1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Agriculture is defined as the cultivation of land for the purpose of producing food for man, feed for animal and fiber or raw material for our industries. It is includes the processing and marketing of crops”. In order words, it embraces all activities involved in the primary and controlled production of plant and animals, such as fishing, forestry, farming, livestock, poultry and small scale industries connected with processing of agricultural products.
Agriculture is one of Nigeria’s largest industry and it does only provide the food and cash crops which are consumed locally and exported to earn foreign exchange, but also employs more than 75% of the entire population, thereby generating revenue to individuals and government.
This goes a long way to increase the ratio of our Gross National Product (GNP).
It is important to note that the present economic predicament of Nigeria could be credited to the drastic fall in the contributions of the agricultural sector. The contribution of agricultural sector to the national economy before independence and the years period after, cannot be emphasized. During this period of per-independence and shortly after words, agricultural products dominated in Nigeria export trade, but today, these products (GNP). Agriculture contribution in the early years of independence (1963 – 1964) was 61.5% throughout the 60s. In the 1970s, it declined miserably by 2.3%. The decline may be attributed to the domination of the nations exports by oil since 1970 and the oil sector accounted for 57:6% of total export income in 1970 and this share rose steadily, attaining an overwhelming proportion of 98% in 1981.
This oil lead to absolute neglect in the both GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and export earnings which has been the major factor dictating the need to reactivate out agricultural products. The need for the re-activation and in effort to revamp this sector has been the reason years to it. It rose from 6% in 1970s to 22% in 1984. This increase acts as incentive and motivation to farmers, but these farmers while engaging in these agricultural ventures are exposed to a lot of problems like disease and pest attacks, fire destructions, industries pollution, machinery breakdown and other problems.
To these problems, the farmers need some aids in solving or minimizing them.
Loan, through the Central Bank of Nigeria seems to be one of the solutions to these problems. To deal more effectively with these risks that the farmers are exposed and to encourage the growth of Agriculture Contribution towards our economy; agriculture insurance was introduced and launched in Nigeria on 15thDecember 1987, by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The scheme at it’s launched in Nigeria in the year has a budgetary allocation of N4.5m, N6.5m was used to set initial expenses and N35m, the initial contribution to the reserve fund. The main farming activities being covered under this scheme are crops (maize and rice) livestock (poultry and cattle). Tangible fixed assets like farm buildings and farmers, employees and dependants.
Following the formal launching, the Nigeria Agriculture insurance Company was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria (Central Bank of Nigeria i.e their agent) to enhance and oversee the operation of the scheme and to underwrite the loans given to farmers by the Central Bank.
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