The Evolution of Agriculture in Nigeria
Agriculture is the foundation of Nigeria’s economy, accounting for over 35 percent of the population’s livelihood in the country, which was not so before now.
In the past, the prevalent agricultural system practised in Nigeria was subsistence farming, which is a system of farming for self-sufficiency. People only farmed to feed themselves and their families, and the major crops produced were rice, plantain, cassava, melon, and other food crops.
In addition, farming also involved a lot of manual labour. The population was not as large as it is now, so people owned large expanse of lands; married many wives, and had many children just for the purpose of garnering more hands and energy for farm work.
However, with the advent of technology which brought about strides in development, agriculture has evolved from a manual practice and self-sufficient level to an occupation for a greater percentage of the population.
Although, importation of cash crops was introduced by the Colonial masters who suffered our farmers to toil and produce food for export for their use, the post-independence era gave us physical control over the agricultural processes of planting, growing, harvesting, and packaging our farm produce.
Today, agriculture in Nigeria is a big deal. It has moved from subsistence to a commercial scale as a new breed of well-informed farmers have taken over.
Manual labour has been replaced with the use of machines to ease human efforts. For example, the sprayer machine sprays fertilizer and pesticides, field cultivator gets rids of weeds weeks after planting, seeders and planters help in planting seeds into the soil after plowing by the plough, and the baler is used to cut hay and straws. The list of farm machinery used in today’s agricultural world is endless.
Agricultural evolution in Nigeria is more of a blessing because it has helped in food production on a large scale to cater for our growing production, and also enough for export to increase our GDP.
I also believe that a few years from now, agriculture would have evolved, making it more profitable and seamless than we have today.