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BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Nigeria is endowed with natural resources, large fertile farmland, wide range of crops, and river amongst others. Despite its abundant natural resources it is faced worth a poor food situation. The poor food situation is traceable to the decline in the agricultural sector. The problem of feeding and provision of natural resources is increasing by the day. However, several efforts are being made to improve the standard.
Prior to the discovery of petroleum in Nigeria agriculture used to be the highest foreign exchange resources earner and its contribution to gross domestic product GDP has been estimated to about 62.63% in 1960, 48.08% in 1970, and 20.63% in 1980. Recently due to the growing awareness of the role of agriculture, the various governments have intensified efforts aimed at transforming from its present subsistence level to a market oriented production. One of those efforts was the ban made on importation of agricultural products like palm oil, maize and rice. This was done to encourage improvements on our production standard.
Due to the fall in the level of production from decade to decade, the country could no longer feed the large population, provide raw material for domestic industries, engage in export of agricultural produce and employ the labor force of the country despite the abundance of human and material resources.
In spite of growing urbanization, Nigeria is known to be predominantly rural in nature and majority of the population is dependent directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihood. Though, the Nigerian agriculture is characterized by low farm income, low level capacity to satisfy the fond needs of the country, due to the outdated and primitive techniques of production, it is still the mainstay of the nation’s economy.
Measures and program setup to upgrade the Agricultural sector involve the construction and reformation of the whole structure of the agricultural sector by the creation of appropriate institutions and public services. This would help strengthen the economic position of the dependent farmers. Examples of such measures are National Accelerated Food Production Project (NAFPP), Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), Nigeria Agricultural Cooperation and Rural Development Bank (NACRDB).
STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM.
According to Anyanwu Etal (1997:14) ‘’the agricultural sector has been recognized for a long time as an important sector to Nigerian economy and development is one of the crucial requirements for the overall economic growth. He noted further that the decline in agricultural activities might appear natural in any development process; it is obvious that in Nigeria agricultural activities would remain the most important single sector for some time to come. He emphasized that in the past, development planners have introduce programs such as national accelerated food production project (NAFPP), green revolution programs
(GRP), in search for all appropriate technique in order to increase farm output an d productivity and such program have at one time been implemented.
In recognition of the aforementioned that attempt is made in this study to provide answers or solution to the research problems below.
1. What are the reasons for continuous fall or decline in the production level of the agricultural sectors of the Nigerian economy?
2. What actions can be taken to upgrade the current production level of the agricultural sector?
3. What effect does the decline in agricultural sector have on the human resources of the economy?
What measures have been taken in the past to redress the perceived slow growth rate of the agricultural sector?
How and to what extent does the performance and commitment exhibited by financial institution in general, Nigeria agricultural cooperation and rural development bank (NACRDB) in particular in terms of providing financial support influenced the activities of agricultural sector?
OBJECTIVES OF STUDY.
The objectives of the study are to determine the role of financial institution in agricultural development in Nigeria. This will specifically include
1. To examine and evaluate the agricultural create it granted the farmers in recent years.
2. To ascertain the effectiveness of credit granted by Nigeria agricultural cooperation and rural deve3lopment bank (NACRDB) in the achievements of the pre-planned objectives of the agricultural sector.
3. The study seeks to analyze the measures and program set by the government in a bid to enhancing the agricultural sector. 4. To determine the influence of these measures at accelerating the growth rate of the agricultural sector.
5. To establish and verify ways by which the agricultural sector can be improved in the future.
The study seeks to achieve the above system aims or objectives.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY.
With the aim of examining how the financial institutions influence the activities of agricultural sector, through their credit policies and farm credit system, programs that have been established to review the agricultural sector would be analyzed. A lot of sources for farm credit have been and a number of them have failed to perform their pre-planned functions. An example of such scheme is the Nigeria local development board (NLDB).
Our point of focus in examining institution program and scheme setup to upgrade the agricultural sector would be on Nigeria agricultural co-operative and rural development bank (NACRCD).
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY.
The agricultural sector of the Nigeria economy like any other sector of the economy cannot function without fund. Unlike the other sectors of the economy, agricultural sector can guarantee repayment of loan borrowed or collected only after a long period of time. This is because of the slow nature of the production process.
However, this has acted as a hindering factor to giving out loan to the agricultural sector by financial institutions. If this continues in its current path, the continuous lack of fund would lead to the eventual collapse of agricultural activities.
The problem of lack of fund and credit facilities in the agricultural sector has been chosen because the persistent shortage of fund would lead to a fall in the production level of the agricultural sector, the agricultural sector whose importance cannot be over stated.
Nevertheless, there would be some beneficiaries in this study which will include the government, financial institutions, large and small scale farmers as well as the general public.
STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS.
This study would be guided by the following hypothesis;
i. Ho: the agricultural down drain cannot be curbed through effective bank credit.
Hi : the agricultural down drain can be curbed through effective bank credit.
ii. Ho: bank credit and financial facilities are not made available by development bank to farmer.
Hi: bank credit and finance facilities are made available by development bank to farmers.
iii. Ho: bank credit facilities have been ineffective due to their policies formulated and not their implementations and utilization.
Hi: bank credit facilities have been ineffective due to their improper implementations and utilization and not due to the policies formulated.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY.
Some factors may limit the level of accuracy and reliability of this study. Such factors include.
i. Difficulty in obtaining data. ii. Low response rate from involved parties.
In the absence of the above mentioned limitations, all other errors and omissions are entirely those of the researcher.
DEFINITION OF TERMS.
i. AGRICULTURE: This can be defined as the growing of crops and rearing of animals for human consumption. Agriculture involves live stock, forestry, wide life and fisheries as well as the production of crops like cocoa, palm product, groundnut, cotton and rubber. Historically, the Nigerian agriculture can be categorized into three. They are Ø The subsistence type.
Ø The diversified type.
Ø The plantation type.
The subsistence type is the production type done mainly for human consumption with little or no surface.
The diversified type is the production type that is done beyond individual consumption or domestic level.
The plantation type although have not made any impact in the Nigeria agriculture, it accounts for a small amount of total
Nigeria agricultural output. It involves the use of improved modern techniques and it is run in the state by their development cooperation.
ii. AGRICULTURAL SECTOR: The agricultural sector is one of the sectors of Nigeria economy... it is the sector responsible for the provision of food supply and raw materials for domestic and foreign industries.
iii. FINANCIAL INSTITUTION: These are organization owned either by individual, group or persons, state or country as a whole. Financial institutions are established mainly for saving money (deposit) for their customers and providing for such deposit and when needed and also the granting of credit facilities to their customers based on the credit worthiness of such customers.
iv. NIGERIA AGRICULTURAL CO OPERATIVE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT BANK (NACRDB): It is a body charged with the duty of granting credit facilities to individual farmers as well as the group farmers for the purpose of fueling their farming activities. It was previously known as Nigeria agricultural cooperative bank (NACB) and became Nigeria agricultural cooperative and rural development bank (NACRDB) after merging with the defunct people’s bank of Nigeria and family economic advancement program.
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