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Chapter one


1.1 Background of the Study

Agriculture is at the heart of colonial Nigeria’s economy. At independence, in the decade of the 1960s, the sector continued to enjoy this status and was seen as the mainstay of the economy as the objective of the first development plan (1962-1968) showed, thus, the contribution of the agricultural sector during this decade to GDP ranged from 561%, 61.222%, 66.77%, and 63.4% from 1960-1967 (Ayaoli, 1998:123). However, due to the oil boom and the agriculture sector’s carelessness, the contribution decreased dramatically in 1970.

This resulted in rural-urban migration, a labour deficit in agriculture, and the sector’s stagnation. Oil money gave the necessary funds for postwar restoration, rehabilitation, and reconciliation. As a result, the government showed little interest in agriculture’s contribution to GDP.

The three regions’ efforts (reconstruction, rehabilitation, and reconciliation) were mostly focused on metropolitan centres, leaving rural areas without facilities.

Modern agricultural production requires fundamental infrastructure such as good roads, electricity, water, a telecommunications system, schools, and hospitals. However, true agricultural activity take place in rural areas rather than urban centres, where facilities are concentrated.

In his presentation of Balanced Growth Theory, Radan (2011:23) argues that “there is a minimum level of resources that must be devoted to agricultural development programmes for them to have any chance of success.”

However, the government failed to provide the required facilities to support the sector’s expansion. The results included rural-urban drift, sector stagnation, and massive import bills.

This was because agriculture as a career did not provide the rural population with what Maslow (1954) refers to as self-esteem and true actualization, which were either imaginary or real in other sectors of the urban centre.

Dwindling oil prices in the second half of the 1970s pushed the government to reconsider the direction of the agricultural sector. The goal was to develop the sector in order to regain lost GDP and minimise reliance on petroleum.

The effort spanned from direct production through the development of state farms to supporting roles such as input provision, research, and many others, as seen in Fadama 111 today. The federal government is now primarily concerned with planning, with other duties delegated to the states and local governments.

Since 1976, numerous strategies and programmes have been implemented to increase agricultural production. According to Ogbuagu (1998:95), some of the major ones include Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs), River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs)

The Green Revolution (GR), The Directorate of Food, Roads, and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI), The National Accelerated Food Production Programme (NAFPP), Research Institutes, National Directorate for Employment (NDE), Nation Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), and the provision of inputs such as ferti

However, Inyang (1995:55) found that a couple of the policies performed below expectations. Some of the reasons given for this low degree of success include a lack of qualified and experienced personnel, an insufficient supply of input, and other extension services.

Other factors include land ownership, diseases and pests, a workforce shortage in rural areas, inadequate technology, credit and marketing facilities, and weather

as well as the implementation of bottlenecks and blatant fraud. All of the aforementioned issues influence the execution of agricultural policies in Nigeria.

Prior to the establishment of the state, the agriculture sector was considered a traditional occupation and, like other vocations, was subject to examination.

In Akwa Ibom State, data from the Akwa Ibom State Socioeconomic Study Report 2012 show that a very high proportion (89.21%) of the employed live in rural regions, and that 60% are self-employed, with 30% male and 43% female farmers.

According to these figures, farming employs or generates revenue for the majority of the state’s population. This high ratio of farmers indicates a high level of agricultural development in the state.

As a result, with the creation of the state, the main trust of Akwa Ibom State Government as implemented by the State Ministry of Agriculture was to cause a questionable annual growth in the production and marketing of cash crops, staple food, livestock, and fisheries production through institutional and infrastructural empowerment of the private, small, medium, and large scale enterprise, crop and livestock, farmers, fishers, folks, extension advice, technical assistance, and agriculture

It also involves a systematic strategy to ensuring food security and agricultural investments through equitable participation in public-private partnerships, with the goal of creating wealth and lowering unemployment, so alleviating poverty and creating jobs for a growing population.

In an effort to reposition the state’s agricultural sector, the government has launched a number of initiatives to rekindle interest in agriculture in the face of diminishing crude oil fortunes in Nigeria as a whole, and in Akwa Ibom State specifically.

These programmes include accelerated livestock and fish production, expanded programmes, integrated farmers’ schemes, the Akwa Ibom State Food Reserve Programme, the Akwa Ibom Land Consolidation and Management Scheme, the Commercial Agricultural Development Programme, farm tractors, and the implementation and support of externally funded programmes.

Others include fertiliser purchase and distribution, the Akwa Ibom State Agricultural Development Programme, the State Central Abattoir, and the Akwa Ibom State Meat Hygiene/Van Project.

The goals of these projects are to create job opportunities and strengthen capacity building, with the ultimate goal of improving food production in the state and Nigeria as whole.

1.2 Statement of Problem

The agricultural sector in Akwa Ibom State has served as an economic generator as well as a stepping stone to industrialization. This agricultural statement reflects the core objectives of the policy initiatives, as indicated by numerous developments and rolling plans:

(a) To ensure enough food for the population and raw materials for domestic enterprises.

(a) Create rural opportunities to address unemployment and underemployment, particularly in rural regions.

(b) Provide income to farmers.

(d) Increased foreign exchange profits by hiring more agricultural commodity experts.

(e) Encourage the use of relevant technologies to modernise the agricultural sector (Ojo, 1999:56).

Agricultural product processing (Agro-processing) is a reality in the agriculture value chain that involves adding value to agricultural commodities with the ultimate goal of enhancing their economic value.

Various governments in developing economies are currently implementing programmes that are designed with a focus on value addition and commercialization of agricultural goods.

In line with this development, Ja’afar-Furo et al., (2011) emphasised that developing countries that intend to rapidly transform their agriculture would have to massively embark on a holistic food system that includes processing and clearly defined channels of appropriate marketing in order to provide sustainable avenues for income generation for rural farmers.

In Nigeria, several programmes have been fielded by the federal government in the past with the perfect hope that However, these did not generate the expected results.

For example, Ugoh and Ukpene (2009) accurately assessed the trend of poverty alleviation measures in Nigeria, emphasising both triumphs and weaknesses.

The authors identified weak targeting procedures, failure to focus on the poor, programming inconsistencies, poor execution, and corruption as major flaws, concluding that the overall programme was unable to include beneficiaries in the design and implementation stages.

From Nigeria’s independence to the present, the names are infinite. These include Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), Green Revolution, the Directorate of Food, Road, and Infrastructure (DFFRI), the Nigeria Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA), and, most recently, the Fadama programmes.

Fadama 111, one of the three (3) phases of the Fadama initiatives, was developed to solve the deficiencies identified in Fadama 1 and 11. The primary project objective is to increase their incomes through agro-processing and market accessibility in Akwa Ibom State, and this attempt will evaluate the project’s performance in order to achieve Fadama 111’s laudable desire while taking into account constraints that may serve as roadblocks to achieving the same.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The study’s aims are as follows:

(1) To investigate methods of eliminating unemployment in Nigeria through agricultural development.

(2) To identify strategies for increasing agricultural productivity in Nigeria.

(3) Determine the extent to which the government, through Fadama 111, has implemented fish production in Akwa Ibom State to reduce unemployment.

(4) Determine the amount to which Fadama 111’s output has increased income for the state and the country as a whole.

1.4 Research Questions.

(1) What are the strategies for reducing unemployment in Nigeria through agricultural development?

(2) How can government agencies improve crop production and reduce unemployment in Akwa Ibom State?

(3) How far have governments gone in implementing fish production to minimise unemployment in Akwa Ibom state?

(4) To what extent has Fadama 111’s output increased the state’s income?

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