1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
World agriculture, in fact comprises of two distinct types of farming (a) the highly efficient agriculture of the developed countries; where substantial productive capacity and high output per workers permit a very small number of farmers to feed entire nations; and (b) the inefficient and low productivity agriculture of developing countries where in many instances the agricultural sector can barely sustain the farm population let alone, the burgeoning urban population, even at a minimum level of subsistence (Todaro,et al., 2006)
Agriculture is the backbone of Africa’s economy. About 70% of Africans and roughly 80% of the continent’s poor live in the rural areas and depends mainly on agriculture for their livelihood. The sector accounts for about 20% of the total merchandise exports (CAAD, 2003). Agriculture is the main source of income for 90% of the African population. About 70% of the African population, Nigeria inclusive, living on less than 1$ (One dollar) a day are located in rural areas (World bank, 1995) establishing poverty as a rural phenomenon in the region. In his study Inoni, 2010 revealed that livestock income from small scale farmers exert a positive andstatistically significant effect on improved nutrition, household food security and consequently, ruralpoverty alleviation. This will help not only to reduce hunger but necessary foraccelerating development and poverty reduction.
The contribution of agriculture to economic development lies in providing more food to the rapidly expanding population; increasing the demand for industrial products and thus necessitating the expansion of the secondary and tertiary sector; providing additional foreign exchange earnings for the import of capital goods for development through increased agricultural exports, increasing rural incomes to be mobilized the state; providing productive employment and improving the welfare of the rural people (Jhingan, 2007). Ozor and Nwankwo (2008), reiterated that self-sustained rural community development is vital to the economic and social progress of any developing nation like Nigeria, and that unless the ways and means of massively accelerating development in the rural areas where over 80% of Nigeria’s population reside, our national goal of self-sufficiency and control over resources may continue to elude us.
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