Analytical overview of agricultural conditions in Nigeria
Nigeria is a tropical country with a population of over 135 million. Over 70% of the population are engaged in agriculture as their primary source of income and despite low investment by the previous governments, it still contributes over 39% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The large land mass, good soil and climatic conditions favour the growth of various crops during the year and the rearing of many animals. Food shortage is a major challenge to the present government apart from political disputes, disturbances in oil producing states in the Niger delta and poor funding of many other sectors particularly agriculture and education. Agricultural (including extension) policies over the years have been elaborate and attractive in most cases but they are only so on papers in the shelves in the government offices. Prospects for improvement and sustainable agricultural productivity exist because of the country’s endowment in natural resources especially abundant uncultivated arable lands, favourable climate and soils that are improvable as well as large human labour. These resources if well integrated can help boost agricultural production in the country. The present status demands adequate and prompt attention by all three tiers of government in the country viz: Local, State and Federal governments.
Key words: Agriculture, natural resources, food shortage, government policies