What are the Importance of Agriculture in Nigeria? Explained

Importance of Agriculture in Nigeria

In a country like Nigeria where the majority of the citizens are low income earners, Agriculture is indeed a succour to many. When you take a look at the Nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), you will discover that this sector has a reasonable share in it. Though it has its own challenges, the sector is trying so hard to meet up most of the Agricultural needs of the citizens of the country.

It is good to revisit the meaning of Agriculture for the proper understanding of the topic. Agriculture encompasses crop and livestock production, aquaculture, fisheries and forestry for food and non-food products. For a less-developed country like Nigeria, the sector is expected to play an important role in the economic development of the country and also in the improvement of the standard of living of its citizens.

What are the five Importance of Agriculture in Nigeria? Although the importance of Agriculture is enormous, I am focussing on the five major importance of it which I think is worth knowing. These are; Eradication of hunger and promotion of food security, Provision of Agricultural raw materials for industrial use, Provision of Employment, Contribution to Foreign Exchange, Restoration of the ecosystem. Having listed these, here are its full explanations;

5 Importance of Agriculture in Nigeria

1. Eradication of Hunger and Promotion of food security

One of the commendable importance of Agriculture is the provision of adequate and affordable food for man and animals. Looking at the growing population of Nigeria and the poverty level in the country, food importation will never be a solution because it is not everyone that can afford it. Agriculture has made it possible for the common man in this country to acquire at least a 2-square meal. Those that cannot be able to buy the imported food that is blended with various ingredients thereby presenting them as balanced diet can now comfortably get them from their farms and local markets. In this regard, a healthy food promotes good health. It is notwithstanding to note that most Nigerians can boost of fresh food instead of over-processed food with artificial flavors. Their farms are ready to give them that freshness and quality food materials that they desire.

It is not only man that benefits from Agriculture being a cheap source of food in Nigeria, animals are also inclusive. Most free ranged animals in this country get adequate feed from Agricultural products in the environment. They feed on grasses and other food materials. Those that are rearing their animals in secluded places also gets some Agricultural food products as feed for their animals. For instance, they can take them for open grazing on farmlands, cut those grasses in bundles and give to them. Some food roughages from corn, millet and cassava can be further processed as feed for poultry and other animals.

2. Supply of Adequate Agricultural Raw Materials for Industrial Use

Some Agricultural products are of great benefit for industries. Most Agro-allied industries in Nigeria do not run short of raw materials. Also, the manufacturing of products based on Agricultural raw materials is of great benefit to the citizens of Nigeria. One of the advantages of using Agricultural raw materials in production is that it is renewable. Those raw materials are not only available but also cheap.

Let us take a look at the construction sector. Agricultural raw materials are used in the construction of railway, road and bridges. Planks and wood are used in the making of chairs, tables and Cupboards in the furniture industries. In the building sector, woods and planks can be used in roofing, windows, floors, decking and internal walls. Agricultural products such as cotton and jute are used in the textile industries for the production of clothing Materials and bags. The food processing industries makes use of Agricultural food products and this processing ensures that food are in constant supply all year round and in good condition. For instance, the use of tomatoes in the production of canned tomato paste. Animal feed production industries makes use of Agricultural food products and roughages. Hides and Skins are used in the production of quality leather bags and shoes by leather industries.

3. Contribution to Employment

Nigeria as a developing country is faced with the challenge of unemployment. A good number of its citizen are unemployed. The industrial sector and other white collar jobs are not available for many. In some parts of Nigeria, where a good number of rural dwellers are uneducated, Agriculture has not only serve as a source of their livelihood but means of employment.

One of the things that makes many citizens of this country to resort to Agriculture is that you can start small and make it big later. Some people who are practicing Agriculture today inherited it from their parents and therefore do not need start-up capital. It is also a good source of employment for both the educated and non-educated. The various Agro-allied industries in the country employs a good number of people as their workers. Agriculture has therefore, reduced the number of people who would have been roaming in the streets and roads unemployed both in the Urban and rural areas.

4. Contribution to Foreign Exchange Earnings

It is if no doubt that Agriculture has contributed in the growth of foreign exchange earnings in Nigeria. In addition to crude oil which is the main export product of Nigeria, the Agricultural sector is contributing immensely to the Foreign Exchange market. Nigeria exports Agricultural products to other countries who are in need of such products. Some of the Agricultural products that Nigeria exports to other countries are; Hides and Skins, Cotton, Coffee, Cocoa, Palm oil and others.

5. Restoration of the Ecosystem

Some human activities poses a great threat to the ecosystem. Practices such as deforestation, bush burning has left the environment prone to erosion and wind destructions. When the natural ecosystem is excessively tampered with, its consequences are enormous. Agriculture is a succour in this situation by promoting afforestation to control excessive wind. Trees that serves as wind breakers are planted at strategic locations. Agricultural practices like planting of cover crops helps in checking erosion. The maintenance of forest reserves and wildlife conservation have a played a great role in the harbouring and preservation of wildlife and trees that would have gone extinct. Some of these wildlife and trees are very beneficial to the ecosystem.

The importance of Agriculture in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized, hence, the need for its promotion.

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