Agriculture and importance of Agriculture to the Nigerian economy

Definition of Agriculture

Agriculture may be defined as the cultivation, growing and harvesting of crops and the rearing of animals purposely for food production and use of man. This use we are talking about may be in the form of shelter, food, and clothing or even raw materials for industry. In other words, Agriculture is an art involving the production of plants and animals of the use of man. It is also the disposal of crops and animals including their by-products through marketing.


  1. Define agriculture
  2. Mention two products of agriculture

Components of Agriculture

(i) Crop production

Components production involves cultivation, planting and growing of food and cash crops. When we talk of crop production, it can on small or large scale basis, for consumption and for commercial purposes. Crop production is divided into two (1) cash crops (2) food crops

Cash crops

These types of crops are produced mainly as raw materials for industries local and for export. Examples of cash crops includes cocoa, rubber, groundnut, palm kernels, cotton etc. Initially most of these crops were for export, but nowadays they are used as raw materials by local industries.

Food crops

These food crops are produced mainly for consumption and they include yam, cassava; cocoyam, maize, rice, vegetables, potatoes etc.

(ii) Livestock farming

This type of farming involves rearing of animals like goats, sheep, poultry etc. Livestock is produced largely to satisfy domestic consumption. Fulani are mostly cattle rears in Nigeria – they are situated in the northern states. Livestock is a source of food for many people.

(iii) Forestry

Forestry resources involve planting and management of resources from the forest such as trees for the use of man. Examples of forestry products include timbers, herbs and bush animals.

Timbers are used for manufacturing papers and for furniture. Examples of these timbers are Mahogany, Teak, Iroko etc.

(iv) Fishing

This type of farming involves breeding and catching of fishes from the rivers mainly for hu7man consumption. Fishes constitute main sources of protein. Nigerian imports fish because they are yet to be sufficient in production of fish.


  1. List the components of Agriculture
  2. Explain Live Stock farming
  3. Describe the type of crop production you know

Systems of Agriculture

Systems of Agriculture include:

  • Peasant or subsistence farming
  • Mechanization or mechanized farming
  • Plantation farming
  • Cooperative farming
  • Commercial farming

A. Peasant/Subsistence Farming

This type of farming referred to as the type of agriculture which is small scale farming involving the use of simple farm implements. It involves small farm holdings. Production is for both domestic consumption and for export. It is also for the consumption of the farmer and his household.

B. Mechanization or Mechanized Farming

This type of farming is also known as commercial farming. It involves in production of food, animals and cash crops in large quantities for commercial purposes. e.g. state farming. It also involves the use of machinery and other forms of capital such as irrigation, improved seedlings and fertilizers.

C. Plantation Farming

It is known as capital intensive system of farming. Capital in the form of machines, tools, improved seedlings and artificial plant nutrient is used.

A feature of plantation agriculture is that it is more common in the forest regions and it is mostly associated with tree crops.

D. Cooperative Farming

These type of farming are usually carried out on large scale. It is when a number of people come together and pool their resources together in order to derive the economies of large scale production. They can obtain loan from the banks receive aids from government, organize research activities and have access to expensive farm equipment.

E. Commercial Farming

Commercial farming is the large scale farming involving the use of machinery and other forms of capital such as irrigation method. The system requires a large acre of land and modern outlay and modern equipment are used. The aim is to sell in large quantity and maximize profit.


  1. List four systems of Agriculture
  2. Explain what you understand by cooperative farming

Importance of Agriculture to the Nigerian economy

The roles of Agriculture to the Nigerian economy includes the following:

  1. Provision of Raw materials for industry: Agriculture provides raw materials for the use of the industries in West Africa. Some of these industries include textile industries which make use of cotton; tyre use of rubber, soap manufacturing industries which make use of palm oil and groundnut oil etc.
  2. Provision of employment:Agriculture provides larger percentage of employment for people in West Africa. Many people depend on it for their livelihood. Large number of people engages in various agricultural activities like crop farming, fishing, forestry and livestock farming.
  3. A source of food:Agriculture involved in the provision of food for the populace. It supplies food for those in the agricultural, industrial and other sectors of the economy. These food materials include: yam, rice, plantains, beans, beef, fish etc.
  4. Source of foreign exchange:Agriculture generates a lot of foreign exchange from export of agricultural products like cotton, rubber etc. to overseas countries.
  5. Capital formation:Revenue is derived from agriculture and it may be a major source of saving.

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