nigeria is currently facing. We were warned against this by the academic Pat Utomi in 2003. Now we cannot escape by simply relying on oil and gas.
We cannot pretend and neglect the importance of Agriculture in the economic progress of our nation. World Bank (2003) data shows that more than seventy percent of Nigerians live below poverty level (which is less than a dollar per day). This implies that there has been an astronomical decline in the levels of the financial condition of Nigerians from Independence to today. This is one thing we all ought to be ashamed of. Nevertheless, it's a scenario which can be remedied.
Nigeria has been endowed with a large array of agricultural potentials. From types of crops to varieties of animals and plants and natural agricultural-supportive factors like forests, waters, sands and most of all human resources that are being under-used (or not even used as at now). We've got it all. Nevertheless, we have a tendency to lose it all; which is why we are hungry in the face of plenty to eat.
How will our Nation grow well if we cannot cultivate and manufacture our own food? How do we intend to carter for the ever growing Nigeria population if we cannot feed people?
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For instance, it's well known that the amount of animal protein consumption per individual in Nigeria is incredibly low - the explanation being that not much attention has been placed in this area. With the increasing awareness of Nigerians on the requirement to take a minimum of one egg per day (with population projected to be gearing towards two hundred million) our animal protein intake per head is grossly low. But how many Nigerians can afford to place an egg (which is actually viewed as a luxury product) on their tables as opposed to choosing ‘garri’ (which truly will be more satisfying to the abdomen and is seen as a core necessity)?
This happens due to the fact that our Nation ignores such primary problems as agriculture that ought to be a really great tool required to overturn the sufferings of our masses by providing food, shelter, employment, decorum, revenue etc. It will also be responsible for the stimulation of the overall growth and development of the state to a sustainable level. The reality is that the agricultural sector of this nation continues to be given ill-attention. Something has to be done. It must be revived because Agriculture is actually the hen-that-lays-the-golden-egg for any economy.
How to improve it?
Agriculture, as the “engine house” of world economies, has to be overhauled and repaired so that the tears of the Nigerian nation might dry up. This could only be doable when the government starts investing substantial capital into the sector. Conjointly the Banks, Insurance firms, Co-operatives and Individual, teams and corporate investors should be inspired to invest in this sector.
In fact, the Nigerian Banks particularly can't be allowed to outline their over-popularized and over-advertised “universal banking system” without relating it to agriculture. Insurance corporations truly have to begin picking interest in the area of agriculture to present it some safety and confidence. The farmers have to start getting long-standing visions that can excel a sustainable private and public economy in growth terms. Our legislators ought to start thinking pro-actively on ways to enact economic laws that encourage and boost agricultural production, in addition to legislation that creates a facultative atmosphere for its sustainability and safe practice.
The politics of oil and profligacy and the unwarranted 'I-know-it-all' mentality in governance cannot lead us to economic glory for now. Not turning to Agriculture will imply our continuous dependency on crude oil and inessential reliance on importation of products that would have otherwise been factory-made at Kaduna, Aba, Nnewi, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Kano and Onitsha and most of our fast-growing new cities.
Nigeria is a nation believed to be one of those that have potentials to be great in the world due to its endowment with natural and human resources. But it cannot unleash its potentialities if the country doesn't gain self-sufficiency and self-reliance. Our nation can perpetually stay a borrower and a debtor nation under these conditions of booming globalization exercise. Until the Federal Republic of Nigeria summons courage to invest and exploit its wealthy agricultural sector, our country cannot achieve economic and political independence.
More importantly, our present economically hazardous atmosphere ought to be politically repositioned so as to harness the resources that can be offered by the Agricultural sector. Unless we invoke the spirit of agriculture in our national economy, our country will continuously stay the biblical ‘Jonah’, whose inability to self-actualize made him assume he could not hear the words of wisdom.
Our government remains suffering from this “Jonah Complex” that has made it not consider agriculture sector as a true answer to our economic death. The government should adopt Agriculture with additional confidence because good agricultural policies and implementation still is the only “big fish” that may transport our economy to the trail of recovery and boom.