Roles of Agriculture in Rural Community Life


Roles of Agriculture in Rural Community Life

The roles played by agriculture in rural areas and the national economy are synonymous. In national life for instance, agriculture provides food for the populace, raw materials for agro-industries, income for the farmers and the nation. Agriculture also engages a large percentage of the people and serves as foreign exchange earner, in addition to the provision of materials for housing.

Below are the roles of agriculture in rural community life:

1.  Provision of Food

2.  Provision of Income

3.  Sustainable Market

4.  Occupation

5.  Celebration of Festivals

6.  Healthy Competition 

We shall now discuss the individual roles they play in rural areas.

1. Provision of Food: Efforts of agriculture is geared towards food production. Common food crops produced by rural dwellers include yam, grains, cassava, fruits and vegetables. These crops are produced in most parts of Nigeria except that more grains are produced in the savannah while most root crops are produced in the rainforest region while vegetables are grown in various parts. The rural dwellers produce food to feed their families and the excess earns them income.

2.  Provision of Income: Since the rural dwellers are largely farmers, with only a small percentage being engaged in other enterprises, a lion share of their income is therefore from farming. The people, apart from growing crops also raise livestock and poultry from where they also generate income.

3. Sustainable Market: Have you ever gone to a rural market to transact business? If yes what did you observe. If you were very observant, you would have found that, over eighty percent (80%) of the goods in demands and supplies in the market are agricultural products. Mainly, these products are yam, plantain, banana, cassava, vegetables, fruits, fowls, goats and bush meat. Can you just imagine what may happen in such markets, if all the farmers are on “strike”. That is, they refuse to bring their products? The market would nearly be empty.

It is therefore obvious that, local markets are sustained by agricultural products. Such markets therefore, often invite the urbanites who come to rural areas to transact business.

4. Occupation: Most times, we have stated that farming is the predominant occupation in rural communities. If not for agriculture what would have been the job of the people? If they live by the river side, then may be fishing. Fishing itself is a branch of agriculture. Olajide (1980) stated that, rural areas are mainly agrarian communities where about seventy percent of Nigerian population live and engage in agriculture as their main livelihood. Those who are not even farmers are equally engaged indirectly in agriculture, if for instance they engage in processing of agricultural products or marketing.

5.  Celebration of Festivals: Agriculture plays important roles in the social life of the rural community, especially in the observance of certain festivals. Agriculture often provides materials for some celebrations. Such festivals include, New Yam festivals, which often coincide with the arrival of the seasonal new yams. Some other festivals also and marriages are usually scheduled for when “food” would be in more abundant supply.

6. Healthy Competition:  Agriculture provides some fora for competitive activities. These activities include, farm product contest, in which the best farmer is usually selected using certain criteria when the farmers assemble with their best farm products and field days which take the form of trade fair, where people come to showcase their farm products and farm implement. This competition sometimes, serves as motivation for improved farm practices, since farmers interact and in the process gain one thing or the other from one another.

7. Social Grouping: Grouping is part of social life of rural community. Agriculture encourages groupings which can often be used for community development projects. For instance, people come together, sometimes based on age-grade, to form cooperative labour for assisting one another on the farm known in the South West as “Egbe Aro” or “Egbe owe” (Cooperative labour).

We have learnt that agriculture plays important roles in the lives of rural communities.

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