The Economic Significance of Agriculture for Sustainable Development in Nigeria

Document Type: Original Research


1 UNE Business School, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia

2 Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia


This study empirically investigates the agriculture-economic growth nexus in Nigeria. An economic growth model for Nigeria is specified and estimated through the use of Ordinary Least Squares as well as Johansen Cointegration and Vector Error Correction Model on annual data spanning from 1980 to 2012. The empirical result suggests that Agriculture is positively associated with economic growth in Nigeria. Results from this study also indicates that increasing the population of agriculture labour force will impact positively on economic growth. However, Infrastructure and human capital are found to be the key determinants of Nigeria‘s economic growth in the period under review. This study suggests that Nigeria policymakers should develop strategies that are geared towards infrastructure and human capital development in order to maximize the potential of the agricultural sector.


AGRA (2013). Africa Agriculture Status Report.
AWOKUSE, T.O. (2009): Does Agriculture Really Matter for Economic Growth in Developing Countries? Selected Paper prepared for presentation at the American Agricultural Economics Association Annual Meeting, Milwaukee, WI, July 28, 2009.
Dash, R.K., and Sahoo, P. (2010). “Economic Growth in India: Role of Physical and Human Infrastructure”, Journal of Economic Policy Reforms, 13(4), 409-420.
De Long, J.B. and summers, L.H. (1991). “Equipment Investment and Economic Growth”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 106, 445-502.
Dickey, D. A. and W. A. Fuller (1979). Distribution of the Estimator for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root. J. Amer. Statist. Assoc. 74, 427-431
DIM, C. and U. EZENEKWE (2013): Does Agriculture Matter for Economic Development? Empirical Evidence from Nigeria. In: Journal of Finance and Economics 1 (1): 61-77.
ENGLE, R. F., GRANGER, C. W. J., (1987). Cointegration and Error Correction Representation, Estimation and Testing. Econometrica, 55: 251–257.
Gardner, B. (2003). Causes of Rural Economic Development. Paper presented at the 25th International Conference of Agricultural Economists, Durban, August 16-22. Retrieved from
Iganinga, B.O and Unemhili, D. O.(2011) The Impact of Federal Government Agricultural Expenditure on Agricultural Output in Nigeria, Journal of Economics, Vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 81 – 88.
JOHNSTON, B. and J. MELLOR (1961): The role of agriculture in economic Development: American Economic Review 51 (4): 566-593.
Katircioglu, S. T. (2006), “Causality between agriculture and economic growth in a small nation under political isolation: A case from North Cyprus”, International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 33 (4), pp. 331-343.
Nwafor, M., E.C. Ehor, O.J. Chukwu and J.I. Amuka (2011): Cost-Effective Agriculture Growth Options for Poverty Reduction in Nigeria: Evidence and Policy Implications. AIAE Research Paper 6. African Institute for Applied Economics, Enugu.
Ogbalubi, L.L. & Wokocha, C.C. (2013), Agricultural Development and Employment Generation: The Nigerian Experience, IOSR Journal of Agriculture and Veterinary Science, Vol. 2, No.2, pp60-69
Ogen .O. (2007), The Agricultural Sector and Nigeria’s Development: Comparative Perspective from the Brazilian Agro-Industrial Sector Economy, 1960-1995) Nebula March 2007@Noble World Archives.
OPEC (2015). OPEC Basket Prices.
Phillips, P. C. B., and Perron, P. (1988) “Testing for a unit root in time series regression” Biometrika, Vol.75, No.2, pp. 335–346
Rostow W.W (1960), The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto; Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Sanjuan-Lopez, A.I. and Dawson, P.J. (2010). Agricultural exports and economic growth in developing countries: A panel co-integration approach. Journal of Agricultural Economics, 61(3), 565-583
Suleiman, G.P. and Aminu, U. (2010). Analysis of the Contribution of the three Key sectors (Agriculture, Petroleum and Manufacturing sectors) of the Nigerian economy. Journal; of Management Studies Faculty of Management Sciences Vol.3. Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto.
Tiffin, R., & Irz, X. (2006). Is Agriculture the Engine of Growth? Agricultural Economics, 33(1), 79-89.
Ukeje, R.O., (2003) Macroeconomics: An Introduction. Port Harcourt: Davidson Publication.
Umaru, A. and Zubairu A. A. (2012). An Empirical Analysis of the Contribution of Agriculture and Petroleum Sector to the Growth and Development of the Nigerian Economy from 1960-201. International Journal of Social Science and Education. 2(4): 12.
Yao, S. (2000). How important is agriculture in China's economic growth? Oxford Development Studies 28 (1): 33-49.
World Bank (2014), Africa Development Indicators.
World Bank (2014), World Development Indicators.