Consequences Of Population Growth On Agricultural Production (A Case Study Of Ondo West Local Government Area Of Ondo State)

Project and Seminar Material for Agricultural Economics and Extension

Consequences Of Population Growth On Agricultural Production (A Case Study Of Ondo West Local Government Area Of Ondo State)


Today, millions of people in the world are without food especially in the developing world which has been of great concern as stipulated in the United Nations millennium development goal 1, sub-targets A, B and C to fight hunger, poverty and starvation across the world and ensure environmental sustainability (UNCSD, Aug, 2011) .This study investigated the consequences of population growth on agricultural production in Ondo West Local Government Area Of Ondo State. This is a survey type of research and the instrument used for this study was a questionnaire for the purpose of this study. The collected data was analyzed by the use of bar graphs arranged in columns, showing the number of agreed and disagreed responses(higher numbers in the agreed responses indicates a significant match whereas higher numbers in the disagreed responses indicates no match) to the research questions. The result of this study shows that there is a significant effect of population growth and food production based on land pattern systems in the locality as a result of pattern of land ownership, communal land ownership, individual land tenure system and land fragmentation; rural-urban migration caused by shortage of land available for farmers for food production, higher paying jobs and better educational opportunities, capital intensive methods of production lack of proper land use decrees etc. To put an end to this menace, it entails a holistic approach not only involving the affected people but also people of great concern around the world. This study has therefore suggested that: Land polices and its implementations should be amended in the country or create new laws that could integrate both traditional (i.e. communal and individual) land ownership and legal right of land ownership in the country. There should be a public enlightenment on the current trend in agricultural production (best agricultural practices/ mechanized farming). Government of the federation should encourage farmers by giving grants and subsidies ( cash and improved seedlings). Ministry of agriculture and natural resources management to device means of educating farmers on the need for food security through mass media, Agricultural extension programs/workshops, internet etc. The government of the federation should encourage research and development activities in the area of plant and animal production for effective yield in order to boast the agricultural industry in Nigeria. And government should in its yearly budget, invest more in agriculture as it is an important aspect of livelihood in order to carter for the food needs of the growing population in the country.

Table of Content

  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of the Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisations of the Study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Test of Hypotheses

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

In recent times, one of the major issues in the world especially in third world countries has been the alarming rate of poverty, lack of proper education and food scarcity. In Nigeria, this has been a huge problem due to increased population with fewer resources. Therefore, the need to provide adequate food for the entire population becomes a huge concern to the entire populace. This grim condition was put forward early in the history of economics by Robert Thomas Malthus(Limits to growth,1766 – 1834) that population growth will always continue to be a problem due to the natural human reproductive urge which increases geometrically (1, 2, 4, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, etc.) in relation to food supply which only increases arithmetically (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, etc.) and thus could have a resultant starvation effect if left unchecked.

In recent times, this theory has been said to be criticized by other economists with many factors which Malthus did not consider when putting forward this theory (Gazu lakhotia, 2011). This has been a subject of keen controversy as he was regarded as a pessimistic economist by others. These criticisms are based on his inability to relate his theories to the history of western countries as population has failed to grow as rapidly as he predicted in these areas and production as well has increased due to technology advancements. As a result of this, living standard of the people has increased tremendously instead of falling as he predicted in his theory (Gazu lakhotia, 2011, revised edition 2012)

Secondly, (Ester Boserup, 1965) accused Malthus of basing his theory on the law of diminishing returns which is applied to agricultural production. But for the fact that he asserted that food production would not match with the high population, this has been falsified due to the increase in advanced technology and high capital investments in developed countries , Thus, Boserup proposes a “dynamic” relationship between arable and fallow land that changes in response to population density (Boserup 1965, page13,15& 20).

In contrast to the Malthusian idea of ‘invention-pull’ population growth, Boserup (1965) rather put forward an ‘invention-push’ agricultural change which makes it possible to substitute technological input like the use of fertilizers in agricultural production, better seeds for production of quality foods and the use of agricultural machineries to increase food production.

Thirdly, the Malthusian theory of population compared population growth with the increase in food production alone and as a result gave no proof of his assertion that population increased exactly in geometric progression. He taught that land was available in fixed quantity and therefore food production cannot increase more than population. He failed to put into proper account the different types of agricultural production and compare them with the increase in the total wealth of a country. This on the other hand does not show that population and food supply changes with these mathematical series. Scientists did not base their support for the populace just on food production from available lands, rather they industrialize themselves by nurturing other natural resources and accumulating man-made capital equipment (e.g. airplanes, factories, cars, tools, railways etc.) which they would use in other forms of production and in exchange for food from other countries through export trades. (Gazu lakhotia, 2011).

Similarly, The Malthusian theory of population may apply to the developing world such as Africa and the Asian countries. For instance, India and China are at present in that unenviable position which Malthus feared. Grinding poverty, disease outbreak, famine, communal wars and discrimination, insufficient food supply and low standard of living.

But for the fact that technology increased has helped in solving these problems especially in the area of food insecurity, these notwithstanding has been falsified by other scientists as Malthus based his theories only on the present life conditions as that time. As the society develops in size and quantity, the demands on resources increases in both intensity and density (Population & Environment 1994, Revise edition A.A Bartlett, 1997).

In these parts of the word, society goes through a rapid development to the extent where there are concerns regarding finiteness, (total usage) of resources. In many areas, population pressure is causing sub-division of fertile lands into smaller plots thereby intensifying land use as well as facilitating rural-urban migration. Similarly, marginal lands in some areas are also brought into production. One of the most socio-economic factors in soil and water conservation is undoubtedly the issue of land tenure. Great strides have been made since 1960s in adjusting land in many of the higher potential areas in Africa. In the drier areas, most of the land is still communally owned (Oyebola, 1970). Over the past years, a purely pastoral economy has a degree of dynamic equilibrium between the people, the livestock and the land etc., the fact that all land was common, it caused no essentials for stewardship. But with rising human and livestock numbers, coupled with a decline in grazing areas due to other forms of land use, the previous dynamic equilibrium has been tremendously destroyed and land degradation has become endemic in many areas. In Nigeria today, Natural and anthropogenic causative factors such as erosion and landslide, pollution from oil spill and other greenhouse gases over land and desert encroachment has led to the destruction and loss of several hectares of arable farmland( UNCSD,1997).

Annually, Anambra, Abia, Ondo, and Imo states encounter a massive loss of arable farmland caused by erosion as a result of heavy precipitation. In lined with this, prolonged drought and the pressure of animals grazing on the land is on its daily increase in the northern deserts while in the Niger delta region, oil spill and severe land degradation daily pollutes and renders hectares of arable farmlands infertile and this contributes immensely to about 80% of loss of biological diversity. (UNU, 1996).

The rise in population has resulted to marginal rainfall areas being vulnerable to drought and more bared lands as a result of the decline in vegetative cover resulting from the intensive anthropogenic activities by humans, higher rates of animal grazing , deforestation for building and fuel needs, thereby exposing the soil to the ravages of wind and water erosion (UNFCCC, 2011).

Similarly, the demand for gathering of firewood has shifted on the increase as a result of high demand for fuel especially in the rural communities. As this is said to be a time consuming occupation, it has really affected the farmers input to crop production and thus has led to reduced agricultural practice (IEA.ORG).

Population growth in developing countries has caused a shift of population from rural to urban. Some communities or even individuals have been forced to move out of a particular area of land due to limited job opportunities being provided for them and leasing or even selling off their available land to fast growing/mechanized farmers thereby leading to the shortage of land available for a growing number of low income farmers. Arable farmland is lost annually because of population increases; rural-urban migration also increases to areas of paid labor by high income farmers. The expansion of these urban areas leads to the conversion of so many hectares of arable farmland for urban projects like the construction of houses , schools , roads , parks for recreational activities as well as new towns when necessary (UNCSD, 1997).

The high rate of population growth in Nigeria has resulted in the unsustainable use of natural resources which is the basic foundation for livelihood without having concern for the future. This has led to tremendous effects on our natural ecosystem. The provisioning, regulatory, cultural and supporting services which are derived from the ecosystem are put at a high risk due to the harsh use of these natural resources (UN.ORG).

Over the years, there have been several symptoms of ecological stress like the deteriorating nature of the grass land areas, very low crop yield, soil erosion which has forced so many migration activities to the cities and low standard of living by the poor. All these effects can produce long-term, possibly permanent damage to the environment which in turn would have a huge negative effect on agricultural production.

Most of these problems are closely related to a simple factor of human population which has exceeded the carrying capacity of the land. In the light of the above problems, I would say that this thesis has been set out to identify and articulate population and production consequences within agriculture with Ondo West Local Government Area Of Ondo State as a reference point.

1.2 Statement of Problem

Food and indeed agriculture is very indispensable to human development. Man`s endeavor has always centered on the quest to provide for himself with the basic needs of life such as food, clothing and shelter. It is evident that the population of Nigeria grows very fast. For instance in the national census in 2006, the population of Ondo State was 3,460,877 whereas as in 2022, it has increased to 5,316,600 which is about 65% increase within 16years (, 2022). For instance in 1963 National census, a total figure of 55.6million was recorded officially though it was said to have been encumbered with charges of inaccuracy and manipulation for regional and local political purposes.

Nonetheless, the official 1963 figure of 55.6 million as total national population is inconsistent with the census of a decade earlier because it implies a virtually impossible annual growth rate of 5.8 percent. In addition to likely inflation of the aggregate figure, significant intraregional anomalies emerge from a close comparison of the 1953 and 1963 figures. For instance, in portions of the southeast, the two sets of data show that some non-urban local government areas had increased at a rate of almost 13 percent per year, while other neighboring areas experienced a drastic growth rate of 0.5 percent per year. Despite the controversy, the results of the 1963 census were eventually accepted. (U.S. Library of Congress).

Inevitably, rise in population leads to higher demand for food production. This is one of the major problems facing Nigeria today for its growing population. In Ondo West Local Government Area Of Ondo State, there is a belief that as there are more hands involved in agriculture , it gives rise to more food production and thus leads to good livelihood for families. This as a result has contributed immensely to the increase in polygamous marriages and more children and thereby has led to an increasing population. In spite of the government`s efforts , farmers are toiling and are still unable to produce enough food for the population due to scarcity of land, mostly through land fragmentation, rural-urban migration , deforestation and so many other environmental vices. However, food production in Ondo West has not yet kept pace with the alarming population increase as a small proportion of the people are engaged in agriculture (Udoala Eastern Ngwa multipurpose and co-operative society, 2012).

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The primary objective of this study is to examine the consequences of population growth on agricultural production using Ondo West Local Government Area Of Ondo State as a case study. Specifically, this study seeks to attain the following objectives:

  1. Examine the extent population growth have affected agricultural practice in Ondo West.
  2. Ascertain the extent land pattern systems have matched with population growth.
  3. Determine the extent rural-urban migration have affected agricultural production.

1.4 Research Questions

The study will be guided by the following questions;

  1. To what extent have population growth affected agricultural practice in Ondo West?
  2. To what extent have land pattern systems matched with population growth?
  3. To what extent has rural-urban migration affected agricultural production?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

  • Ho: Population growth has no negative implication of agricultural production.
  • Ha: Population growth has a negative implication of agricultural production.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study may or may not be able to help the government and all other concerned authorities to review and improve the different ways of land management systems in the state and at the local government level, but will point out some related or closely related issues in food production in relation to population increase. By so doing, helps to device means through further research studies to provide solutions to the problem of land availability to farmers which may perhaps lead to more available farm land and hence boost food production.

In view of the above, the general public could benefit through the availability of more information now and in the future and which will also serve as baseline knowledge for subsequent scholars on a similar or related topic.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study is focused on the consequences of population growth on agricultural production. Geographically, the study will be delimited to Ondo West Local Government Area Of Ondo State.

1.8 Imitations of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study. Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues.

However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.

1.9 Definition of Terms


Agriculture can be defined as the science, art, and industry of managing the growth of plants and animals for human use.

Economic Development:

The sustained advancement in economy, technology, institution and standard of living.


This is the increase in size or value of something.


This is a term referring to the human inhabitants of a specified area such as a city, country, or continent, at a given time.


This is the amount of something produced or manufactured, especially during a fixed period of time.

1.10 Organization of the Study

The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, and selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the consequences of population growth on agricultural production using Ondo West Local Government Area Of Ondo State as a case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.

5.2 Conclusion

As the population of the world increases, food production should also increase to avoid hunger and starvation. This research work has immensely helped in determining the problems that face food production as population increases in raging amount. It has confirmed and also contradicted the research questions used in the cause of this research work. According to this study, it could be seen that the type of agricultural practice, land tenure systems, lack of available agricultural lands, higher paid jobs in the urban areas, capital intensive method of crop production, lack of government land act/decree implementation, grants and subsidies which has led to rural urban migration are the highest factors that affects agricultural production when population increases. For the fact that agricultural production in this area is still under-developed, there is a need to mechanized agricultural production. This can be done through spatial planning and collaborating with all stakeholders in the agricultural sector for an effective decision making.

The use of modern spatial tools like the Geographic information system (GIS) will be of great help in setting out parameters to which agricultural production and the growing population equates by locating the features and attributes for a sustainable food production (Demography). By doing so, many deteriorating factors discussed in this research work will be drastically reduced and hence, food production will be on the increase. Therefore, I personally categorize these main factors as the three (3) down syndrome of food scarcity (Adindu symbol, 2014).

5.4 Implications of Findings

The findings have some clear implications for the agricultural sector in this locality. It would be essential to note the findings from the first, second and third research questions. It goes a long way to showing that population growth has a significant effect on the type of agricultural practices, pattern of land ownership, government`s ability to support farmers in any small way in order to help them produce more food (improved seedlings, mechanized farming, grants etc.) basic awareness especially to women on the implications of producing too many offspring (child education to women).

5.5 Recommendations

Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations are proffered.

  1. Land polices and its implementations should be amended in the country or new laws should be enacted that could integrate both traditional (i.e. communal and individual) land ownership and legal right of land ownership in the country.
  2. There should be a public enlightenment on the current trend in agricultural production (best agricultural practices/ mechanized farming).
  3. Government of the federation should encourage farmers by giving grants and subsidies (cash and improved seedlings).
  4. Ministry of agriculture and natural resources to device ways of educating farmers on the need for food security through mass media, Agricultural extension programs/workshops, internet etc.
  5. It is necessary to find out cheap and simple farm implements that can replace the hoes and cutlasses presently used in farming and should also be supplied to the farmers at a subsidized rate for effective and efficient agricultural production.
  6. The government of the federation should encourage research and development activities in the area of plant and animal production for effective yield in order to boast the agricultural industry in Nigeria.
  7. Government during the yearly budget should invest more in agriculture as it is important aspect of livelihood in order to carter for the food needs of the growing population in the country.


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