By Livinus Nnebedum
Land is a gift of nature. It is necessary to talk about economic use of land because land cannot be increased quantitatively but only qualitatively; which is by reclamation from swamp and by improving its fertility through the use of natural and artificial fertilizer.
This reclamation and improvement in fertility can be achieved through technological means that involves huge capital. In Economics and other related fields of study, land is treated as a scarce resource and one of the agents or factors of production. But people in depopulated centers may not realize that land is a scarce resource.
Many of the people in Nigeria do not have any standard shelter resulting from the high demand for houses, high cost of building materials and population explosion. Proper land survey as well as adequate urban and regional planning could facilitate the efficient use of land. When fertile land is conserved and use for farming, the infertile one should be used for industrial and residential purposes.
Land is often wasted because of improper planning and lack of capital resources. People build small houses in scattered locations, thereby occupying more land because they may not have enough capital to put up multi-storeyed buildings that can accommodate more people.
Poor soil management and indiscriminate deforestation could lead to soil erosion. Proper soil management, such as prevention and control of erosion as well as crop rotation in highly populated centers are recommended.
Also, mixed farming, prevention and control of desertification by re-afforestation, are some of the principles and techniques necessary for proper utilization and conservation of land in arid and semi-arid regions. Tree planting is also necessary to avoid desert encroachment in semi-arid regions. In waterlogged areas, channelization is recommended.
The world population now stands at over 7.6 billion but the land are not increasing. The land area of Earth is 13 billion hectares. Indications from Astronomers, Archeological discoveries and historical records, the planet Earth is 4.5 billion years old. The study of Geography and Planetary systems indicate that for now the Earth is the only habitable or living planet.
There are 9 Planets namely; Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Mars otherwise called Red planet is believed by most professional astronomers to be the next planet after Earth to have the possibility of some plant life. Until the professionals in the study of the Universe and Solar system explore the possibilities of extending human and plant establishment on Mars, the land available on the only living planet Earth for now still remains scarce because of explosion of world population.
It is good to note that the world population in 1650 was about 500 million. In 1960 it was 3 billion. In 1985 it was 4.9 billion increased to 6.5 billion in 2006. This year 2022 it is estimated to be over 7.6 billion. It is also good to note that the distance between the Earth and the sun is about 93 million miles (148.8 million kilometers) on the average and yet this country Nigeria is extremely very hot.
The land mass of Nigeria has remained 925,768 sq.km while the population has been increasing to the extent that it now estimated at about 200 million. Erosion, landslides, earthquake, existing oceans, Rivers, seas, streams, lakes, flooded areas, Swamps etc have occupied some of the land. Now what is left, we have to manage and make effective use of the land, hence there is need to apply Economics in the use of our land. It has therefore become imperative to adopt the aforementioned measures to derive maximum benefits from our scarce land.
Livinus Nnebedum, Public Affairs Analyst, Author & Former Director in Anambra State Agricultural Development Program (ADP), writes from Federal College of Education (Technical) Umunze.