1.1 BACKGROUND OF INFORMATION
Agriculture is still most important sector of the country’s economy. It’s role in economic development can be traced back to, at-least to the mid-eighteenth century, and which was central to the early development of the analytical economics by Adam Smith, David Richardo, and Thomas Malthius, typically some 40 to 60 percent of the national income is produced in agriculture and from 50 to 80 percent of the labour force is engaged in agricultural production.
However, agriculture has four major roles to play in economic development. These are, to increase the supply of food for domestic consumption, to release labour for industrial output, to increase the supply of domestic savings and to earn foreign exchange. The final role, that is the earn foreign exchange implies that the country is open to international trade.
Not withstanding the roles of agriculture in the country’s economy, agriculture is encountering a lot of problems, which lead to decline and poor performance in agricultural sector. These problems include lack of fund: inadequacies in the supply and use of farm inputs, unfavourable macro-economic policy; land constraints; poor post-harvest technology; environmental hazards; disease and pest infestation; labour constraints; low rate of adoption of appropriate technology; transportation; low income earning etc. infact agriculture in Nigeria is caught in a low level of equilibrium trap.
In the past, attention given to agriculture by government was not encouraging. Farming was pushed to the background and farmers were not introduced to the modern method of farming which would have gone a long way in helping to boost agriculture. Until 1976, during the first Obasanjo regime, alteration was beginning to be given to agriculture with launching of operation feed the Nation (OFN). The idea behind OFN was that all Nigerians should join hands together to produce food for ourselves and the nation. Ever since them, successive governments have followed with different programmes all aiming at developing agriculture and agricultural projects.
Moreso, government has shown great concern in this wise idea with the establishment of Nigerian Agricultural and co-operative Bank Ltd. (NACB). This bank, which is an apex up to grant agricultural credit to the agricultural and agro-allied sector of the Nigerian economy. This is carried out through the provision of loans to individuals, co-operatives organizations, limited liability companies, state and federal government agencies.
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