1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Agriculture is the science, art, or occupation concerned with cultivating land, raising crops, and feeding, breeding, and raising livestock; farming. It is the production of crops, livestock, or poultry. International Labour Organization. (1999) defined agriculture as 'all forms of activities connected with growing, harvesting and primary processing of all types of crops, with the breeding, raising and caring for animals, and with tending gardens and nurseries'. Agricultural Education is the teaching of agriculture, natural resources, and land management. At higher levels, agricultural education is primarily undertaken to prepare students for employment in the agricultural sector. Classes taught in an agricultural education curriculum may include horticulture, land management, turf grass management, agricultural science, small animal care, machine and shop classes, health and nutrition, livestock management, and biology. Phipps, Lloyd; Osborne, Edward; Dyer, James; Ball, Ann (2008).Agricultural education is common at the primary, secondary (including middle and high school), tertiary (including vocational schools and universities), and adult levels. Elementary agriculture is often taught in both public and private schools, and can cover such subjects as how plants and animals grow and how soil is farmed and conserved. Vocational agriculture trains people for jobs in such areas as production, marketing, and conservation. College agriculture involves training of people to teach or conduct research in order to advance the fields of agriculture and food science. General education informs the public about food and agriculture. Disciplines closely tied to agricultural education include agricultural communications, agricultural leadership, and extension education. The study seeks to investigate the socio-economic contribution of agricultural education in the development of the country.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Agricultural education and training, extension and research are all key in building the capacity of farmers, but only if they are responsive to farmers’ needs and the realities they face .Davis, K, Ekboir, J, Mekasha, W, Ochieng, CM, Spielman, DJ & Zerfu, E 2007,. Agricultural education and training can strengthen capabilities and positively impact productivity since educated farmers are better enabled to adopt and apply new technologies. The role of extension services is invaluable in teaching farmers how to improve their productivity and to engage in participatory research, a collaborative process oriented towards social transformation. Socio-economic Intensification involves a greater intensity, variety and range of involvement of farmers in social and economic processes and institutions on the farm, in the community and across regions and nations. Adoption of new practices and technologies by farmers will only happen and persist if an appropriate enabling environment is supported that favours not only agricultural intensification but also its sustainability. African smallholders require equitable access to input and output markets and help with joining remunerative value chains. Without secure rights to land they will not invest in improvements to their farms. Farmer associations, including cooperatives, out grower and contract farmer groups, are essential if smallholders are to exert their bargaining power. Increasing productivity on current land will also require significant investments in agricultural research and extension, in the road infrastructure that links farmers to markets and in the development of better rural services, including access to education and health care.
Socio-Economic Intensification involves supportive enabling environments, and building the social and human capital of smallholder farmers. A supportive enabling environment combines macro-economic policies that favour markets and trade, the provision of inputs, related physical infrastructure (such as roads and irrigation) and social infrastructure (such as education and research) together with institutions, Methods in Ecological and Genetic Intensification can help farmers to produce more with less, but an enabling environment is required to allow innovation for Sustainable Intensification to be adopted. (NZSIF) 2009.
Well-functioning markets facilitate trade and enable the distribution and allocation of resources in a society. They are vital for agricultural development and poverty reduction and are the basis of rapidly developing agribusiness value chains that provide opportunities for smallholder farmers. Insurance, a tool to manage price and production risk, can encourage farmers to adopt production systems that are potentially more resilient, productive and more profitable, but involve greater financial risk. Agricultural finance is the provision of services that are dedicated to supporting both on- and off-farm agricultural related activities, but it must become accessible and affordable to smallholders.
Social capital is the value that can be created through social networking and trust within and between people and organisations, an important element for creating sustainable livelihoods and economic development. In fact, social capital may be the most important resource available to poor communities burdened with low incomes, poor education and few assets. Cooperatives, value chains and institutions create the infrastructure for relationships to be developed, forming the basis for building social capital and contributing to socio-economic intensification through peer to peer learning and better access to flows of products, knowledge and information. The problem confronting the study is to investigate the socio-economic contribution of agricultural education in the development of the country.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The Main Objective of the study is to investigate the socio-economic contribution of agricultural education in the development of the country. The specific objectives include:
- To understand the prevalence of agriculture education in the development of Nigeria.
- To examine the contributions of agriculture education in the development of Nigeria.
- To identify the factors militating against agricultural development in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
i. What is the prevalence of agriculture education in the development of Nigeria?
ii. What are the contributions of agriculture education in the development of Nigeria?
iii. What are the factors militating against agricultural development in Nigeria?
1.5 STATEMENT OF THE HYPOTHESIS
Ho1: There is no significant contribution of agriculture to the development of Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study addresses the socio-economic contribution of agricultural education in the development of the country. It provides relevant data for the effective formulation and implementation of policies which will further stimulate the economy to economic growth and development.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study was confronted with logistics and geographical factors.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Agriculture is all forms of activities connected with growing, harvesting and primary processing of all types of crops, with the breeding, raising and caring for animals, and with tending gardens and nurseries.
Agricultural economics refers to economics as it relates to the "production, distribution and consumption of agricultural goods and services.
AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION DEFINED
Agricultural Education is the teaching of agriculture, natural resources, and land management. At higher levels, agricultural education is primarily undertaken to prepare students for employment in the agricultural sector.