Environmental degradation and agricultural constraint in the Niger Delta

  • N Tom-Ekine
  • SL larinde
Keywords: Environmental degradation, Agricultural activities, Constraint, Niger delta

Abstract

Fishing and food production are the primary traditional occupations of the people of the Niger Delta area which is naturally endowed with fertile soil, fresh and salt waterways and abundant aquatic life. The discovery and subsequent exploration of huge oil and gas deposit in this region have produced undesirable impacts on the environment with consequent impacts on means of livelihood of the people. This study therefore, examines the fundamental causes of the collapse of agricultural activities in some selected cities of the Niger delta with a view to provide policy options for their sustainability. Data for the exercise were obtained from a stratified random sampling of 180 respondents including youths and opinion leaders through structured questionnaire. The results showed that environmental degradation and institutional failures are the major constraint to Agricultural development. The theoretical framework and empirical result shows that environmental constraint curve is a reality that has imposed some serious limitations on the production potential of the water biomass the essential resource for open -access fisheries in the Niger delta. All the respondents complained bitterly about oil spillage from exploration companies which reduce their operating capacity on a daily basis. They also affirmed that they could not expand their operations due to environmental degradation. Increase unemployment due to collapse of traditional economic activities and lack of environmental adaptive programme such as investment on fish farms as led to youth restiveness in these areas with agitations for resource control and equitable revenue-sharing formula. All the factors above have negatively impacted the operating capacity of the artisanal fishermen which on average is now very low compared to what it used to be. To obtain optimal production therefore there must be elimination of both environmental degradation and institutional failure. This means that the oil companies must change the technical conditions of their production and federal government must deliberately eliminate state corruption in the various government environmental agencies.
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Articles

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eISSN: 0794-1005