We all know how important agriculture is for many local farmers and families who depend on their own fruit, vegetables, and other types of crops. But what is the contribution of the agricultural sector to the Nigerian economy? What is the situation like when talking about the country as a whole?
During the last 35 years, the Nigeria economy managed to triple its growth. Such economic growth was possible, thanks to the financial, oil and gas, trading, manufacturing and of course agricultural sectors. Agriculture in Nigeria has the highest growth percentage of 27% while other sectors have only grown by 1.4% - 18%.
Even when the country experienced a recession, the small agricultural businesses managed to keep their momentum going no matter what happened to other sectors of the economy. So how important is agriculture to our economy?
Importance of agriculture in Nigeria
Many Nigerian households grow different types crops and depend on livestock farming. What is agriculture in Nigeria today, and what role does it play in economic growth? Let’s take a look at the agricultural sector and analyze some of its many benefits
- major source of employment.
- main source of food provision.
- valuable contributor to Nigerian GDP (gross domestic product).
- major source of foreign exchange.
- major source of raw material for different industries.
The contribution of the agricultural sector to the Nigerian economy in 2010-2017 averaged 3.7 billion Naira. Experts indicate that this is about 40 percent of the GDP and this figure doesn’t change much year after year. Of course, sometimes the numbers are lower and sometimes, they are much higher but the average records show stable constant growth.
Agriculture business in Nigeria
Nigeria has many amazing natural resources. Still, the high GDP (compared to many other African countries) doesn’t guarantee low poverty rate. A large number of Nigerians still live below the poverty line. While many citizens are employed in the agricultural sector, large number of Nigerians are still unemployed. Only about the third of all the arable lands are actually cultivated.
The development of the agricultural business is extremely important to the country. It can solve many current problems and improve the standard of living of millions of ordinary Nigerians. Here is how the new projects, farms, and businesses in the agricultural sector can be useful to the economy:
- Help to turn the focus of the economy from importation to exportion of the raw materials and food.
- Help create new jobs and reduce the level of poverty.
- Simplify life in urban and rural areas causing less migration between these areas.
- Help develop better infrastructure for moving products across Nigeria.
- Attract foreign investments into Nigeria.
This list can be longer if we go on. The importance of developing agricultural businesses and providing all the necessary conditions for local farmers and foreign investors in endless. It’s up to the government to help develop this important sector of the economy and educate potential farmers as well as already established farmers on new and easier farming methods and the types of crops that bring higher revenue.
The sector needs intervention from the government. It needs innovation, capital, high skilled labor, effective transportation/distribution network and more. Only these changes can boost the agricultural sector's production capacity for local consumption and export.
You can see how important agriculture is for the Nigerian economy and how important it is for government to invest more into the development of this sector. No country can survive without agriculture, either as an income generating sector of the economy or simply as a domestic food production sector.
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