AGRICULTURAL LAND USE AND POPULATION GROWTH IN NIGERIA. THE NEED FOR SYNERGY FOR A SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION
The study examined the relationship between agricultural land use and population growth rates from 1961 to 2018 in Nigeria. Secondary data were obtained from Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Bank. Descriptive statistics, trend equation and correlation analyses were used. Findings revealed that agricultural and arable land utilization grew at the rate of 0.62% and 0.72%, respectively per annum; while the total population growth rate stood at 2.57%. Also, urban and rural population grew at a rate of 4.75% and 1.67% respectively. In addition, the agricultural and arable land utilization rates had significant positive correlations with the total population, urban and rural population. Besides, the findings revealed that, agricultural land (to total land ratio) has continued to increase and currently averaged at 68.78% indicating massive land expansion put under agricultural used. Findings revealed that, most arable crop outputs increase majorly from land expansion rather than land productivity, a situation that cannot assure sustainable agricultural land use food security in a near future. Hence, the country needs agricultural land sparing policies and technologies to slow the current agricultural land expansion drive. Besides, the country’s agricultural land policies should focus on achieving land productivity and sustainable land-sharing strategies among major land users in the country. Again, the rural population growth rate is lower than the urban growth rate, implying that, the rural population is deteriorating with its probable negative effect on farm labour. This needs to be addressed urgently if the sustainable agricultural system is to be achieved in the near future in Nigeria.
Agricultural land, population growth rate, synergy, sustainability, Nigeria
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