Agriculture is widely practiced in all the West African Countries and statistics evidence shows that over 60% of population of the countries of West Africa are engaged in Agriculture.
Importance of Agriculture
1. Raw Materials : Many of the raw materials are obtained from agriculture examples timber for plywood industries and cotton wool for textile industries.
2. Food : it is the source of food for men and animals. Without food, no nation can survive and it is from agriculture that food is naturally obtained.
3. Revenue : Agricultural export crops such as cocoa, palm produce, groundnuts are particularly important in this respect.
4. Employment : Agriculture provides employment for over 60% of the population in West African countries.
5. Foreign exchange : Exportation of Agricultural crops serves as a major source of obtaining foreign exchange for West African countries.
6. Rural Income : Most of the people who live in rural areas earned their income mainly from agriculture either through farming or cattle rearing or fishing.
7. Market : Agriculture also provides market for some industrial goods such as tractors and cutlass
8. Loan opportunities : Through agriculture, it has been possible for commercial banks and various government to grant small scale loans to the rural dwellers.
Types of Agriculture
Below are the types of agriculture
• Subsistence Farming : When a man produces goods for his own use, his wife and children, he is said to be engaged in subsistence farming. Many peasant farmers in West Africa produces mainly for themselves and their families. Some of the food crops produced extensively are maize, plantain, yams, groundnut, rice e.t.c
• Cash Crops Farming : Cash crops such as cocoa, cotton, coffee are widely produced in West Africa solely for sales. We have very rich cocoa farmers in Nigeria and Ghana today.
• Plantation Farming : Thus is the European type of plantation which also produces cash crops. Examples are the banana plantation in Cameron, the Nigerian Oil Palm Research (NIFOR ) near Benin City Nigeria, etc.
It means a system of farming where a single crop is cultivated over a large piece of land.