ABU Journal, Department Of Public Administration
Volume No: 3|
AGRICULTURE AS A SPRINGBOARD FOR POVERTY REDUCTION IN NIGERIA
DR. ASAJU KAYODE
&NBSP;DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE FEDERAL UNIVERSITY, WUKARI TARABA STATE, NIGERIA
It is no more a gain saying that agriculture sector is the mainstay of Nigeria economy. In the 60’s and 70’s, agriculture was the highest employer of labour, and source of income. It was also a source of food and raw materials for industries. Its’ potential also as a booster of export and foreign exchange earner cannot also be overemphasised. However, this important sector has long been neglected with the advent of oil in Nigeria. This paper examines the important place of agriculture in the reduction of poverty in Nigeria. It was discovered that agricultural sector remains the mainstay of Nigerian economy despite decades of it’s’ neglect for oil sector. Its potential as the highest employer of labour and source of income to majority of Nigeria who are rural farmers cannot be overemphasised. It is also a source of food production and raw material for many industries. Apart, from all these, agriculture could as well boost the rate of export and foreign exchange earning; as well be a major contributor to the nations G.D.P. Since agricultural activities is rural, and about 86 percent of the populace are involved in it, it remains the catalyst for ensuring effective poverty reduction in Nigeria. Therefore, the paper urges the government to make agricultural development a top priority in its developmental agenda. There should be that political will to ensure that policies and programmes that are put in place to develop agriculture are well implemented. When this is done, our dream of eradicating poverty in the country will become a reality.
Over the years the rate of growth in agricultural production has stagnated and has failed to keep pace with the food needs of a rapidly growing population, resulting in a progressive increased in import bills for food and industrial raw materials. Furthermore, the potential of agricultural sector as a major employer of labour and earner of foreign exchange has also been undermined. Couple with its attendance social implications, many Nigerians have continued to wallow in abject poverty. Statistics has shown that the poor are more among those in the agricultural occupation who are highly concentrated in the rural areas