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This paper uses the case of Nigeria's food and agricultural sector to deduce implications for developing African economic policy. Nigeria's food and agricultural problems include low productivity and output as a result of factors such as limited access to input sources, the use of traditional technologies, and ineffective government and policy improvement.

Gender studies on Nigerian agriculture show that women play an important role in Africa's rural economies as food and agricultural producers, processors, and traders. In this paper, their strategic position is contrasted with the fact that, due to their of control over inputs and output, they frequently operate on the outskirts of society. A framework

The paper advocates for a shift. This will be accomplished by consciously incorporating gender as a separate variable into development programming and projects. This ensures, among other things, that production inputs reach the true producers, many of whom are small-scale female farmers. Thus, the question is not whether African economic development policy is required. It is how quickly the development of African rural economies can be stimulated.




Nigeria's post-independence development efforts have yielded mixed results. These outcomes are largely due to the growth-oriented approach to development planning, which emphasized growth in macroeconomic variables such as GDP, investment, and so on. As a result, Nigeria experienced growth until the 1970s.

GDP growth averaged 4% per year in the 1950s, 3.5 percent per year in the 1960s, and 6.5 percent per year in the 1970s (Diejomaoh, 1984). Growth rates in the 1970s were very impressive: 8.7% in 1976-77, 7.5% in 1977-78, and 8.8% in 1979-80. However, performance in many sectors was subpar. The agricultural sector, in particular, underperformed.

Agriculture contributed 61.2% of GDP and was the country's main exchange earner when the first National Development Plan was implemented (1962-68). Planning efforts focused on industrialization, and the focus on industry resulted in the neglect of agriculture. The discovery and exploitation of crude oil in Nigeria exacerbated this neglect. The ‘oil boom' made Nigeria overly reliant on oil revenues, to the detriment of other sectors, particularly agriculture.

The agricultural sector's neglect meant that it could not fulfill its responsibilities, such as providing job opportunities, self-sufficiency in food production, higher per capita income, foreign exchange earnings, and industrial raw materials (Federal Ministry of National Planning, 1975). Instead, the results were rising food prices, rising food import bills, a decline in traditional exports, and increased rural-urban migration.

Food and beverage imports increased from N61,6 million in 1970 to N2,1 billion by 1981. (Adeyemo, 1984). Food production has been declining in per capita terms. In the Third Development Plan Period (1975-1980) efforts were made to revive the agricultural sector.

The annual growth rate of food demand was estimated to be 3.5 percent, while the annual growth rate of food production was only one percent. Thus increasing food deficits were expected if no efforts were made to increase food production.

One of the objectives for the agricultural sector for the fourth plan period was to (Federal Ministry of National Planning, 1981): promote increased production of food and other raw materials to meet the needs of a growing population and rising industrial production, a basic objective in this respect is the attainment of self sufficiency in food within the plan period.

The Fourth Plan period witnessed the launching of the Green Revolution Programme and implementation of various other agricultural policies. However,

as Table 1 shows, total food production did not grow significantly and per capital

food production declined. While Nigeria could finance food import bills, deficits in food production could be absorbed. However, the oil glut of the 19808 led to dwindling foreign exchange and an inability to pay for food or raw material imports.

This, in addition to mounting foreign debt, allude it necessary to revamp the economy. The major economic policy instrument of the 19808, to bring about greater balance in the economies of developing countries, was the concept of ‘structuraladjustment'. The Structural Adjustment Programme was adopted in Nigeria in 1986. Among its objectives were to (Central Bank of Nigeria, 1986):

* restructure and diversify the productive base of the economy so as to reduce dependence on the oil sector and imports

* achieve a fiscal and balance of payments viability

* lay the basis for a reasonable non-inflationary growth

* lessen the dominance of unproductive investments in the public sector, improve the sector's efficiency and intensify the growth potential of the private sector.

Emphasis was to be on demand management policies which were to include (Ikpeze, 1988):

* curtailment of recurrent expenditure through restraint on wage increases and employment freezes

* reduction in transfers to parastatals, coupled with a policy of cost recovery.

In addition to monetary, fiscal and external policy measures, various sectoral policies werealso strengthened to expand and diversify the production base of the economy. In the agricultural sector, for example, the major objectives were to:

* increase domestic food production in order to improve nutritional standards and eliminate food imports

* increase the supply of raw materials to the manufacturing sector

* increase production of exportable cash crops

* raise rural employment and incomes.

The general emphasis was on the attainment of self sufficiency in food production and basic raw materials. Measures adopted included:

* disengagement by government from involvement in food

* setting up the Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) in conjunction with governments

* provision of necessary support services to private farmers.

Since the adoption of the Structural Adjustment Programme, an Agricultural Policy was launched in 1988. This was a comprehensive policy package to be used over the next fifteen years to improve the performance of the nation's agricultural sector. The main goals of the policy were (Central Bank of Nigeria, 1988):

* attainment of self sufficiency in food production

* self sustained growth in the agricultural sector.

Policy instruments to achieve these objectives included:

* selective subsidies on farm inputs and equipment in order to reduce the cost of agricultural production and producer prices

* tariff regulations to help promote exports and discourage non-essential imports

* favourable fiscal and credit guidelines to increase the competitiveness of agricultural commodities on world markets

* review of land acquisition and allocation laws in favour of agriculture.

Strategies to achieve these objectives included (Central Bank of Nigeria. 1988).

* ecological specialization in crops, livestock and forestry production

* encouraging all scales of production, namely ,large, medium and smallsca1e


* input supply, ie production/procurement and distribution of relevant agricultural inputs by government

* expansion and rationalization of the various support services rendered by government

While the Federal Government is to provide a general policy frame work:

agricultural development, state governments were to be primarily responsible for.

* promotion of extension services

* ensuring effective access to land for farming

* involvement in training and development of appropriate personnel

* pest and disease control at state level

* agricultural credit administration at state level

* provision of storage for price stabilization.

Local governments were to assist in extension services, the provision of rural infrastructure and the promotion of farmers' organizations, while the private sector was expected to play a leading role in investment, and the production, marketing, processing and storage of farm produce. It was also expected to participate in input supply and distribution, agricultural mechanisation, and and the provision of basic infrastructure (Central Bank of Nigeria. 1988).

Thus over the years, an overriding objective for Nigeria's agricultural sector has been the attainment of self-sufficiency in food production. Self-sufficiency in food production implies that Nigeria should grow enough food to feed herself and have a surplus to export if possible. In the past, agricultural policies have tended to focus on male farmers who grow most of the cash crops which are exported a: used as industrial raw materials. Increasingly, however, available data shows that

food crop production and processing in Nigeria are dominated by rural women, an in many other Mrican countries. This project work examines the survey of food production in Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State.


Agriculture used to be the prime mover of the Nigerian economy, especially up to the 1970s before petroleum became important. Agricultural exports drove the economy forward. However, even at that time, the food sub-sector was stagnating. Subsequently, stagnation and decline covered the whole agricultural sector.

Thus, for much of the period from about 1970, agriculture has been unable to spear – head the development of the Nigerian economy. Even, the Structural Adjustment Policy (SAP) of the 1980s was not able to bring about development in agriculture. Much of the increase in the growth indices for agriculture was notional, with little change in real terms. This study hereby outline some of the problem that the agricultural sector facing today:

i. Problems of capital

ii. Method of land acquisition

iii. Lack of farming machineries

iv. Marketing of farm produce

v. Bad road network and

vi. Neglect by the government.


This research work is on a survey on food production. Therefore the objective of this study is to:

1. Identify the level of food/agricultural production in the study area.

2. Problem facing the agricultural sector today.

3. Identify the role of the government in food production

4. Identify source of capital to the farmers

5. Identify how the farmers market their goods.


1. Does increase domestic food production improve nutritional standards and eliminate food imports?

2. Does disengagement of the government in the agricultural sector reduce food production in the country?

3. Does the provision of necessary support service to the farmers increase food production in Nigeria?

4. Does government makes policies that are in favour of the farmers?

5. Is Nigeria self-sufficient in food production?

6. Is the land acquisition policy in favour of the farmers


Nigerian food production had been neglected by the Government since the Colonial Era. This supported the uncertain belief that Nigeria has enough food to feed the nation. It was not until the latter half of the 1970s, when the Government took measures to increase food production, that the Government admitted that there is a food shortage in this country.

The measures taken by the Government, however, had little impact for food crop production and cash crop production. It is ironic that many plans in which the Government took the initiative and mobilized her institutions fully did not have significant influence, but the programs which the Government was reluctant to start had the most significant impact on agricultural production.

It is apparent that governmental or semi-governmental agricultural institutions, which are supposed to increase agricultural production in the country, were not efficient but rather hindered. Therefore this study will be of importance both to the government and the private farmers.

This study will also provide an insight into the level of food production and Nigeria. Stating the problems faced by the agricultural sectors and ways to resolving these problems.


This research work is titled “A survey on food production” and it is restricted only to Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State.



SAP: Structural Adjustment Programme

Agricultural Policy: This refers to laws made by the government to regulate the agricultural sectors in the country.


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