TRENDS IN SOCIAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGES IN AGRICULTURE AMONG THE YORUBAS IN NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Agriculture occupies an important and central position in the economies of African countries. Indeed, it is the basis of livelihood and development for all mankind especially in developing countries where the majority of the population still depends on it as a main source of income (Amalu, 1998). More than 70% of the Nigerian population is dependent on agriculture for food supply and other livelihoods, and the sector contributes up to 40% of the country’s GDP (Chike and Okpara, 2012). Studies of agricultural change and development have revealed that agriculture was practiced according to the traditions and customs of the various communities (Agber, 2006). The traditions and customs of the communities manifested in their way of living and organization of their operations socially, economically, and even politically. Social organizations, institutions and the use of traditional technologies played very key roles in the course of the development of the economies (agriculture) of rural communities prior to the advent of western science and technology. However in the course of contacts with neighbours, colonialism and other social interrelations, agricultural skills and technologies emerged and small holder farm communities were persuaded to abandon their traditional agricultural practices for modern practices and technologies. The communities were said to have passed through a phase in development that could lead to social and technological change. Social change is the modifications that occur within social institutions, social attitudes, beliefs, values and patterns of relationship and behaviours, pervading all aspects of societal life (Igbo, 2003). It may assume different forms like modifications in human attitudes and behaviour patterns attributable to acquisition of education; with alteration in social conditions attributable to changes in the policies of a social organization through introduction of reforms in the major laws and functional system of a society (Igbo and Anugwom, 2002). Technological change on the other hand is a continuous process of change within technical materials and physical practices in a culture that reveals ways of applying scientific and other organized knowledge to practical task (Ekong, 1988). Its roles include the development of tools that permit the specialization of labour on a gradation of level; which can be demonstrated in the mechanization of agriculture, development of new forms of energy and the mass productions of goods (Macionis and Plummer, 2005).

Statement of the problem

Prior to external contacts and intervention programmes/projects the agricultural performance of the pre colonial yoruba people, found mostly in the States of Osun, Ekiti, oyo indicated that the activities that led to production were part of the duties that formed complex network of rights and obligations which were the kinship, family and sometimes religious and political structures (Bohannan and Bohannan, 1968). The pre colonial yoruba practiced shifting agricultural system that led to specific type of migration that allowed the yoruba to leave an entire farmland and settlement site for a new site with virgin land. Shifting cultivation is synonymous with land rotation, a discontinuous and extensive form of farming whereby cleared and cultivated fields on which crops had been rotated are again vacated to new field and left fallow over a long period for them to recoup their fertility before they are again returned to in future for cultivation and another crop rotation cycle. Tools used for cultivation were the short wooden hoe, the matchet and digging sticks.

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Updated: 20th February 2018 — 12:16 pm

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