Agriculture provides most of the materials we utilize in our day to day endeavors; such as food, clothes, furniture, bags, shoes, rubber/plastics, cosmetics, beverages and so on. Our lives are one way or the other connected to agriculture. This therefore shows that the enormous significance of agriculture cannot be overemphasized.
Agriculture can be defined as the production of food and the rearing of animals to satisfy human needs. Agriculture is the basic means of human survival, not technology or the internet regardless of their significance (if not for the internet you won’t be reading this!). The internet and as such technology has over the past decades contributed tremendously to transforming the world with disruptive innovations, but has not in its rights displaced the strong gigantic role agriculture plays in our daily lives.
Many people view agriculture as backbending, cutlass throwing whiles singing, and labour intensive activity. It is therefore important to indicate that agriculture has gone pass only farm based activities to retailing, processing, logistics, biotechnology/biofuels and agroindustrial. The snow ball effect of agriculture is very powerful and therefore must be accorded the needed attention both by governing bodies and individuals. Agriculture has served as the precursor to industrialization of many of the developed countries such as United States of America, China, Germany and so on.
Let me therefore elucidate some of the merits agriculture serves our world and especially agriculture based countries.
Agriculture contributes to massive economic growth to the economies of many countries. Agriculture contributes nearly half of gross domestic products in developing countries. It remains the economic sector of comparative advantage by generating revenues from exports, attracting foreign investments from private entities, reducing imports and employing the highest number of workforce in developing countries. In Ghana, agriculture employs over 40% of the workforce.
Agriculture contributes to hunger and poverty reduction. The World Bank estimates agriculture to be 2-4 times more powerful in improving living standards and economic growth than any of the economic sectors. Majority of the world poor live in rural areas and therefore improved agriculture performance and innovation can directly reduce poverty, food insecurity and thereby increasing income levels just by their indulgence in Agriculture. Agriculture moreover has the potential also to reduce death from malnutrition. Malnutrition is the single largest contributor to disease in the world. In developing countries almost five million children under the age of five sadly die of malnutrition related causes every year (FAOstat).
Agriculture also contributes immensely to agro based industries, that is, industries that rely on agricultural produce mainly as raw materials for production. Industries such as the brewery, beverage, textile, and the biotechnology/biofuel industries. With increased research and productivity, agriculture is poised to cause huge industrial transformation in developing countries.
Furthermore, agriculture helps to protect and sustain the environment by sequestering carbon, managing water sheds, and thereby preserving biodiversity (WDR, 2008).
Judging from the above merits; such as basically providing food (crops and meat) for all, reduction in poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition related death, improving agrobased industries, sustaining the environment and the many others that has not been highlighted; shows that agriculture is the basic means of human survival no matter your location on this earth. Agriculture, therefore, must be treated with exceeding reverence by Governing bodies, Stakeholders and individuals.