The importance of Agriculture in Nigeria can not be over-emphasized as it plays a vital role in the growth and development of the nation. Most mineral resources in Nigeria, arise from the utilization of the expanse in Agriculture for productivity and innovation.
Oil and Gas used to be the mainstream of income generation in Nigeria, but as the importance of Agriculture was availed to everyone, it seems to be overtaking the mineral resources industry to the financial prognosis in the nation.
Agriculture deals with the science and art of crop cultivation, and processing, as well as animal husbandry and livestock farming. No nation can be viable without a single form of agriculture. Even if they intend to continually import the products they need, there would be a time when they can no longer do this, and have no other option than to produce their goods.
The importance of Agriculture spans the production of food and raw materials, for consumption, production, and increased development.
In this post, the full importance of Agriculture in Nigeria has been highlighted under ten headings.
10 Importance of Agriculture in Nigeria
1. Food Production for Human Consumption:
This is the primary aim of agriculture as food is one of the basic needs of man. With the current inflation of product prices in Nigeria, there is a rising demand for additional food production in the country. This food crisis not only exists in Nigeria but Worldwide can be attributed to the increasing population in the country.
Every branch of Agriculture including Poultry, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Animal Husbandry, among others are different food production sectors, where food crops, dairy, meat, and raw materials can be obtained.
2. Source of Raw Materials:
Agricultural products serve as a foundation for constituting most industries. Raw materials are elementary to the establishment of most industrial products. These materials include wool, silk, cotton for cloth production; wood for timber and paper; rubber and latex for the plasticine industries; cosmetics, pharmaceutical industries, and so on.
3. Provision of Labour and Job Creation:
Activities like Cultivation, Production, harvesting, Processing and Packaging, Transport and Distribution, Regards and Marketing services require the recruitment of labor for their efficiency.
While the country suffers from a severe lack of employment opportunities, the employment of human labor would go a long way in offsetting this issue in the country. The modernization of agriculture makes the sector no longer be labor-intensive and ensures a smooth flow of activities in the industry.
4. Production of Export Crops:
Agriculture is currently thriving in Nigeria as the major strain of foreign exchange earnings. Cash crops like Palm Oil, Rubber, Latex, Cocoa Beans, Cocoa Powder, Ginger, Beans, Sesame Seeds, with cashew nuts as the lead agricultural export product are avenues of income generation in the country.
5. National Integration:
The continued interdependence among tribes and ethnic groups on the agricultural products cultivated largely across the nation is a source of national integration.
Agriculture seeks to unify members of the nation through the shared interdependence of individuals in agro-products. Southern Nigerians are recognized for their production of palm oil and fruits like orange, while the Northerners significantly produce beans and vegetables such as carrots, onions, beef, and dairy products.
This forms a mutual relation between both regions thereby transcending tribalism and the deep-seated ethnicity in the country.
6. Agro Tourism and Exploration:
Agrotourism centers in Nigeria like the Yankari National Park, Obudu Mountain Resort, Lekki Conservation Center, Kainji National Park, Gurara Waterfalls, among others, are profitable to the nation.
Tourists make spontaneous contributions to the sales, profits, and income of a country through their hotel lodging, feeding, and transportation. They also cause the recognition of a country which ripples to the creation of employment opportunities, promotion and sales of local products, preservation of cultural heritage, both within the nation and internationally.
7. Entrepreneurial and investment opportunities:
Investment in Ventura such as honey making, beef, and poultry production, requires low start-up Capital, with high-interest recovery. However, some challenges like diseases and pest infestations, post-harvest loss, may be encountered in this venture. If properly addressed, these forms are opportunities for high agricultural investment.
8. Protection of the Environment
The entire benefits of agriculture are not geared towards the production of food; besides not all products of agriculture are for consumption.
Afforestation is an agricultural activity that contributes to the protection of the environment from greenhouse effects and global warming through the prevention of Flooding and Erosion.
9. Preservation of Species
Some animals like the dinosaurs and dragons have gone extinct. It is through agriculture that other endangered species and wildlife are prevented from going extinct.
10. National Income Revenue and Economic diversification:
As the income derived by the country from Oil is slowly declining, economic diversification through the substitution of the agricultural sector contributes to stabilizing the country’s economy.
This is through the export of products, tax on local products, returns from agricultural investments, and loans.
Just as we have gone through ten importance of Agriculture in Nigeria, it is good to note that the list is not exhausted in just these ten roles. Agriculture aids the viability of living things. That we take in oxygen through respiration is because of the gaseous exchange occurring within and outside our bodies.
Plants are man’s source of this oxygen and how can we separate plants from agriculture. The foods we eat, the clothes we put on, in one way or another correlate with the importance of Agriculture. Man cannot exist without agriculture and given that, there are some actions carried out by a man that is detrimental to the functions of Agriculture.
Some of these includes:
- Deforestation: Any process that results in destroying a forest and replacing it with something else, especially in an agricultural system.
- Hunting: The act of finding and killing a wild animal, either for sports or for using its parts to make food, clothes. Wild animals that are about to go extinct are not to be hunted but preserved.
- Desert encroachment
- Bush burning