Nigeria’s economy is among the largest in Africa, with petroleum-related activities making up the lion’s share of its GDP and state revenues. However, most of its population is engaged in primarily subsistence agriculture. G.B. Ayoola addresses the agricultural sector in his compendium Essays on Agricultural Economy: Nonexperimental Writings on Agricultural Policy and Development Administration in Nigeria.
This book comprises the author’s published papers from 1988 to 2018, with each section covering a decade. They cover crop production (primarily cash crops), incentives to encourage Nigerians into the agricultural sector, potential policies and their expected consequences, and the economic impact of current policies. The last section also contains papers on human rights and food availability, chronicling not only changes in Nigeria but also the author’s shift in emphasis from local efforts to national policy and eventually towards advocating for food as a citizen’s right.
The writing style is academic, and the essays tend to be analytical. Most either critique a set of economic policies, or suggest policies to stimulate agricultural activity. Later essays advocate the need to feed all citizens from a moral perspective. Essays that advocate policy reform do so on theoretical grounds.
The sections are chronologically arranged, but thematic classifications would have been more beneficial to researchers. Additionally, an introductory paragraph providing (at least political and economic) context for each paper would enhance their utility, as would appendices: a table connecting policies to economic outcomes, and basic economic data (worker/and productivity, agriculture as a percent of GDP, etc). A timeline of major political events would help readers contextualize the essays, and a concluding essay outlining Nigeria’s possible trajectories would be useful to show the relationship between politics and economics and other nuances relevant to Nigeria.
While some of the work here may have limited relevance in contemporary Nigerian sociopolitical environment, scholars may find inspiration for novel ideas from Nigeria’s past economic policies or from some of the suggested policies outlined in this book.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.