Importance of agriculture is a vital part of agricultural science that is important for human existence; and at the same time, all aspect of it help in the economy sustenance of a country.
What are the Importance of Agriculture and its role in our society?or better still, what is the important of agriculture in Nigeria and other countries?
For us to remain alive, we need food; similarly, for the economy stability of a nation, food production is important. Therefore, I will also look at the roles of agriculture in Nigeria economy; that is to say, role of agriculture in economic development of the country. In other words, we will be talking about agricultural economics.
What is Agriculture?
Agriculture is the cultivation and breeding of animals, plants and fungi for food, fiber, biofuel, medicinal plants and other products used to sustain and enhance life. … The study of agriculture is known as agricultural science…citation from wikipedia.
As you could see, agriculture cuts across all the basic things in life; from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. In fact, we will not be on this planet if not of it.
Why is agriculture important today?
Do you know the reason why agriculture is important to man? If you do, that article will add to your knowledge. And if you do not, this may be your starting point in getting all the necessary information needed.
From time to time, agriculture in Nigeria has been linked to production of food crops and animal rearing; not only to produce food for local consumption, but a great contributor to the national wealth.
Until now, agriculture and farming are associated to animal rearing, aquaculture, forestry, dairy products, and many more; but now, the game has changed.
Presently, all activities ranging from rearing of animals to growing of crop, marketing of the crop to its distribution and exportation and are all associated to agriculture. Thus, agriculture could be referred to as the production, processing, promotion and distribution agricultural products.
In this article, I will take you through the following:
- Agriculture as a source of livelihood;
- Business Opportunities within the agriculture sector;
- Employment Opportunities within the agriculture sector;
- Sources of raw materials;
- Role of Agriculture in economy development;
- Contribution of agriculture to economy development;
- International trading – Exportation of Products; and
- Income generator for government.
Now, agriculture plays a significant role to both human and economy of a nation; that is to say, agriculture is the backbone of a nation economy. In addition to providing food and raw material, agriculture also provides employment opportunities to very large percentage of the population.
Looking at the above definition, what is the importance of agriculture in our country? or What are the Importance of Agriculture in everyday life? and what is the role of agriculture in economic development?
Below, I will be highlighting all the basic fact about agriculture, its Importance to man in everyday life and also, the economic importance of agriculture in our country.
Importance of Agriculture in Nigeria
Let us now take each of the mention above one after the other:
1. Agriculture as a sources of livelihood
Agriculture is important as a source of livelihood, without it, our existence will not have been possible. In Nigeria, the main occupation of many is agriculture; although, the discovery of crude oil has made many to abandon this occupation.
With the price of crude oil declining, many are now re-discovering agriculture as a source of livelihood. In fact, statistics has shown that many Nigeria youth are now practicing one type of agriculture or the other.
In addition, over 75% of the people living in rural area of the country are directly involve agriculture; making it a source of livelihood for them.
If this is very important to the people is our rural areas, then what impact does it have on the urban population? Well…. those living in cities and town will depend mainly on the supplies from our villages. This is an advantage to those living in the rural area.
As a matter of fact, it is an opportunity for them to make money from their produce; a good source of income and livelihood.
2. Business Opportunities within the agriculture sector
As shown above, agriculture is a good source of income; people in the rural area are reaping its benefits. In addition, agriculture create business opportunity for individuals and organization looking to practice it. How?
As well as you may be aware, success in business comes when you are able to provide solution to people’s problems. Being able to meet the demand for food, raw materials and other agriculture products will create wealth to those involve in the business.
Obviously, there is money to be made in agriculture. If not, the likes of Bill gate (world’s richest man) and Larry Ellison (CEO of the global computer technology, Oracle) will not venture into the agriculture business. Modernfarmer.com just listed 5 billionaire that has ties to the agriculture industry.
You may argue that these billionaires are foreign rich people……. well, let me come back to the Africa continent; I can categorically tell you that Dangote (Richest man in Nigeria that double up as the richest black man) invest heavily in agriculture. As a matter of fact, most of his income are generated from agriculture products.
In the light of this, I can tell you that there are various business opportunities in Nigeriawhen it comes to agriculture; that is to say, it leads the way on business and investment opportunities.
Another very important aspect of the business that exist within the agriculture sector is the exportation of agriculture product. You can read more on Highly Profitable agricultural export products.
3. Employment Opportunities within the agriculture sector
With great human and natural resources, Nigeria is blessed. Within the agricultural sectors, there are many opportunities for our youths. From job training positions for news graduate and non-graduates to expert positions; there exist great employment opportunities.
For example, agriculture needs constructions of various infrastructures such as good drainage and irrigation systems, These systems are important in the agriculture sector; therefore, its construction and maintenance are equally important too.
By and large, the sector has been the highest contributor to the Nigeria labour force. While statistics from world bank website on employment in agriculture shows a great decline in the Nigeria agriculture sector; at the same time, it made it clear that there are great employment opportunities for people looking for jobs.
4. Sources of raw materials
Leading manufacturing companies such as sugar manufacturers, cotton and textile companies depend on raw materials from agriculture produce.
In addition, fruit juice processing, rice husking, vegetable processing and few others depend on these raw materials; in other words, the importance of agriculture can be felt in the manufacturing sector too.
Nigeria as a country as been a major source of raw materials for local use and for exportation. Image above from the National Bureau of statistic indicated an increase of 31.8% in raw material export value. This is actually a significant increase for the country agriculture sector.
5. Role of Agriculture in economy development
Truly, there is no way we’ll talk about the Importance of Agriculture in Nigeria without talking about its role in the economic development of the country. To begin with, let us look at other income generating sector to the Nigeria economy.
The Oil sector
While Nigeria depend mainly in the exportation of crude oil, recent happenings in the oil industry should make us think twice.
What are these recent happening?
The simple answer to that is – crude oil price is declining. The rate at which oil price is falling is fast; according to OPEC as shown in a bar chat diagram by Statista.com, the price of oil per barrel has seen over 50% reduction compared to five years ago.
What does the statistic mean?
It simply mean that Nigeria should stop depending on revenue from crude oil. Rather than focusing on crude oil money, they should focus more on agriculture for her economy development.
Despite the fact that Nigeria is a major player in the oil industry, its economy sustenance still mainly depend on Agriculture.
6. Contribution of agriculture to economic development
Since agriculture create employment for the people, it is directly or indirectly contributing the the country economic development. In fact, it help in raising the level of national income (these people pay tax to the government) and at the same time, it give individual a better standard of living.
By and large, agriculture plays a significant role in all the process of economic development of a country.
For example, it role has already been felt in the economic prosperity of advanced countries such as the United State of America, United Kingdom, Germany and many more.
Now, it is time for the governments of developing countries to embrace agriculture as a way to make a significant improvement to their economy.
By doing so, their will be:
- An increase in the provision of food and raw materials (as mentioned above);
- Empowerment to the rural people which in turn bring out the importance of agriculture; in other words, it will encourage them;
- Creation of wealth;
- Increase in exportation of agricultural products; and
- Provision of basic infrastructure.
7. International trading – Exportation of Products
This is one of the most significant importance of agriculture to any country. In fact, Nigeria and China are really benefiting from it. Because of the fact that the demand for agricultural product is high, countries producing them can reap from the benefits.
Since it encourages international trading, it also act as a source of foreign exchange for the country. How?
For the fact that most of the developed countries are importers of agriculture products, it give the developing countries an opportunity to export their products based on demands.
Yes, these demands are high.
For example, statistic on rice importation put China and Nigeria as the two highest importer of the item; the combine total rice imported by the two countries is in excess of 8,100, 000 Metric Tonnes.
So, what does the statistic mean?
It simply mean that both China and Nigeria are spending $ billions to import rice.
Nigeria need to up her rice production. By doing so, the country not only save money on the importation of rice, but also generate revenue by exporting rice to other countries.
8. Income generator for government
As mentioned above (point number 7), agricultural produce act as income generator for governments. In the example of rice that we did, Nigeria government can turn the importation of rice (if rice production in increased) into an income.
Below, I have analyzed agriculture can act as a for of income generator to the Nigeria government.
The role of Agriculture in Nigeria Economy and development
Statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics in Nigeria has shown that in the last quarter of last year, the GDP recorded from the agriculture sector is over 47%. What does this mean? It simply mean that the government revenue from that sector is high; even higher that that of manufacturing and communication sector.
Truly, there is no country that does not need huge amount of capital for its economic development. By increasing agriculture output, Nigeria as a country will increase its capital formation.
What is capital formation?
Capital formation is a term used to describe the net capital accumulation during an accounting period for a particular country, and the term refers to additions of capital stock, such as equipment, tools, transportation assets and electricity. Cited from – Investopedia.
How does Capital Formation relates to importance of Agriculture?
There are great relationship between the two as capital formation act as a catalyst that generate funds for the government.
These funds are generated through the following:
- Labour and Capital Transfer: This can be in the form of transferring labour and capital from farm to non-farm activities. An important aspect of creating employment in the Nigeria economic system.
- Product exportation: Many of the primary farm products can be exported like the case of rice we mentioned above. This will increase government revenue and at the same time, have a significant increase in the Nigeria economy development.
- Taxation: Agricultural taxation is another form of revenue for the government. In fact, it is one of the importance of agriculture for both individual and the government.
For individuals, they will enjoy more government facilities and infrastructures; while same tax paid will empower the government to develop and improve its facilities and infrastructure to the citizens.
- Subsidy: Government can purchase these agricultural products from farmers at low rate (price good enough for farmers) and sell them at a higher price to other countries.
You can see that the role played by agriculture in Nigeria for its economic development is vital; therefore, we all need to embrace it for the development of our country.
Agriculture play an important role in the economic development of a nation. As shown above, it is important not only for the production of food for local consumption, but also as a source of income to both individuals (or corporate entities) and government.
As we engage more in agricultural activities, we give ourselves more chances of enriching our pockets and our bank accounts. Therefore, for those asking the question – Why is Agriculture Important? You could clearly see that without agriculture, we can not survive; furthermore, it is has economy importance to our country.
For Nigerians to see the full importance of agriculture and the role it play in the country’s economic development, it is important to realize the need to embrace agricultural practices. By doing so, we are given our nation the opportunity to be rich again.