Population Pressure And Food Production In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Economics

Population Pressure And Food Production In Nigeria


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 Obingwa local government area in Nigeria. This is a survey type of research and the instrument used for this study was a questionnaire developed by me 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.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

There seems to be a lot of literature on food security especially in the third world countries. Babatunde, Omotesho and Sholotan (2007), Fayeye and Ola (2007), Onola (2009) are among a few of the literature that examined food security in third world countries. Nigeria a major food exporter, now metamorphosed into a major food imparter. In 2014 Nigeria spend the sum of N218 billion on food impartation. What gave birth to this has been a subject of heated debate among scholars. Some attributed it the rapid growth of the country’s population (3.1%) ala Malthusian. Others attributed it to “Dutch disease” and poor policies of government. Adulranhaman (2013) attributed the problem to poor allocation given the brain child of British Amalgamation in 1914, to the sector. Iwuchuku and Igbokwe (2011) stated the problem emanates from the poor agricultural policies and programmes of the government. To Amen (2015), the problem emanates from theuncontrolled population explosion in the country. The list is unending, but for constrain of space we examine but a few scholars. This paper in contributing to the heated debate x-rays the problem from the angle of population growth. However, the uniqueness of this study lies in its ability to decomposed population into different strata (0 to 14 years, 15 years to 64 years and 65 years and above). It also decomposes the agricultural output into three components (crop production, livestock and cash crop production). The justification for the above is that, they constitute the major source of food in the countryPoor funding of the agricultural sector, inadequate research and extension, have been fingered as the obstacles to achieving food sufficiency in Nigeria.Making this observation at an audience participatory programme known as “Radio Links” on Radio Nigeria, monitored recently by our reporter, Professor GarbaSharubutu, Provost of the College of Animal and Husbandry Technology, in Vom, Plateau State, said that Nigeria’s population was growing at 3.2 per cent per annum while food production witnessed only between 1 to 2 per cent. Sharubutu said that a lot of issues including policy, funding, training, research and extension must be properly addressed by the government and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector in order to boost food production in the country.

He said: “The colleges of agriculture are not properly funded to carry out their mandate. To worsen the situation, they cannot be funded by the Tertiary Education Fund (TETFUND) because they are under the federal ministry of agriculture not education. How can they properly carry out training and research?” Also speaking on the programme, Architect Kabiru Ibrahim, a poultry and fish farmer from Katsina State and the President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), faulted the persistent low budgetary allocations to agriculture, and advocatedg for 20% of the national budget to be dedicated to the sector annually to create enabling environment for the farmers to produce more.

Another guest on the programme, Dr. Amos Edga, President of the Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA), lamented the lack of data on animal population in the country, saying the last animal census was done in the 90s. He urged the government to carry out animal population census to ensure proper planning and boost animal.
On how to tackle bird-flu outbreak in Nigeria, he said the government should intensify surveillance and killing of affected birds, adding that farmers should be discouraged from vaccinating their birds against the disease because “that is not a good practice.The problem of population and population growth has worried economists and other social scientists for a very long time. The question has always been what the population of a country is likely to be in the future and the economic and social consequence of a change in population, whether upwards or downwards. Malthus, (1798) argued that the world population is growing geometrically while food production is only increasing arithmetically, and unless the population is checked at a time, the population could doubled their numbers in every quarter of a century (Malthus, 1798; 1803). The consequence of these two principles is that eventually, population will exceed the capacity of agriculture to support the new population and it would rise until a limit to growth is reached. According to Malthus, (1803) population could not continue unchecked and classified two different types of checks: positive check factors increasing mortality such as war, famine and disease which would increase the death rate or preventive check otherwise known as negative checks: postponement of marriage, increased cost of food, factors decreasing fertility such as moral restraint, contraception and abortion. The full title of first Malthus’ work was an essay on the principle of population as it affects the future improvement of the society, with remarks on the speculations of Mr. William Godwin, the Marquis de Condorcet and other writers. Malthus upheld that their schemes to create a perfect society came up against insurmountable demographic and resource constraints. This constraint placed severe limits on human productive behaviour and undermined the view that a completely free or perfect society was possible (Rashid, 1987, Pullen, 1987, 1998, Ashraf and Galor, 2007). In the olden days, hunting and fruit gathering was the principal occupation, and the only mode of acquiring food, the means of subsistence being scattered over a large expanse of territory. Human population was low. The history of dramatic growth in Nigeria population began when hunting and gathering was abandoned for farming, animal husbandry, increase in permanent settlement and eventually formation of cities (Ewugi and Illiyasu, 2012). In Nigeria and more commonly in most developing countries, the demand for food products has outstriped supply creating a huge deficit. Although importation of food products was used partially to fill the growing deficits in the past, and presently, its continuation constitutes avoidable drain on Nigeria’s scarce foreign earnings, especially during this period of economic instability and dwindling oil prices (Oladimeji et al., 2013). Nigerian population has increased from about 60 million in 1963 to 88.5 million in 1991 (National Population Census, 1963 and 1991) with about 48% increase during that period. The population has increase from 88.5 million to a recent estimated figure of over 184 million in 2016 (NPC, 2016). This scenario, 1991-2016) increase in population, shows that population has double in 25 years with about 107% increase which has raised fundamental question: Is the misery or vice envisaged by Malthus manifested in Nigerian economy examine the trend of rice production and consumption in Nigeria vis-à-vis Malthusian population theory and remarks on long run possible effects of continuous importation of rice to the Nigeria economy which the country has comparative advantages.

1.2 Statement of the 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 1963, the population of Obingwa was 87,800 whereas as in 1991, it has increased to 174,600 which is about 98.9% increase within 28years (OBLGA Gazetteer, 2001). 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. It is in view of the above that the researcher intend to investigate the effect of population pressure and food production in Nigeria.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to investigate the effect of population pressure and food production in Nigeria. But to aid the completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objective;

  1. To ascertain the effect of population pressure on food production in Nigeria
  2. To examine the relationship between population growth and agricultural production in Nigeria
  3. To examine the impact of food production in nigeran population growth
  4. To examine the role of population growth in food production in Nigeria

1.4 Research Hypotheses

To aid the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

  1. H0: population pressure does not have any significant effect on food production in Nigeria
    H1: population pressure does have a significant effect on food production in Nigeria
  2. H02: there is no significant relationship between population growth and agricultural production in Nigeria
    H2: there is a significant relationship between population growth and agricultural production in Nigeria

1.5 Significance of the Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the management of the Nigerian population commission and that of federal ministry of agriculture, as the study seek to explore the effect of population pressure and food production in Nigeria. The study will help the ministry of agriculture to take advantage of the teaming young population of the country by providing aids and grant to the youth as this will increases investment in agricultural production and food production in the long and short run. The study will also be useful to researchers, academia’s, teachers, lecturers, students and the general public.

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers population pressure and food production in Nigeria. In the cause of the study, there were some factors which limited the scope of the study;

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Finance:

The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.

1.7 Operational Definition of Terms


A population is all the organisms of the same group or species, which live in a particular geographical area, and have the capability of interbreeding.


Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals.

Population Growth

population growth is the increase in the number of individuals in a population. Global human population growth amounts to around 83 million annually, or 1.1% per year

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to investigate population pressure and food production in Nigeria.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given.

In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of population pressure and food production.

5.2 Summary

The main aim of this study is to examine the relationship between population pressure and food production in Nigeria. The empirical result indicates that population dynamics affect food production negatively, giving credence to Malthus theory. There is poverty, food crisis and malnutrition in Nigeria, all the social ills that constitute what Malthus refers to as misery or vices that will claim lives of many as a result of the uncheck population growth are present in Nigeria. Given these findings the paper recommends population control through the use of contraceptives and legislation on the maximum of two wards per couple in Nigeria, and also aggressive agricultural revolution.

5.3 Conclusion

The trend analysis for the Nigerian population, food production and importation shows that the population increased exponentially while resources increased in arithmetic projection which is in line the with postulate of Malthus basic theory of population. Although expected local food production (LFP) fluctuated both upward and downward from 1960 to 1980, estimated demand (ESD) rose sporadically and linearly since 1980s to 2015. Nigeria’s importation of rice like other food products is also growing astronomically. The study also revealed that an increase in production of LRP to meet estimated demand could bring about reduction in total rice imported. Hence, improve economic growth, ceteris paribus. Therefore, if Nigerian agricultural resources are managed sustainably and transparently and if capital budgetary allocations to the agricultural sector which was put at an average of 3% followed stipulated 25% FAO standard or at least 10% Maputo agreement by Africa leaders (African Malabo Declaration, 2014), the crop sub sector particularly, rice will support inclusive economic and human development of the Nigerian government at all levels

5.4 Recommendations

Haven completed the study, the researcher postulate the following recommendation;

Government should address and check population expulsion, through; birth control, educating the populace, as well as restricting the number of immigrants from neighboring countries. The government should consider pumping more funds to agricultural sector, in its statutory allocation, by so doing the sector will have enough to put into use in achieving its primary objectives. Agricultural credit guarantee scheme should be used judiciously, real farmers are to be the beneficiaries and the disbursement should be made at an appropriate time. The government should establish price control board, to check the excessive hike in the prices of food stuffs in the markets. Government should provide social welfare services similar to right to food scheme of India, or to establish special package to those people that cannot cater for their children similar to the one in United State.

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