1.1 Background to the study
Agriculture is an important sector of Nigeria economy for its production of food, shelter, clothing, riverine, raw materials and employment. The human race needs food for survival and these needs can only be met by productive agriculture. The term agriculture is derived from the Latin words “Ager” meaning field and “culture” which means cultivation (ref).
It is well known that Agriculture cannot be neglected throughout the world due to its essential roles of reversing the falling social and economic status of the whole world generally. The term agriculture refers to the art and science of cultivating land, rearing of animals and maintenance of forest resources for human use.
Agricultural science is important to the nation because it had added to Nigeria economy before the discovery and exploitation of crude oil. It provides essential commodities like fibber and shelter which are essential for comfortable living.
Agro-based industries depend largely on agricultural products for raw materials. Agriculture creates employment opportunities for Nigerians. To this effect, the government of Nigeria attaches so much importance to agriculture and it is encouraged in all secondary schools to improve the teaching of agricultural science. The aims of teaching agricultural science in secondary schools is to arouse the interest of students, creates awareness on agriculture and so trains the young people in the acquisition of appropriate skills, abilities and competencies both mental and physical in order to equip the individual to live and contribute meaningful to the development of our society (ref).
Moreover, agricultural science is one of the core subjects to be taught in secondary schools and this is reflected in the new National Policy of Education (2004) (ref) which prescribed the teaching of agriculture science in both Junior and Senior Secondary Schools in order to choose their life career in agriculture.
According to the new National Policy of Education, the preparatory aspect of pre-vocational training offered to students at the Junior and Senior Secondary levels is for the purpose of:
a) Introduction into the world of technology and appreciation of technology towards interest arousal and choice of professionalism later in life.
b) Acquiring technical skills.
c) Exposing students to career awareness by exploring usable options in the world of work; and
d) Enabling youths to have an intelligent understanding of the increasing complexity of technology.
By looking at the factors affecting the development of agriculture in Nigeria, one could see that the most important problem facing Nigeria is the level of awareness and usefulness given to agricultural development.