POPULATION GROWTH AND FOOD PRODUCTION: AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE TENACITY OF THE MALTHUSIAN DOCTRINE IN NIGERIA
Keywords:Nigeria, Food production, Population growth, Malthusian doctrine
The study set out to test the Malthusian doctrine which stated that “population, when unchecked, increased in a geometrical ratio, and subsistence for man in an arithmetical ratio”, using Nigeria as a case in hand. Data on human population and food production in Nigeria (1961- 2018) were collected from FAOSTAT and used. Geometric Progression and Arithmetic Progression were applied on the collected data to generate second sets of data that fitted geometric and arithmetic progression, respectively. Descriptive statistics and the student t-test technique for comparison of means of independent samples were used to achieve the objectives of this study. Results of the Student’s t-tests (calculated t-value of 0.693 and computed p-value of 0.490 for food production; calculated t-value of 4.700 and computed p-value of 0.000 for population) lead to the acceptance of the null hypothesis for food production and rejection of the null hypothesis for population growth. The mean difference of 28899193.34 indicates that the mean actual population data (102501137.84) was statistically and significantly higher than the mean expected population data (73601944.50) over the study period. It was concluded that (i) food production in Nigeria over the study period increased in arithmetical progression in accordance with Malthusian doctrine, suggesting that the series of agricultural policies and programmes the Government in Nigeria since independence, barely raised agricultural food production in Nigeria beyond subsistence level, and (ii) population in Nigeria over the period of the study increased at a rate much greater than Malthusian doctrine’s geometrical progression, at an exponential rate, suggesting that the policies on population, implicit and explicit, enacted in Nigeria since independence have not succeeded in significantly slowing down the rate of growth of population in Nigeria. The study recommended further studies into the relationship between demography and economic growth in Nigeria.
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