Impact Of Urbanization On Food Production And Agricultural Development In Nigeria

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Urbanization is increasing in both the developed and developing countries. In 1950, for instance 30 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas, by 2002, that figure had risen to 47 percent of the global population (UN population Division, 2002). Over three quarter of the population of industrialized countries presently live in urban areas, while rural to urban migration in developing countries is increasing at a rapid pace. This rapid-and often uncontrolled urbanization is unprecedented by historical standards (van Ginkel, 2008). Yet, urbanization rates in developing regions differ widely; while in Latin America and the Caribbean urbanization rates stand at 78 percent, only 34 percent of the African population lives in urban areas. By 2020, it is predicted that nearly half (46.2 percent) of the population will be urban (UN-Habitat, 2001). Urbanization affects all spheres of human life both in the rural and urban setting. Urbanization – increased residential population and expansion of non-farm business and industry – increases the pressure on farmers and makes it more costly and difficult to farm in the traditional way. The issue is complicated by the fact that population and business industry growth often takes place in prime agricultural areas (Asamoah, 2010). Rapid urban population growth means an increasing demand for urban land, particularly for housing, but also for various other urban uses. Urbanization has led to land use conversion from agricultural land to urban land use, such as for infrastructure, industrial, residential or commercial uses. Such land use conversion often reduces the most fertile land, and therefore the impact on agricultural production and food security is often larger than the absolute amount of land involved (Francis et al., 2013). Recent research shows that such urban land use conversion is often driven by economic factors, with positive feedback loops between urban land use expansion and economic growth in the city, as well as in the region (Bai, 2012).

Regmi (2014) noted that recent research reports indicate that virtually all of the future world’s population growth will occur in urban areas; partially reflective of rural-urban migration trends driven by relative livelihood opportunities. He stated that approximately 35% of current urban population growth globally is attributed to rural-urban migration and in sub-Saharan Africa, urban population is expected to triple in the next 40 years. Growing urbanization across the globe, therefore, has important “push” and “pull” implications for agricultural research for development.

Pramanik et al,. (2010) noted that urbanization and population growth has serious effect on agriculture. Iheke and Nto (2010) noted that urbanization is an important driving force in migration and commuting because urban areas offer many economic opportunities to rural people through better jobs, new skills and cultural changes. They noted that the relative proximity of urban populations to farming land may be a root cause behind the factors that contribute to loss of agricultural land and agricultural intensification. Population pressure essentially has led to suburbanization, the spreading of out of urban areas and lower density leaving for a substantial fraction of the population. This has produced a land use and quality of life problem, using up large amount of fringe areas with loss agricultural and ecological benefits.

The supply of land for urban development is determined by the customary land owners and the demand for the urban land comes from the private sector, public sector and the civil society (individuals). Such lands are put into uses that will benefit the urban populations to the neglect of agriculture. A great deal of fragmentation of holding have been going on in most densely populated areas of West Africa and the nations have always attempted to intervene in order to reverse the dominance of small holder agriculture and increase the size of production units. Urbanization leads to the inaccessibility of land, land fragmentation, change in land supply, and rapid increment in land values. This does not create a favourable environment for the development of agriculture.

It is widely recognized that in addition to the direct effects development has on agriculture (the loss of land that had been in agricultural production), development also affects the remaining agriculture indirectly (Berry, 1978). These indirect effects can be placed in four categories (Lopez et al., 1988): regulatory effects, technical efficiency effects, speculative effects and effects of development increase costs and thereby reduce the profitability of staying in production agriculture. Motamed et al., (2010) noted that locations with more favourable natural agriculture endowments tend to get urbanized earlier in history. Improvement in agricultural productivity is hence believed to be an important contributor to the urbanization process. The argument is that higher agricultural productivity provides food and other agricultural products with less manpower and thus allows for a shift of labour out of agriculture and into industry.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The problems that cities in West Africa are facing have resulted largely because urbanization is yet to correspond with the growth or decrease in agricultural productivity and output. This is responsible for the dwindling of the resources required to manage cities that has been reoccurring since last two decades and also increase the productivity in agriculture. Interestingly, there has been continued agglomeration of people into urban centres whose population is on the increase. Is it possible for cities in West Africa to provide their dwellers that are educated and in good health with the employment and income-earning opportunities for them to be able to take care of their well being and welfare through increase in agricultural productivity? Growth in urban population goes with no equivalent growth in land supply. Also land is fixed in supply and does not increase with increasing population growth. Agricultural lands are most affected by rapid urbanization and its functions of demand. Land uses for residential, industry and commercial, civic and culture tend to dominate agricultural lands in the bid for space in the urban place. This is responsible for Farmers being underprivileged to have access to arable land to cultivate thereby reducing agricultural productivity. Attainment of higher productivity presupposes the availability of skilled labour force. Skilled labour force is required to transform the static past into a dynamic present and prosperous future. The inadequacy of skilled farm labour is further compounded by unavailability of labour, particularly when it is required to satisfy seasonal labour demand. This labour shortage has been aggravated by a substantial reduction in the supply of family labour due to the persistent rural-urban drift.

It has been observed that people in West Africa migrate to urban areas so as to attain better life and they fail to return to rural areas when they are convinced that the dream of better life is not true. This is so because of the rate of competition for getting job and other basic needs attached to the urban centre. It has also been projected that West Africa will soon experience swift urban population growth, and it is not certain that the region has the capacity to handle the projected enormous increase. There is also no form of any theoretical consensus that will be able to explain the workings of urban population growth and urbanization in West Africa. Same theories are also contradicted due to the portrayal of the reality (Nordhag, 2012). During the colonial era in Nigeria, at the time when industrialization was introduced in Lagos and this resulted in development, since then the government shifted focus from rural areas which could not welcome industrialization. Due to this even the government started allocating more funds and resources to the urban areas thereby leaving the rural areas to remain undeveloped and static. This is the responsible for the poor welfare of the major percentage of the population of the country who still reside in the rural area with only localized farming and trading. Urban areas development due to industrialization has led to the migration of people from the rural areas to urban areas. Majority of the people that migrate to urban centres without any form of education or skills are responsible for over-population experienced in urban centres in sub-Saharan Africa and also end up as nuisance retarding the development of urban areas. Same over-population in urban areas welcomes poor welfare. It is on this background that this study aims to investigate the impact of urbanization on food production and agricultural development in Nigeria.

1.3 Research Objectives

The study has both general objective and specific objectives. The general objective or main objective of this study is to examine the impact of urbanization on food production and agricultural development in Nigeria. The specific objectives are:

  1. To examine the prevalence of the impact of urbanization on food production and agricultural development in Nigeria
  2. To establish the ways urbanization can be controlled in order to increase food production and agricultural development in Nigeria
  3. To encourage Nigerians and the government to invest more on agriculture to bring about economic development

1.4 Research Questions

The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:

  1. What is the prevalence of the impact of urbanization on food production and agricultural development in Nigeria?
  2. What are the ways urbanization can be controlled in order to increase food production and agricultural development in Nigeria?
  3. What are the ways Nigerians and the government can be encouraged to invest more on agriculture to bring about economic development?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following are tested in the study

  1. Agricultural productivity in West Africa does not depend on urbanization.
  2. There is no positive relationship between urbanization and agricultural productivity
  3. Urbanization in West Africa is not distorted compared to agricultural productivity in West Africa

1.6 Significance of the Study

The government will benefit from the research findings as it will help them, through its environmental planning and Agricultural developments. The government will by more conscious of the problem and need of the people and equal development. It well warn the people of the danger posed today and in future if they abandon Agriculture and chase after other occupations. The information on urbanization trends towards our natural living and integrity of our people will be arrested. The ideas communicated will be useful for students and lectures and other researchers as well as the general public.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study covers two inevitable aspects of developments, that control every environment today, both of physical and natural, which is urbanization and agricultural production, their problems, practices, challenges, cause effect, and management in Nigeria.

1.8 Limitation of the study

The study will be faced with a lot of challenges and one it the problem of finance. There is not going to be enough funds to print questionnaires and to also transport the researcher to meet the desired respondents. Another one is time; the researcher is currently busy with the demand of his academics. A lot of assignments are available for the researcher to do and coupled with his desire to read and learn at the same time. These are the major challenges of this study.

1.9 Definitions of Terms

The following terms were used in the course of this study:


The science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products.


The act or process of growing or causing something to grow or become larger or more advanced


Refers to the population shift from rural to urban residency, the gradual increase in the proportion of people living in urban areas, and the ways in which each society adapts to this change.

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