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 CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      Background of the study

Agriculture is the most basic form of human activities in the whole world. It includes the cultivation of crops as well as rearing of animals for human uses. Today in Nigeria, about 70% of its population is engaged in this activity. Despite the large number of people engaged in this activity in the country and the whole world in general, the activity is not 100% successful. Norman (1981) grouped the development of agriculture in the world into four. Thus: physical, social, economical and political constraints. In the developed countries the physical and economic constraints are taken care of: now left with the problem of the land scarcity.   In the developing countries especially in the savannahs (Sudan and Sahel) where there is series of aridity condition, the most dominant problem in every country or nation, at least must have one or two of these problems which militate against the development of agriculture in the region.    

Nigeria has a highly diversified agro ecological condition which makes possible the production of a wide range of agricultural products. Over the past two decades, agricultural yields have remained the same or worse still declined. Nigeria’s agriculture to a large extent still possesses the characteristics of a peasant economy that was prominent in the pre-independence period (Adewumi & Omotesho, 2002). More than 70 per cent of the farming population in Nigeria consists of smallholder farmers, each of whom owns or cultivates less than 5 hectares of farmland (NARP, 1994). Less than 50% of the country’s cultivable agricultural land is under cultivation. Even then, smallholder and traditional farmers who use rudimentary production techniques, with resultant low yields, cultivate most of this land. The smallholder farmers are constrained by many problems including those of poor access to modern inputs and credit, poor infrastructure, inadequate access to markets, land and environmental degradation, inadequate research and extension services, etc. Although there has been a recent rise in agricultural productivity, such improvement is derived more from expanded planting areas for staple crops than from yield increases. Howbeit, agriculture constitutes one of the most important sectors of the economy. The sector is primarily important, given its employment generation potential and its contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) and export revenue earnings (Ogen, 2002; Essien, 2005). A vibrant agricultural sector is capable of ensuring the supply of raw materials for the industrial sector as well as providing gainful employment for the teeming population (Ukeje, 2007). The emergence of the petroleum sector in the early 1970’s resulted in significant structural changes in the Nigeria economy which negatively affected the agricultural sector. In response to the oil boom, public expenditures grew, fostering many other economic activities, including infrastructural development, creation of new institutions and expansion of existing ones, and importation of all kinds of consumer goods (Essien, 2005; Ukeje, 2007). Earnings from petroleum resources favoured these developments, but tradable agricultural commodities did not experience similar growth. The share of the oil sector in the total value of exports, which was under 60 per cent in 1970, rose to over 90 per cent after 1973. The non-oil exports declined from about 30 per cent in 1970 to less than 10 per cent by 1980 (Ojo, 1992). Agricultural productivity estimates for Nigeria showed a decline in productivity growth from the 1960s to the 1980s. Nigeria has witnessed strong economic growth in the past few years, averaging 8.8 per cent real annual GDP growth from 2000 to 2007. However, the agricultural sector has lagged behind GDP growth at 3.7 per cent in 2007.

In spite of the various agricultural programmes and policies initiated by different administrations for the development of Agriculture in Nigeria, there has not been any phenomenal growth in agricultural output since the 1970s. Agriculture’s contribution to the non-oil gross domestic product (GDP) was stable at about 40 per cent in recent years (FDA/FMARI, 2005). The index of agricultural output declined from 75.5 in 1970 to 35.2 in 1979. Although the index increased steadily from 35.2 in 1979 to 40.10 in 2005, the growth rate shows complete absence of sustainability. For instance, the growth rate was negative throughout the 1970s; declined from 6.34 to 3.04 between 1982 and 1986, and then fluctuated to 8.33 in 2003 and -3.24 in 2005. The rate was worsened in 2010 (4.2) due to the high price of oil. The question agitating the minds of scholars is why agricultural output is low amidst the huge expenditure via the different programmes implemented in Nigeria. Consequently, there has been a dramatic increase in the incidence and severity of poverty in Nigeria, arising in part from the dwindling performance of the agricultural sector where a preponderant majority of the poor are employed. Furthermore, poverty in Nigeria has been assuming wider dimensions including household, income poverty, food poverty/insecurity, poor access to public services and infrastructure, unsanitary environment, illiteracy and ignorance, insecurity of life and property, and poor governance. Arising from this backdrop, this paper is poised to investigate the nexus between food export and import on agricultural sector performance. Also, the study is apt to assess the relationship between agricultural credit financing and the sector’s productivity, while attempting to unravel the major determinants of agricultural output in Nigeria

1.2      STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Despite the large number of people engaged in agricultural activity in the study area, yet agriculture is still at the primary level. The study is therefore set out to find out the solution to the following questions:

1.          What are the factors militating against agricultural development in the study area?

2.          To what extent does the factors militating against agricultural development affects agricultural development in the study area?

3.          What are then possible solutions to the problem caused by these factors in the study area?

1.3      OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The objectives of the study are;

1.   To find out the factors militating against the agricultural development in Oredo Local Government Area.

2.   To find out the extent to which the problem affects the development of agriculture in the study area.

3.   To offer suggestions for the solution to the problem

1.4      RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher; 

H0: there are no factors militating against the agricultural development in Oredo Local Government Area

H1: there are factors militating against the agricultural development in Oredo Local Government Area

H02: there is no extent to which the problem affects the development of agriculture in the study area.

H2: there is extent to which the problem affects the development of agriculture in the study area.

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study will give a clear insight in the constraint of agricultural development. The study will be beneficial to student, ministry of agriculture and the general public. The study will sought out what constraint the development of agriculture in Nigeria. It will also suggest the solution and the forward to agriculture development in Nigeria. The study will also serve as a reference to other researcher that will embark on this topic

1.5      SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study covers the constraints of agricultural development. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

 a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study 

b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS

  CONSTRAINT: stiffness of manner and inhibition in relations between people.

AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT: Agricultural Development and Policy. Working to reduce hunger and poverty, and improve the sustainability of rural livelihoods in the face of increasing social, economic and physical shocks and stresses.

1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study    


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