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GEOGRAPHY 130
SECTION 0104
JASON NEWTON

NIGERIA
A Plan for Economic Development

DAVID OKORONKWO
FRANK RUSIGNUOLO
KYLE SHACKELFORD
DON SCALES

March 13, 2009


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The Federal Republic of Nigeria is a nation situated in West Africa currently sharing

borders with Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in

the north. The most populous black nation and the giant of Africa, Nigeria is comprised

of over 200 ethnics groups the largest three being Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa (Country

Profile BBC News). Nigeria was colonized by the British from 1885 to 1960 when they

got their independence. Not surprisingly colonization led to exploitation of natural

resources by the Europeans, especially since Nigeria is a nation rich in oil, coal and

agricultural produce such as palm nuts, cocoa, peanuts and so on.

The nation depends a lot on agriculture for revenue, consumption and so on. Currently

agriculture employs about 70 percent of the country’s workforce but at a subsistence

level (Nations Encyclopedia, 2008). Most farmers operate on a small scale and lack the

skill and resources to increase the scale of production, and the farmers and their families

live below the poverty line. Nigeria’s agricultural sector is basically divided into two,

cash crops and food crops. Cash crops are those crops grown with the sole intent of

exportation and obtaining foreign revenue. Nigeria’s major cash crops include peanuts,

cocoa, citrus, cotton, rubber and palm oil (Nations Encyclopedia, 2008). Food crops on

the other hand are grown for local consumption. They are used mainly to feed the

population and in this case bring little revenue for the farmers that planted them. Rice,

millet, cocoyams, sorghum, beans, sweet potatoes, plantains, bananas are some of the

food crops grown including a variety of fruits and vegetables (Nations Encyclopedia,

2008).

Since agriculture provides work for about 70 percent of the working population, it is

automatically a very important part of the Nigerian economy. With a tropical climate all
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most all year round and annual rainfall reaching about 130 inches, crops should be

growing well and the nation’s agricultural sector should be thriving. Unfortunately this is

not the case as agriculture currently represents a mere 32 percent of the country’s GDP

(Worldbank.org, 2009). The obvious question now is “why is there low production even

though weather conditions are favorable”? There are obviously problems that face

agricultural development in this great nation and the sooner these problems are addressed

the quicker the development rate of Nigeria.

One of the major problems facing agriculture in Nigeria is the lack of adequate

equipment or technology. Tractors, combine machines, plow, fertilizers and so on are not

available to the local farmers and of course this will reduce overall output. They are

simply too expensive and these poor farmers simply cannot afford them. Another

problem that plays a key part in low agricultural revenue is education. Once again most

Nigerian farmers are poor and illiterate and as such lack vital information and knowledge

that might help improve crop production (UN Department for Social Affairs, 2007). If

these indigenous farmers were shown or exposed to different ways to grow crops and

knew more effective methods, it would definitely go a long way to help boost the level of

production in the nation. However its one thing to grow the crops and it is another to be

able to transport the harvest to various markets to sell and make money. The poor

conditions of the roads and transportation facilities greatly slow down the process of

transporting crops to markets (for the citizens) and to the ports (export).

These are just but a few of the problems that cripple agricultural production in this

great West African country. Tackling these issues would be a good start to help boost the

economy in terms of agriculture and at the same time decrease the level of poverty
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amongst its numerous citizens. This is where the $1 billion grant issued by the OAU will

help play a part in that dream to help solidify the economy.

If Nigeria were to receive this billion-dollar grant it would be very beneficial to not

only Nigeria, but, possibly the rest of Africa. As the most populous black nation on

earth, Nigeria has often times been referred to as the “giant of Africa” because of its size

and the fact that other smaller African nations look up to it as a “big brother”. Despite

being classified as a regional power, starvation and extreme poverty remain problems in

Nigeria (Weatherby et al, 2007). These problems could be eliminated by rapid,

sustained, economic growth, which could be initiated by this grant. The billion-dollar

grant would go a long way in jump-starting and stabilizing the Nigerian economy.

The money in the billion-dollar grant would be put to use in ways that would assure

sustained growth in Nigeria through agricultural production. We came up a way of

dividing the money from the grant in way that more pressing and important needs are

given top priority. First, we would take about 35% of the money and put it towards

farmer incentives. By this we mean that for farmers who participate in the plan for the

country we would offer benefits, including reduced healthcare, new hospitals and

schools, and improved communities. These benefits would only be available to farmers

who comply with the government-based plan for agricultural growth. Next, we would

put 30% of the money towards technological advancement, through the purchase of new

farming equipment, such as tractors, irrigation, combine machines, etc. The next 25% of

the money would be put towards education. This would classify as not only education of

farmers to produce the maximum amount of crops but also entail improved training of

public school teachers in order to better educate the youth of Nigeria. The final 10% of
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the money would go towards improving transportation facilities through development of

better roads and other infrastructure thus making transportation of crops throughout the

country easier and quicker. Adequate apportioning of the money to various sectors of the

agricultural circle is not enough to ensure steady economic growth. A development plan

has to be made in order to ensure that the grant from the OAU is maximized as efficiently

as possible, and we have come up with a plan that is sure to help keep the nation self

dependent for a long time.

The “Four Squares Plan” is an agricultural development plan that can be utilized to

sustain a basic net flow of goods and money into and out of the country. It is easily set up

and organized; the funding is the only dilemma, but with that one-billion dollar grant at

hand, it will be the least of our worries. As stated earlier, Nigeria is a country that uses

what is known as subsistence farming; this is a self-sufficient farming technique in which

farmers grow only enough food to feed their family and pay taxes (Country Profile BBC

News). The first implementation from the Four Squares Plan is to pin point the farm

lands that are very big no matter how few they may be. The purpose of this because we

know that on these lands, agricultural produce is lush and plentiful. Next, the harvest or

produce derived from these farmlands is to be divided into four sectors that acknowledge

the purposes of; food crops strictly for Nigeria, crops used for trade by barter with other

nations (commodity exchange), export of raw materials, and export of finished goods.

With all of the factors of infrastructure and technological advancement and proficiency,

this plan is almost 100% infallible. The goal of the Four Squares Plan is to promote

growth and unity—economically, socially, politically, and agriculturally—so in order to

ensure growth in the economy and assist in unifying other countries in Africa everyone
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must work together on this.

One example of an economic increase from the Four Squares Plan is an example of

Nigeria’s cocoa production. In 2002, it has been recorded that Nigeria exported a bit

more than 150,000 tons of cocoa (UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs). The

problem with this is that Nigeria had the potential to make well over 300,000 tons of

cocoa—more than two times as much as they actually managed to gather—which shows

that something must be going wrong (UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs).

To answer that question, something was, and still is, going wrong. Nigeria has a huge

crisis with being able to produce as much as they are capable of producing as a result of

lack in technology, lack in agricultural infrastructure, and lack in workers capable of

farming that have the proper knowledge of sustaining a farm properly (Nations

Encyclopedia, 2008). The Four Squares Plan should help to patch up these holes in this

agricultural-economic instability by upping the production of the farms by at least hitting

the potential production mark, and hopefully, hitting a much higher number than the

predicted one. Efficiency is key toward achieving maximum profit, which in turn will

greatly increase the economy of this nation.

The overall goal of the Four Squares Plan is development. Development through self-

sufficiency, development through international trade and development through mass

production of goods are some of the ways by which our plan will help sustain stable

economic growth. The Four Squares plan may not necessary start out as a national project

but will act as a spark to help revive the Nigerian economy. Like a recently developing

Brazil, more Nigerians will live above the extreme poverty line and hopefully by 2020

the nation of Nigeria will be singled out as the fastest developing nation in Africa.
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References

UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs. “International Support for Africa’s

Development”. Office of the Special Adviser on United Nations. Date Accessed 10th

March 2009. <www.un.com/africa/osaa>.

BBC World News. “Country Profile: Kenya”. BBC World Wide News. Date Accessed

10th March 2009. <http//:news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa>

Encyclopedia of the Nations. “Nigeria Agriculture”. The Nations Encyclopedia. Date

Accessed 9th March 2009. <http//: www.nationsencyclopedia.com/economies/Nigeria

Weatherby J.N, Arceneaux C., Evans E.B Jnr., Long D., Reed, I., Olga D. The Other

World: Issues and Politics of the Developing World 7th Edition. Pearson Education

Inc: New York 2007.

The World Bank. “Nigeria Seeks to Modernize Subsistence Farming”. The World Bank.

Date Accessed 10th March 2009. <www.worldbank.org/nigeria>