Environmental degradation has become important global issues since the 1970s, when the world countries and international community became aware of the negative consequences of over-exploitation of the human environment. Environmental degradation in most rural areas in Nigeria has increased over the years and both human activities and natural disasters have contributed to this problem (Titiola 1998; Girigiri 2000).
Prominent environmental degradation found in most rural communities include - deforestation, loss of biodiversity, loss of soil fertility, leaching of the soil, land degradation, land and water pollution, desertification, flood, drought, and erosions. The oil companies have been blamed as the perpetrators of environmental degradation in this region due to overexploitation of the crude oil deposits and gas flaring. Be it as it may, complete evaluation of environmental degradation should consider the part other factors such as poverty and inefficient resource use in agriculture have played in limiting achievement of effective environmental protection and management in poverty prone communities.
The environment affects our health in a variety of ways. The interaction between human health and the environment has been extensively studied and environmental risks have been proven to significantly impact human health, either directly by exposing people to harmful agents, or indirectly, by disrupting life-sustaining ecosystems (Remoundou and Koundouri, 2009).
Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of natural resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife. It is any change or disturbance to the environment perceived to be deleterious or undesirable. Environmental degradation is one of the Ten Threats officially cautioned by the High Level Threat Panel of the United Nations. The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reductiondefines environmental degradation as “The reduction of the capacity of the environment to meet social and ecological objectives, and needs”.
The primary cause of environmental degradation is human disturbance. The degree of the environmental impact varies with the cause, the habitat, and the plants and animals that inhabit it. Humans and their activities are a major source of environmental degradation. Worldwide the greatest effects on the health of individuals and populations result from environmental degradation and social injustice. The two operate in consort.
(Martin Donohoe, 2003). Causes include overpopulation, air and water pollution, deforestation, global warming, unsustainable agricultural and fishing practices, overconsumption (affluenza) misdistribution of wealth, the rise of the corporation, the Third World debt crisis, and militarization and wars.
Mining is also a destructive development activity where ecology suffers at the altar of economy. Scientific mining operations accompanied by ecological restoration and regeneration of mined wastelands and judicious use of geological resources, with search for eco-friendly substitutes and alternatives must provide sensational revelation to the impact of mining on human ecosystem (Singh and Chauhan, 2010).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Environmental degradation is the gradual depletion of the environment that is capable of damaging a whole lot of things including animals and farmland and farm produce. The problem of environmental degradation on agricultural productivity could be that the knowledge or idea on how to go about the control of this natural disaster that tends to destroy agricultural produce. Finally, several researches have been carried out on the environmental degradation but not even a single research has been carried out on the effect of environmental degradation on agricultural productivity in Nigeria.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The main aim of the study is to determine the effect of environmental degradation on agricultural productivity in Nigeria. Other specific objectives of the study include:
1. to determine the extent to which environmental degradation affects agricultural productivity in Nigeria.
2. to determine the factors affecting environmental degradation.
3. to determine the economic importance of environmental degradation on agricultural produce.
4. to proffer possible solutions to the problems.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the extent to which environmental degradation affects agricultural productivity in Nigeria?
2. What are the factors affecting environmental degradation?
3. What is the economic importance of environmental degradation on agricultural produce?
4. What are the possible solutions to the problems?
1.5 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: Environmental degradation has no significant effect on agricultural productivity in Nigeria.
H1: Environmental degradation has a significant effect on agricultural productivity in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The study on the effect of environmental degradation on agricultural production will be of immense benefit to the entire farmers in Nigeria in the sense that it will enable private individuals and the government to take preventive measures to the havoc environmental degradation might bring to the farm produce. Finally, the study will contribute to the body of existing literature and knowledge to this field of studies and basis for further research.
1.7 SCOPE OF STUDY
The study on the effect of environmental degradation on agricultural productivity is limited to subsistence and commercial faming in Nigeria.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Effecta change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause.
Environmental DegradationThis is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems; habitat destruction; the extinction of wildlife; and pollution.
Agricultural Productivity is measured as the ratio of agricultural outputs to agricultural inputs.