DEVELOPING THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR TO BOOST THE RURAL ECONOMY IN NIGERIA.
Rural development is a veritable tool for fighting poverty and achieving economic prosperity at the grass root level. The concept of rural development embrace by most countries connotes a process through which rural poverty-is alleviated by sustained increase in the productivity of agriculture and income of low-ncome workers and households. The major thrust of this research work examined the impact of agriculture on rural development in Nigeria. Six research questions and three hypothesis model were answered and tested respectively. This project was centered on research methodology to analyse the importance in social and economic advancement on the Nigeria economy in other to consider the shortcoming of the agricultural sector and to formulate policy option that will serve as a sort for improving the sector.
In the early 80s attention began to shift the overall development of the rural economy. Although agriculture still remained the mainspring of interest in rural sector.
Regional government however became the principle agent of rural development attempting to strengthen and diversify the base of the economy and also to improve social welfare and services.
As trend in the quality of life in developing nations became clearer in 1990s, rural sector became a major concern of the national government, a more comprehensive policy were adopted such as agricultural development projects [ADP] The River Development Authorities [RDA] and the green revolution .
The first integrated approach to develop the rural areas was the establishment of the directorate for food, road and rural infrastructure in 1989.This represents a more fundamental approach in solving rural problems, although it has it shortcomings. This programme has since been preceded by other equality viable and substantial programmes most contemporary scheme are successors to earlier, invariably unsuccessful and usually prematurely aborted programme.
At present, the need to enhance the overall and rapid development of the rural sector of the economy has become important in other to facilitate the development of the national economy. The slogan "rural development" has become almost a household word and the subject matter is so popular that is sure to be mentioned somewhere in the Nigeria media each day of the year.
In Nigeria after independence, the agricultural sector of the economy was an object of neglect; Nigeria has since been faced with the challenges of economic disarray, to a country-living beyond its means to a people bewildered for no longer being able to provide the basic necessities of life for them selves.
According to Adekunle , effort to develop rural communities was basically directed towards agriculture. This means that he rural man was not only viewed in term of what his needs were but also what he could provide for his country. Although various agricultural policies that were put in place by the government performed fairly well, they failed to achieve the desired outcome as far as the development of rural sector is concerned.
Subsequently, rural development were comprehensive is this more fundamental approach in solving rural problems include the establishment of directorate for food, road, rural and infrastructural [DFRRI], the Better Life Program [BLP] the people bank of Nigeria [PBN] The Universal Primary Education Programme, Nomadic Education Programme, The Mass Mobilization Programme [MAMSER] and in recent time, The family support programme [FSP] and the petroleum trust fund [PTF].
1.1 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The aim of this study is to examine critically the performance of rural development, agricultural development programme in Nigeria to analyze the importance in the social and economic advancement on the Nigeria economy to really consider the problem and shortcomings by the agricultural sector and to formulate policy option that can be put in place to solve and improve the rural sector development.
The study also shows that the Nigeria economy still maintain the typical symptoms of subsistence agriculture which is mostly dominated by small scale farmers who are responsible for about 95 percent of the total output in Nigeria.
However, the rural economy of Nigeria which is supposed to form the bedrock of national development has suffered undue neglect starting from the colonial era till date. The direct consequence of this neglect has been a direct decline in national output and the general standard of living of the average Nigeria.
Hence, the rural or agricultural sector which has been neglected for other sector must be developed with the introduction of modern sophisticated tools to improve the agricultural sector so that food security would be guaranteed in the economy and also the industrial sector could have raw materials for their production.
1.2 SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY
Generally speaking, agricultural development of the world, especially in the third world countries, are identified by their low level of development compared to other centers, majority of rural dwellers lives in standard houses, poor environmental and unplanned rural communities.
With over 50 percent of Nigeria population living and working in rural area, there is no gain saying the fact that any development strategies that neglect rural development will be a mirage for any meaningful agricultural development. For agricultural development to be achieved, the need for policy makers to have adequate understanding of the type, character and dimension of the agricultural problems, the performance of the past public policies at rural development and also the peculiarities of the Nigeria rural situation cannot be over emphasized.
1.3 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study will consider all policies and institution put in place within the framework of this research. It will focus on multi-sectorial programmes as the present a more dynamic and integrated approach to rural development.
The performance of the various agricultural development programmes will be evaluated in line with selected socio-economic indicators to determine the: extent of the influence of the programmes on the rural development.
Given the scope and complexity of this research work, the research will mainly deal with government actions toward agricultural development and agricultural programme in Nigeria. The study will be for a period of 20 years between 1990 and 2009 since this was the period when successive government embark on reforms to intensify the development of rural communities, although occasional reference will be made to dates outside the scope of the years.
1.4 METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY
The analysis of rural development and agricultural sector programme in Nigeria economy requires facts and figures gotten from both primary and secondary sources which includes interviews, journals, published books and newspapers.
The econometrics approach would be adopted to examine the relationship government expenditure on agriculture and development of rural areas and reduction of poverty in the economy. The ordinary least square method [OLS] will be used .This econometrics method will be used because it is reliable and is usually used in economics research.
1.5 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Several problems were encountered during the process of gathering data among which are
1. The relative short period for collection and completing the research work did not allow for the in depth survey into the concept rural development and agricultural programmes.
2. The financial constraint was another militating factor that has to count.
3. Lack of comprehensive, up to date and publish statistical data was another problem. This problem has led public researcher to conclude that Nigeria is still living in statistical Dark Age.
1.6 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Developing the rural sector in Nigeria follows difference incentives; agricultural sector has been neglected as an important variable that contributes to this development in Nigeria. Much of this development in the rural area has to be caused by industrial development; provision of social amenities etc. this work therefore tends to examine the significant of improving agricultural sector for rural development in Nigeria.
1.7 RESEARCH QUESTION
(1) What incentive can be adopted in the agricultural sector to enhance rural development?
(2) What impact can government spending on agricultural commodities generate on rural development in Nigeria?
(3) Can improvement in government spending on agricultural sector reduces the level of unemployment in Nigeria.
(4) Will investment in the agricultural sector has any impact on macro economic variables such as; unemployment, income output, and interest rate etc.
(5) What has been the contribution of agricultural sector to economic growth and development?
(6) Is there any relationship between agricultural sector and development in other sectors?
1.8 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Ho: There is no relationship that exists between government expenditure on agricultural commodities in rural areas and unemployment.
HI: There exist relationship between government expenditure on agricultural commodities in rural areas and unemployment.
Ho: There is negative relationship between government expenditure on agricultural sector and the level of unemployment.
HI: There is positive relationship between government expenditure on agricultural sector and level of unemployment.
Ho: There is no correlation between contribution of agricultural sector and economic development.
HI: There is correlation between contribution of agricultural sector and economic development.
1.9 PLAN OF THE STUDY
To give chance for thorough presentation of agricultural programme and rural development in Nigeria .the project will be divided into five chapters. The first chapter shall contain introduction, objective of the study, the research questions, etc that would guide the: study. Chapter two would present the literature review on the subject matter. The methodology to be adopted in the study would be stated in chapter three. Chapter four shall focus on presentation, analysis of data and interpretation of regression result. The last chapter would present the summary of the findings, conclusions and appropriate recommendation..