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PROJECT TOPIC: IMPACT OF MARKET-DETERMINED EXCHANGE RATES ON RICE PRODUCTION AND IMPORT IN NIGERIA

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Agriculture was the backbone of the Nigerian economy at Independence in 1960 and immediately after. It provided employment to over 75% of the population; more than 70% of total food consumed in the country; raw materials for its agro-based industry, as well as export earnings to finance imports (Reynolds, 1966; Alamu, 1981). Ilugbuhi (1968) noted that “peasant agricultural production for export provided the stimulus to Nigeria’s overall economic growth” then. However, about 21 years after Independence, Abdullahi (1981) observed that Nigeria’s agriculture was neither capable of producing enough food for the country’s fast growing population; nor able to “cope with the growing demands for agricultural raw materials to keep the country’s agro-based industries running”. In other words, Nigeria became incapable of meeting its food and agro-based raw materials requirement. Several reasons were put forward to explain the progressive decline in the performance of the Nigerian agricultural sector. One key argument, the oil boom factor, attribute the decline in the performance of the Nigerian agricultural sector to government neglect of the Nigerian agricultural sector that followed the exponential increased foreign exchange earnings realized from the export of crude oil between 1972 and 1980(Asiabaka&Owens, 2002; Walkenhorst, 2007; Sekumade, 2009). The international oil market plunged in 1982, drastically reducing Nigeria’s ability to finance imports, including food, leading to persistent current account deficits and the accumulation of unpaid trade bills (Osuntogun et al., 1997). Trade deficits, budget deficits, inflation, balance of payments problems, and other symptoms of economic decline became seriously manifest (Osaghae, 1995). Schultz (1976) argued that much of the difference in the economic performance of the agricultural sector is a consequence of governments’ intervention in agriculture. In fact, it is documented that the structural adjustment framework for economic policy reform in Sub-Saharan Africa was based upon the central argument that state and state interventionism were key to the economic distortions experienced by African economies since their respective independence from colonialism (Colclough& Manor, 1991; Lensink, 1996; Olukoshi, 2004).


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