It is difficult for a nation to survive without agriculture and agricultural activities, not just because it is a source of food, but because it is connected to the production of all basic human needs. Below are some of the benefits of agriculture in Nigeria:
1. Production of export crops:
In the 1960s, agriculture was the main foreign exchange earner for Nigeria through export crops such as palm oil. However, this status declined as crude oil took over as the nation’s main export.
Nonetheless, agriculture is currently still thriving by producing export crops. In Q2, 2018, the total value of exported agricultural produce was N85.9 billion. In the previous quarter of 2018, agriculture contributed N73.25 billion so there was a quarter growth of 17.3%.
Fermented cocoa ginger, beans, raw cocoa beans, sesame seeds, and cashew nuts, constituted export goods, with cashew nuts in shells as the leading agricultural export product.
2. Agro tourism:
Nigeria is blessed with agro tourism locations such as the Yankari National Park, Obudu Mountain Resort, Kainji National Park, Lekki Conservation Center, Gurara Waterfalls, and many others.
These tourist destinations, if properly managed, can be beneficial to the national economy by injecting cash into the agricultural system. This is because tourists contribute to the sales, profits, tax, and income of a country through hotel lodging, feeding, and transportation.
Asides from contributing to the economy, agro tourism also leads to global recognition, creation of employment opportunities, preservation of local culture, promotion and sales of local products, both locally and internationally.
3. Job creation:
Production, harvesting, transport, processing, distribution, packaging, and retail marketing activities make up the agricultural value chain.Human labor supervises these stages to ensure a smooth flow and that is how agriculture creates job opportunities.
The Agriculture sector is the largest sector in the Nigerian economy, employing about two thirds of the nation’s labor force. About 70% of the Nigerian population engages in agriculture at a subsistence level.
However, the general misconception that agriculture is a labor intensive sector tends to discourage people from taking part. However, with the modernization of agriculture through platforms such as Farmcrowdy,, this notion is gradually being put to rest.
4. Source of raw material for other industries:
One of the most important benefits of agriculture is that it serves as a pillar for many other industries. Without agriculture, they may not be able to survive. This is because agricultural products serve as raw materials for the production of many items.
The basic needs for human survival; food, shelter, and clothing, are all dependent on agriculture for their production. Raw materials such as crops for food, silk for cloth, and wood for shelter, all come from agriculture.
Similarly, other industries such as the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and rubber production all rely on raw materials from agricultural products. Safe to say that agriculture runs the world.
5. Entrepreneurial and investment opportunities:
Agriculture presents opportunities for entrepreneurship through various ventures such as honey making, beef making, poultry farming, and many others. Some of these ventures are low capital and high interest endeavors.
However, there are certain factors that can challenge agricultural entrepreneurship. They include; pests and diseases infestations, post-harvest loss, poor road networks, and others. The benefits of agriculture will be sub-par if these issues are properly addressed.
Likewise, there are many opportunities for agricultural investment. This ranges from tangible investments such as crop and animal production, to intangible ones such as stocks, futures, and bonds.
6. Economic diversification:
With the income from oil declining in Nigeria, the nation is seeking economic diversification and the agricultural sector is a good substitute.
One of the ways agriculture aids economic diversification is through production of export products. Today, Agriculture remains the leading non-oil sector of the nation’s economy, providing nearly 70% of non-petroleum exports.
Some other ways economic diversification through agriculture can be achieved are by utilization of technology in the sector to achieve maximum output, financing indigenous farmers for productivity, and engagement of youths in agricultural practices.
7. Food security:
Food security, as defined by FAO, is when all people at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
Nigeria is blessed with 82 million hectares of arable land, and is currently the largest producer of cassava, rice, and yam, and 2nd largest producer of cassava and ginger. These are all geared towards achieving food security for the nation.
Similarly, digital agricultural platforms such as Farmcrowdy, are also using a variety of tools to improve the livelihoods of small scale farmers. In the words of Onyeka Akumah “If we don’t help farmers, we might wake up one day to face (full-scale) food scarcity.
Agriculture plays a huge role in the development of the nation and maximum utilization of what it has to offer could create a significant impact.