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Evolution, Strategies and Problems of Poverty-Alleviating Agricultural Policies and Programmes in Nigeria

DOI: 10.4236/aasoci.2018.812042, PP. 699-720

Keywords: Agricultural Policy, Nigeria, Poverty, Welfare

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According to the UNDP (2001) report, Nigeria started its independent nationhood in 1960 with poverty level of only 15% of population, but it is today struggling to reduce it from about 70% of its current population of about 190 million. This is in spite of the fact that the country is richly endowed with numerous natural, especially agricultural and mineral resources. Nigeria’s rising extreme poverty numbers are a direct result of years of negligent and ineffective government policies. Over-dependence on oil for years and an inability to generate non-oil revenue has led it to this. The country’s agricultural policy aims at reaching self-sustaining growth in the agricultural sector as well as the structural transformation required for the overall socio-economic development and improvement in the quality of life of Nigerians. The key feature of the policy is the evolution of strategies for ensuring self-sufficiency and the improvement of the technical and economic efficiency in food production. This is to be achieved through the introduction and adoption of improved seeds and seed stock, husbandry and appropriate machinery and equipment, efficient utilization of resources, encouragement of ecological specialization and recognition of the roles and potentials of small-scale farmers as the main drivers of food production in the country. Nigeria’s agricultural policy framework has evolved in a way that reflected, in a historical perspective, the changing character of agricultural development problems and the roles which different segments of the society were expected to play in addressing these problems. The form and direction of agricultural policy were dictated by the philosophical stance of government on the content of agricultural development and the role of government in the development process. Here, we examined Nigeria’s agricultural policy evolution from the colonial to the contemporary period. The very survival of Nigeria is tied to the ability of its economy to meet the material demands of its citizens since welfare constitutes a third objective of modern government. Food is an essential component of welfarism. The Nigerian Government and public policy makers must therefore see food as a component of welfarism and as such develop and sustain sufficient political will to achieve increased food production, a credible food policy and ultimately degrade poverty significantly.


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