Nigeria’s Experience with Programs Aimed at Expanding Small-Farm Agricultural Production
In Nigeria, as in other countries of tropical Africa, over 95% of the food is raised by small-holders, about 80% of whom farm not more than about 2 hectares in any given year. It is estimated that about 20 million of an estimated population of 80 million have insufficient food to meet their nutritional needs (1). Currently, the average Nigerian nonfarmer spends over 70% of his income on food, and food import costs now amount to over $1300 million annually. Since the colonial era, Nigeria has passed from a period when farming was left to small land-holders, through periods of interest solely in cash crops, with limited emphasis on food crop production on small farms, and increasing reliance on large-scale farms. Since the 1960s, Nigeria has had three development plans whose objectives in each case included increasing agricultural productivity and improving rural welfare. Yet the growth rate of agricultural production has remained below that of population growth. This chapter is devoted to consideration of Nigeria’s experience in attempts to increase agricultural production on small farms, the consequent nutritional status of its people, and recommendations for providing effective solutions to the problems.
KeywordsDevelopment Plan Agricultural Sector Agricultural Development Cash Crop Small Farmer
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