The role of the agricultural sector as an accelerator to Nigeria economy (57 pages) CHAPTER 1-5′
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
By the time Nigeria became politically independent in October 1960,agriculture was the dominant sector of the economy, contributing about 70% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) employing about the same percentage of working population and accounting for about 90% of foreign exchange earnings and the federal government revenue (CBN, 2005). The early period of post-independence up until the mid-1970’s saw a rapid growth of industrial capacity and output as the contribution of the manufacturing sector to GDP rose from 4.8% to 8.2%. This pattern changed when oil suddenly became of strategic importance to the world economy though its supply price nexus.
Crude oil was first discovered in commercial quantity in Nigeria in 1956, while actual production started in 1958. It became the dominant resources in the mid 1970’s. The massive increase in oil revenue as an aftermath of the Middle East war of 1973 created and unprecedented, unexpected and unplanned wealth of Nigeria. The relative attractiveness of the urban centres made many able bodied Nigerians to migrate from hinder land, abandoned their farm lands for the cities and hoping to partake in the growing and prosperous (oil driven)
urban economy. This created social problems of congestion, provision, unemployment and crimes.
Notwithstanding, the enviable position of the oil sector in the Nigerian economy over the past three decades, the agricultural sector has remained the largest and arguably the most important sector of the economy. Agriculture contributes to the gross force in Nigeria (Aigbokhan, 2001). It is estimated to be the largest contributor to the non-oil foreign exchange. A strong agricultural sector is essential to economy development both in its own rights and to stimulate and support the growth of industries. Economy growth has gone hand in hand with agricultural progress stagflation in agriculture is the principal explanation for poor economy performance, while rising agricultural activities has seen the most concomitant of successful industrialization (Ukeje 1999). The labour-intensive character of the sector reduces its contribution to the GDP. Nevertheless, agricultural exports are a major earner of foreign exchange in Nigeria, in the non-oil sector.
Like in most developing countries, agriculture remains the backbone of the Nigeria economy. Typically, it is the largest source of employment often two-third or more of the population is dependent…..