1.1           Background to the Study

No doubt agriculture is the backbone of numerous economies. Everywhere throughout the world, the improvement of an enduring economy is connected the development of agriculture. Agriculture is viewed as an impetus for the general development of any country. It is in this way a basic segment that drives the economic development and industrialization of the developing country, and furthermore holds the pro for reducing unemployment. Therefore, its development is fundamentally significant for guaranteeing food and nutritional security, income and employment opportunities, and for enhancing industrialization and generally speaking economic development of the nation.

The innovative steps recorded by the world's leading economies had their underlying foundations in agriculture. Notwithstanding the way that the division has progressively contracted in its contribution to the Gross Domestic item (GDP) of numerous countries, it despite everything gives the lumps of the GDP of numerous countries particularly the developing ones. Development economists have constantly doled out the agriculture sector a central place in the development process, anyway the comprehension of that role has developed over time. Early development economists stressed industrialization, however they relied on agriculture output to provide food and raw materials, along with the manpower that would gradually be absorbed by industry. A much later reasoning moved agriculture more to the bleeding edge of the development procedure; the desires for technical change in agriculture and ''green revolution'' proposed that agriculture could be the dynamo for growth, (Wilber and Jameson, 1992).

The industrial revolution of the Nineteenth century which shot the agrarian economies of the most nations of Europe got the driving force in Agriculture (Ojenagbo, 2011). For sure, the significance of agriculture in any country's economy cannot be over emphasized. For example in United States of America, agriculture contributes about 1.1% of the nation's Gross Domestic Product. It is 13 % of the in China, 2.6% in Australia, 9% in South Africa, 2.5% in Isreal, 12% in Australia, 9 % in Argentina, 13.5% in Egypt and in Nigeria it contributes 26.8% of the nation's Gross Domestic Product. Also, agriculture gives significant source of employment in most developing nations, representing 25% of the work power in Brazil, 32% in Egypt, 3.7% in Israel, 70% in Nigeria. The above insights means that the more developed a nation is, the lower the contributions of agriculture to Gross Domestic Product. 

Practically, agriculture has performed an amazing miracle in nations like Mexico, India and China where the Green Revolution is one of the incredible examples of overcoming adversity of present day times. It is the significant contributor to the export –led growth pattern of a nation like Taiwan which had the option to accomplish eminent increments in per capita GNP. Once more, as per Wilber and Jameson (1992), Chile's ongoing quick development has been to a great extent credited to agricultural exports. In his book titled '' The End of Poverty'' Jeffrey Sachs depicts how the Rockefeller Foundation, dreading the bleak probability of enormous hunger because of rapidly rising global population, started creating and advancing high return assortments of staple foods, first as a pilot venture in Mexico, and afterward imitated it in Asia.  

Because of the replication of this Green Revolution in Asia, India went from eleven metric tonnes of wheat generation in 1960 to twenty four million tons in 1970, thirty six million tons in 1980, and fifty five millions in every 1990. This likewise did something amazing in the Philippines and Peru. So also, in China, agriculture drove the route to the development of this Asian giant as a significant power on the global economy. This is particularly surprising when you think about that China, with a populace of over 1.3 billion individuals, can produce enough food for her citizen, but then has all that anyone could need extra to make her a significant exporter of agricultural produce to the world. It opens up the economy as it gives the important raw materials to the industries. In all these, numerous employment opportunities were made.

In this manner, the significance of the agriculture sector in creating employment and stimulating by and large economic development in a developing nation, for example, Nigeria cannot be undermined. Most open policies in Nigeria, particularly since independence in 1960, were custom fitted towards promoting food security, provision of the agricultural raw materials required by the manufacturing sector to provide adequate employment opportunities and salary to alleviate poverty as well as earn substantial foreign exchange.

In an agrarian economy like Nigeria, the land as a unit for agricultural production gives the required support whereupon a feasible development would bloom. Agricultural production till date remains the backbone of the Nigerian economy. With a population that is largely agrarian, agriculture has customarily been the main sources of livelihood for our people. It gives the methods for vocation to more than 70% of the populace and a significant source of raw materials for the agro-allied industries and powerful source of the much needed foreign exchange (World Bank, 1998, Okumadewa, 1997). The agricultural production segment after independence, became dominance sector of the Nigerian economy, such that the development of the area was depended on the sector alone. Agriculture represented around 66% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Knowledge of Nigeria agricultural production landscape as observed by (Okuneye, 1995), has demonstrated that the small scale farmers that dominate the production scene, produce around 85 % of total production. These small scale farmers were portrayed by solid reliance on agricultural labour market, next to zero types of investment funds or storage facilities, unfavourable and cultural practices adopted and high cost of labour. The socio economic attributes of the small scale farmers, conflicting and unfocused government policies just as insufficient infrastructural base (road organizing/awful transportation framework), all joined to gag the agricultural sector, bringing about low production and thus significant high in prices of foods and indirectly affecting the level of unemployment in the country.

1.2           Statement of the Problem

The agricultural segment after independence overwhelmed the Nigerian economy, with the end goal that the development of the area was depended on the part alone. Agriculture represented around 66% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Notwithstanding, throughout the years, the division has seen fast decrease in its role and contributions to national growth and development (Ogbalubi and Wokocha, 2013). Efforts towards agricultural sustenance have been abandoned in quest for the dark gold. This circumstance began with the ''Oil boom'' which prompted the fast decline of the Agricultural sector. Therefore, Nigeria turned into a major consumer and importer of the agricultural products as against its position as a major exporter. This prompted a decrease of the economically dynamic populace in agriculture in Nigeria just as an expansion in the level of unemployment.

In the late 1970s, Nigeria started its own Green Revolution in the midst of fanfare, before long, the program collapsed and the nation slipped by back to its unenviable status of a major importer of grains and processed foods. For a nation which once earned the greater part of its foreign exchange from agriculture, which showed Malaysia how to deliver palm, it is a dismal incongruity, that, the Nigeria Green Revolution failed due to, among others, a misapplication of assets, insincerity, absolute neglect and a general high level of nationalism. Development economists have credited the present economic situation in the nation to the horrible showing of the agricultural sector (Ogbalubi and Wokocha, 2013). The Knowledge of Nigeria agricultural production sector as observed by (Okuneye, 1995), has indicated that the small scale farmers that dominate the production scene, produce around 85 % of all out production.

In view of its climatic and agro-environmental conditions, Nigeria has capacity to create a wide range of crops. While the Northern part can ensure the production of cereal crops, for example, sorghum, maize, millet, and different yields like cotton, cowpea, groundnut; the Middle belt and the Southern parts of the nation have capacity to deliver roots/tubers, for example, cassava, yam, cocoyam and different produces like plantain as well as maize. The production of these crops can possibly create employment for the unemployed people both in their in their cultivation, processing and marketing. Be that as it may, as far as anyone is concerned, very little research attention has been given to employment elasticity with respect to agricultural development in Nigeria. Despite the fact that from a quick look at look at the Nigerian data on employment level and agricultural development, apparently the ongoing patterns and trends have been inadequate to have any obvious effect on employment generation, yet this has not been adequately explored in the research literature (Bernard and Adenuga, 2017). This study will on this foundation fill all the loopholes by focusing on the role of agriculture in boosting employment in Nigeria.

1.3           Objectives of the Study

This study has both general and specific objectives. The general objective is to study the role of agriculture in boosting employment in Nigeria. However, the specific objectives are:

i)               To find out how agriculture has contributed to the reduction of poverty in Nigeria

ii)             To determine the effects of agriculture in the economic growth of Nigeria

iii)           To examine the contributions of agriculture to the reduction of unemployment in Nigeria

1.4       Research Questions

The following questions were generated during the course of this study

i)               How has agriculture contributed to the reduction of poverty in Nigeria?

ii)             What are the effects of agriculture in the economic growth of Nigeria?

iii)           In what ways has agriculture contributed to the reduction of unemployment in Nigeria?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses will be tested for this study:

i)               There is a significant relationship between agriculture and poverty reduction in Nigeria

ii)             There is no significant correlation between agriculture and economic growth of Nigeria

iii)           There is no significant contribution of agriculture to the reduction of unemployment in Nigeria

1.6       Significance of the Study

            This study will be of great benefit for the government, policymakers, stakeholders and business developers because it will provide an insight to them on the importance of agriculture to the nation economy. It will make them to put more efforts in their pursuit of reviving the dying agricultural sector in the country. They will discover that involving more in agriculture will solve the problem of unemployment in the nation.

            It will as well serve as the basis upon which other researches in this area will be founded.

1.7       The Scope of the Study

            Based on the topic which says focusing on the role of agriculture in boosting employment in Nigeria, therefore the study will be conducted among government officials and selected unemployed people in the country. The study Covers a period from 1985-2018.

1.8       Definition of Terms

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

Agriculture: The practice of agriculture is also known as "farming", while scientists, inventors and others devoted to improving farming methods and implements are also said to be engaged in agriculture. Subsistence farming, who farms a small area with limited resource inputs, and produces only enough food to meet the needs of his/her family. At the other end is commercial intensive agriculture, including industrial agriculture. Such farming involves large fields and/or numbers of animals, large resource inputs (pesticides, fertilizers, etc.), and a high level of mechanization.

Economic Development: the process whereby simple, low-income national economies are transformed into modern industrial economies. Although the term is sometimes used as a synonym for economic growth generally it is employed to describe a change in a country’s economy involving qualitative as well as quantitative improvements. The theory of economic development how primitive and poor economies can evolve into sophisticated and relatively prosperous ones is of critical importance to underdeveloped countries, and it is usually in this context that the issues of economic development are discussed.

Poverty:  is a state or condition in which a person or community lacks the financial resources and essentials for a minimum standard of living. Poverty means that the income level from employment is so low that basic human needs cannot be met.

Unemployment: is a term referring to individuals who are employable and seeking a job but are unable to find a job. Furthermore, it is those people in the workforce or pool of people who are available for work that do not have an appropriate job.