Background of the Study
Resource in both human and material is a critical factor of development in all societies. Apart from influencing the course of development in different world countries, the availability of natural resources significantly determines the levels or stages of development within and between countries. Economic resources such as fertile soil, land, coal, sunlight, oil, trees, plants, leaves and roots, clay, gravels, woods, bamboo, capital goods, financial resources, local skill, among many others which are basically non-human resources, have been very influential to the economies of rural communities. In the urban areas, labour and management form the core of the resources that facilitate development. According to Sachs and Warner (1999), in many states or societies, natural resources have contributed to shaping the development of local industries either positively or negatively. In their article on the resources curse, Sachs and Warner (1999) noted that natural resources have the capacity to influence investment, skills transfer, infrastructure development, employment generation, revenue and various forms of social development programs.Rural development is the process of improving the quality of life and economic well-being of people living in rural areas, that is, areas often relatively isolated and sparsely populated. The phenomenon is traditionally centered on the exploitation of land-intensive natural resources such as agriculture and forestry. Many studies have shown that natural resources have played significant role in driving development practices especially in the Su-Saharan Africa. Examples of the roles include enhancement of the provision of goods and services for the economy and export; stimulation or generation of rural purchasing power which ultimately affects the growth and productive capacities in other sectors; and contribution to the generation of savings, investment and manpower in other sectors of the economy. The argument is that improvements in agriculture and related resource utilization have the potential of multiplying benefits not only to individual farmers but to the wider economy through improvement in spending, contribution to tax revenue, greater investment in infrastructure and a stronger foreign exchange position.In Nigeria, the importance of resources to development cannot be overemphasized. Throughout history, bigger and larger national development projects have centered on agrarian-and resource-based model. The Green Revolution, social investments that accompanied budget control, the structural adjustment programme, Integrated Rural Development, poverty reduction and other subsequent development programmes, all based emphasis on economic resources. Yet, it has been argued that the characteristics of the rural areas constitute the main barrier to its development.Developing the rural areas has been important to overall reduction of poverty and improvement in livelihood opportunities. In sub-Saharan Africa, most policies on rural development are conceptualized within the framework of developing specific resources. The Rural areas of Nigeria are inhabited by the bulk of the nation’s population; they serve as the base for the production of food and fiber. They are also the major sources of capital formation for the country, and a principal market for domestic manufactures. In general terms, the rural areas engage in primary activities that form the foundation for any economic development, (Olatunbosun, 1975). However, despite the importance of the rural areas, they are not attractive to live in. Most are without infrastructures that should enhance the quality of life.The rural people have low purchasing power and experience poor standard of living. Attempt at solving rural neglects had been the concern of the Nigerian government over the years. Examples of such attempt were Operation Feed the Nation (OFN); the National Accelerated Food production Programme (NAFPP) and the Directorate for Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI). All these efforts failed to improve rural areas in whatever form, (Olayowola & Adeleye, 2005). The contention of the policy makers is that rural infrastructure, if adequately provided, can enhance the quality of rural life. However, it is assumed that the rural people have benefited very little from most rural development programmes. Since Ini Local Government Area till now remains undeveloped despite the many years of it existence, and government and non-governmental organization’s development programmes in the area, this study investigated the effect or impact of another important factor of development, that is, the rural resources on economic development in the area.