IMPORTANCE OR CONTRIBUTION OF AGRICULTURE TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF WEST AFRICA
Provision of food: Agriculture provides food such as maize, rice, yam, meat, milk and egg for human consumption, either in fresh or processed form.
Provision of materials for clothing: Agriculture provides fibre and cotton for textile production. It also provides hides and skin for clothing, shoes, belts, caps and bags.
importance of agriculture to economic development in West Africa
Employment for the working population: Agriculture and other agro-based industries provide employment opportunities for 60-70% of the population.
Source of foreign exchange: Through the export of agricultural produce like cocoa, kola, groundnut, palm produce, cotton a nation is able to earn foreign exchange.
Generation of income: Sale of crops and their products, animals and their products provide income for farmers.
Provision of materials for shelter: Agriculture provides materials essential for building, such as poles, doors, windows, roofs and materials required for furniture, such as chairs, tables and beds.
Development of towns: Development occurs where commercial agriculture exists, as social amenities like electricity, pipe borne water and roads will be provided.
Provision of facilities for recreation and tourism: Agriculture leads to the establishment of game reserves as well as the provision of horses for horse-racing and polo.
Provision of market for industrial goods: Agriculture provides market for industrial products such as farm machinery, chemical, fertilizers, processing and storage facilities.
Provision of raw materials for industries: Agriculture supplies several industries with raw materials for their continuous existence. Industries which depend on agriculture for their raw materials are called agro-based industries.
For examples, the beverages industry depend on cocoa for the production of several food drinks such as Bournvita, Pronto and Ovaltine; Spinning, weaving and other textile industries depend directly on wool and cotton for the production of clothing materials.