With over 200 million people, Nigeria is Africa's most populous country. But as the population quickly outstrips resources, what is the importance of agriculture in Nigeria?
Agriculture is one of the key sectors of the Nigerian economy and has been for a long time. It plays a vital role in providing food security, nutrition, and livelihoods for a large proportion of the Nigerian population. It contributes significantly to economic growth in employment, foreign exchange earnings, and value-added production.
This article will discuss 10 importance of Agriculture in Nigeria and why it remains an essential part of its economy. We will explore how a thriving agricultural sector benefits rural communities, how technology can help drive more efficient practices, and how government interventions have worked - or not - to improve productivity within this key sector further.
What is the Importance of Agriculture to Nigeria?
1. Provision of Food for Humans and Animals
Agriculture is the main food source for humans and animals in Nigeria and worldwide. It provides various foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products, and fish. This helps to ensure that the population has access to a balanced diet and adequate nutrition. It also provides animal feed for livestock production, which is essential for the country's economic growth.
Without agriculture, the survival rate for humans and animals would be diminished. Before the advent of agriculture, humans were nomadic and relied on hunting and gathering for sustenance. But with the development of agriculture, humans could settle in one place, form communities, and build civilizations.
Nowadays, agriculture remains critical for feeding the world's growing population. It provides the necessities of life, including food, clothing, and shelter, and plays a vital role in global economies.
If agriculture were to fail, the consequences would be catastrophic, leading to widespread famine, disease, and societal collapse. That's why it's important to ensure that agriculture continues to be sustainable and efficient.
2. Provision of Cotton and Rubber for Clothing
Aside from food, agriculture also provides raw materials for various products, including clothing.
Cotton is a common crop grown for textiles, one of the most important raw materials for the clothing industry. It makes various products, including t-shirts, jeans, towels, and sheets. Also, it's famous for its softness, absorbency, and durability, making it an ideal material for clothing.
Rubber is another important agricultural product used in the clothing industry. It is produced from the sap of rubber trees and makes various products, including footwear, gloves, and elastic for clothing.
Also, rubber is famous for its stretchiness, durability, and water resistance. Thus, it's an ideal material for clothing and footwear.
These and other agricultural products play a vital role in the production of clothing and other goods, and they are essential for meeting the growing demand for these products.
3. Provision of Pharmaceutical Products and Medicine
Agriculture also provides raw materials for the production of pharmaceutical products and medicine. Through agricultural practices, farmers can cultivate a variety of medicinal plants. These plants contain active compounds extracted and used to create medicines.
Herbal crops are also harvested for their medicinal properties being processed into traditional medicines. Furthermore, many synthesized drugs are derived from plant-based sources.
In Nigeria specifically, agriculture is essential for providing access to quality healthcare. It helps to provide food security by producing nutritious foods that can help prevent malnutrition and other health issues. Agriculture also helps to conserve biodiversity by preserving native species of plants that may have medicinal properties.
4. It Creates Jobs
Another importance of agriculture is that it creates jobs. The Nigerian government keeps encouraging the youths to go into agriculture to reduce the country's high unemployment rate. Various job opportunities are available in this sector, such as farmers, harvesters, agricultural equipment technicians, scientists, and laborers.
Studies have revealed that investing in agriculture is more efficient than in other areas in alleviating poverty. This is because it creates jobs for people who may not have access to other forms of employment. Additionally, it provides food security for those living in rural areas who may not have access to other sources of nutrition.
Investing in agriculture also helps stimulate economic growth by creating new markets for goods and services related to farming.
5. Production of Raw Materials for Industrial Use
Providing raw materials for industries is important to a country's economic health. In Nigeria, agricultural raw materials are the major source of raw materials for businesses. These materials are essential for producing various products in processing industries. Without these raw materials, many industries would be unable to produce their goods.
The availability of raw materials can also impact the cost of production for businesses. An abundance of raw materials available in a particular area can reduce costs associated with sourcing them from other areas or countries. This can increase profits for businesses that rely heavily on these resources.
Also, having access to quality raw materials can improve product quality and increase customer satisfaction. Therefore, governments must ensure that adequate supplies of raw materials are available to support local industry growth.
6. It Heals the Environment and Sustains our Ecosystem
Agriculture is essential for maintaining a healthy environment. Increasing biodiversity helps to create healthier soil, reduce erosion, conserve water, and promote healthy pollinators. Through afforestation, agricultural activities can check against environmental hazards such as erosion and excessive wind control.
Farmlands help to protect against soil erosion, and trees planted as windbreaks reduce the effects of strong winds. Additionally, many species of animals have been saved from extinction due to wildlife conservation efforts largely supported by agriculture.
Agricultural practices also help to reduce air pollution by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. This is done through carbon sequestration, which involves storing carbon dioxide in plants and soil. Furthermore, agricultural activities can help to reduce water pollution by using natural fertilizers instead of chemical ones, which can contaminate water sources.
7. It Contributes to Nigeria's Wealth and Revenue
Agriculture is a major contributor to Nigeria's wealth and revenue. The sector is estimated to contribute to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Therefore, it plays a significant role in Nigeria's economic growth and development.
Agricultural activities also generate farmer income, which can be used to purchase other goods and services. This helps to stimulate economic growth and create jobs.
Furthermore, agricultural activities can generate revenue for the government through taxes on farm produce and other related services. This revenue can fund public infrastructure development, health care, and education.
8. It Improves Technological Innovation and Mechanization
Technology keeps evolving, and this is especially true in the agricultural sector. Agricultural technology has improved, leading to increased production and efficiency.
The use of modern types of machinery such as tractors, harvesters, and other equipment has made farming easier and more efficient. This has allowed farmers to produce more food with less effort, resulting in increased yields and profits.
Additionally, technological advancements have enabled farmers to use precision farming techniques, which involve sensors and other technologies to monitor soil conditions and crop growth. This helps farmers to optimize their production and reduce costs.
The use of modern machinery in agricultural lands also increases the provision of raw materials for industries. By increasing production efficiency through mechanization, farmers can provide more raw materials at lower costs which industries can use for further processing. This ultimately leads to increased economic growth due to increased industrial output and improved living standards for citizens.
Furthermore, mechanization reduces environmental damage caused by traditional farming methods such as over-cultivation or excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers. Therefore, improving mechanization in agriculture is essential for sustainable development and economic growth.
9. Used for Foreign Exchange
Agricultural exports are an important source of income for the country and help boost its economy. Agricultural products such as cocoa, palm oil, rubber, and cotton are some of the main exports from Nigeria.
These exports generate significant revenue for the country, which can be used to fund public infrastructure development and other initiatives. Additionally, agricultural exports help create jobs in the country, further boosting economic growth.
Agricultural exports also contribute significantly to the economies of industrialized nations. While these countries may not rely on agriculture as before, it still plays an important role in their overall economic health. And they would suffer severe economic consequences if all agricultural exports were suddenly halted.
Furthermore, agricultural exports provide employment opportunities for people in rural areas who may not have access to other forms of work. For this reason, agricultural exports must remain a viable part of the global economy.
10. Sustenance of Livestock
Agriculture plays a crucial role in sustaining livestock, an important source of human food and other products. Livestock farming is an integral part of agriculture, and it involves the breeding, raising, and managing of animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens. These animals provide a wide range of products, including meat, dairy, eggs, and wool.
Livestock is also important for maintaining soil health, as they help to fertilize and cultivate the land. In addition, livestock plays a crucial role in many cultures and communities, providing food, clothing, and cultural heritage.
Agriculture is essential for sustaining livestock, providing the feed and forage needed to survive and thrive. By sustainably managing livestock and the land on which they are raised, agriculture can help to provide a reliable source of food and other products for people around the world while also supporting local and global economies.
Agriculture is essential to Nigeria's economy and society. It provides food, employment, raw materials for industry, foreign exchange, and livestock sustenance. By investing in modern agricultural machinery and practices, the country can increase production efficiency while also reducing environmental damage.