THE IMPACT OF URBANIZATION ON RURAL AND AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
This study examined the effect of urbanization on rural and agricultural production in Abia State. Specifically, it categorized the land tenancy status of the farmers, analyzed the effect of urbanization on agricultural productivity and identified the constraints to agricultural productivity. Multistage random sampling technique was used to select the respondents. Primary data collected using structured questionnaire and interview schedules were analyzed using frequency counts, means, and percentages and regression analysis. Results showed that majority (81.7%) of the respondents cultivated both on owned and rented farms. Only 10% and 8.3% of the respondents cultivating solely on owned and rented farm lands respectively. The regression result of the effect of urbanization and other factors on agricultural productivity showed that the significant variables influencing productivity were farm size, urbanization, fertilizer/ agrochemical, land tenure system, duration of land use and cost of farm land. The major constraints to increased productivity as noted by the respondents based on their degree of effect were lack of capital for agricultural investment, lack of improved farm inputs, high cost of land, land fragmentation, high population and high cost of planting materials. The study therefore recommend that specific areas should be earmarked for agricultural use only and protected from encroachment and other competing uses through appropriate legislations and policies.
1.1 Background of the Study
The term urbanization has been described as an inter-sectorial phenomenon involving all aspects of the human society and economy (World Bank, 2000). The World Development Report 1999/2000 noted that urbanization is the outcome of the social, economic and political developments that lead to urban concentration and growth of large cities, changes in land use and transformation from rural to metropolitan pattern of organization and government. Urbanization affects all spheres of human life both in the rural and urban setting.
Urbanization refers to the increase in the proportion of the population that lives in towns and cities. This usually results from the net movement of people from rural to urban areas or natural increase (the excess of births over deaths). However, the definition of what qualifies as urban centre differs from one country to another depending on the criteria used. Urban population has been growing more rapidly than rural population worldwide, particularly in developing countries (Lambin et al, 2003). Urbanization is one of the several anthropogenic activities that impact on land use/land cover. The urban area where human beings live in is the symbol of human civilization, and it is an important place for humans to do their social activities. Urbanization is a significant characteristic of humans‟ modern lives. For a city, the level of urbanization can be used to estimate the level of development of economy, social, science and technology. Meanwhile, it is an important data to monitor the level of management and organization of a city. Many things in reality have dual characters, so does urbanization. On the one hand, urbanization means the advanced industry, convenient transportation, and prosperous metropolitan area and so on. On the other hand, in the process of urbanization, the undesirable effects could not be avoided, such as the damage and pollution of natural environment. Because one of the most significant characteristics of urbanization is that the proportion of urban population to total population is increasing. One of the effects of expansion of population is the expansion of urban area, so the surrounding natural environment is destroyed, such as the deforestation. Urban land expansion refers to the spreading out of a city and its suburbs towards non built-up areas at the periphery of an urban area; involving the conversion of other land uses into built-up land over time (Liu, Zhan & Deng, 2005). Urban land expansion is the most easily identifiable characteristic of urbanization process as it affects land cover/use at both regional and global scales. In some instances, land use land cover change may result in environmental, social and economic impacts of greater damage than benefit to the area. Land cover can be altered by forces other than anthropogenic. Natural events such as weather, flooding, fire, climate fluctuations, and ecosystem dynamics may also initiate modifications upon land cover. There are also incidental impacts on land cover from other human activities such as forest and lakes damaged by acid rain from fossil fuel combustion and crops near cities damaged by tropospheric ozone resulting from automobile exhaust (Meyer, 1995).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The supply of land for urban development is determined by the customary land owners and the demand for the urban land comes from the private sector, public sector and the civil society (individuals). Such lands are put into uses that will benefit the urban populations to the neglect of agriculture. A great deal of fragmentation of holding have been going on in most densely populated areas of West Africa and the nations have always attempted to intervene in order to reverse the dominance of small holder agriculture and increase the size of production units. Urbanization leads to the inaccessibility of land, land fragmentation, change in land supply, and rapid increment in land values. This does not create a favourable environment for the development of agriculture. Motamed et al., (2010) noted that locations with more favorable natural agriculture endowments tend to get urbanized earlier in history. Improvement in agricultural productivity is hence believed to be an important contributor to the urbanization process. The argument is that higher agricultural productivity provides food and other agricultural products with less manpower and thus allows for a shift of labor out of agriculture and into industry. This study therefore examined the effect of urbanization on rural and agricultural development in Abia state, Nigeria. Specifically, it identified the land use practices (land tenure systems) prevalent in the study area; analyzed the effect of urbanization on agricultural productivity and identified the constraints to agricultural productivity.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to determine the impact of urbanization on rural and agricultural development. Specific objectives include:
i. To analyse the impact of urbanization on rural development.
ii. To determine the impact of urbanization on agricultural development.
iii. To determine the relationship between urbanization and agricultural development.
1.4 Research Questions
i. What is the impact of urbanization on rural development?
ii. What is the impact of urbanization on agricultural development?
iii. What is the relationship between urbanization and agricultural development?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study is limited to assessing the effect of urbanization on rural and agricultural development. The study will be conducted in Abia state, Nigeria.
1.7 Limitations of the study
The demanding schedule of respondents made it very difficult getting the respondents to participate in the survey. As a result, retrieving copies of questionnaires in timely fashion was very challenging. Also, the researcher is a student and therefore has limited time as well as resources in covering extensive literature available in conducting this research. Information provided by the researcher may not hold true for all research under this study but is restricted to the selected respondents used as a study in this research especially in the locality where this study is being conducted. Finally, the researcher is restricted only to the evidence provided by the participants in the research and therefore cannot determine the reliability and accuracy of the information provided. Other limitations include;
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.