Agriculture plays a crucial role and it is the backbone of the third world economies; providing food, raw materials and employment to a very large proportion of the population.
The importance of agriculture cannot be overemphasized as it remains the main source of livelihood in the developing countries of the world employing as much as over 70 percent of the working population. Agriculture is the major source of raw materials for industries such as cotton, rubber, sugar, cassava, tobacco, cocoa, oil palm, etc and also a major foreign exchange earner to nations.
According to World Bank (2011), the agricultural sector is the backbone of the economies of most developing countries, employing about 60 percent of the work force and contributing an average of 30 percent gross domestic product (GDP) in sub - Saharan Africa. Rural farmers whose income are less than $2/day account for the majority in this sector and form the backbone of agricultural production. These small holder farmers make good contribution toward food sufficiency to the home country and at the same time help in foreign exchange earnings for their economy.
The rural population in the developing countries represents a strong virile productive force in the economy particularly the agricultural sector but unfortunately remained the most neglected and ignored group. The home governments of these developing countries at most pays lip service to their plight. The private sector and donor agencies also seem to toe the same path yet among these group lies the solution to extreme hunger, poverty, unemployment and economic growth.
In Nigeria, a group of like minded volunteers formed an association called FARMERS EMPOWERMENT & DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA to cater for the interest of these neglected groups sourcing for loans, grants, inputs and markets for their produce. The association is well structured such that any manufacturing or processing company that need to source agricultural inputs or raw materials for their factories can comfortably transact a safe business deal that is mutually beneficial.
It will be very encouraging to see big firms, international donor agencies that seeks to add value to the down trodden of the earth to reach out to this organization. Also farmers in other developing countries should be encouraged to develop similar model of organization in their respective countries.
I am one of the state chairman piloting this organization in Nigeria.