Revisiting population growth and food production nexus in Nigeria: an ARDL approach to cointegration

Akinbode Michael Okunolа, Solomon Prince Nathaniel, Victor Bekun Festus


Purpose. This study focused on the relationship between the increasing population and level of food growth in Nigeria.

Methodology / approach. Agriculture’s contribution to GDP was used to proxy food production alongside population growth rate. The ARDL Model was used to estimate both long and short run population-food growth relations over a 35-year period of 1982–2016. The Augmented Dickey-Fuller, Philip Peron and Kwiatkowski-Philips-Schmidt-Shin stationarity tests were carried out to ensure the stationarity of the variables.

Results. The results showed that the variables are integrated of mixed order. The Bounds test established cointegration between population growth and food production in Nigeria which validated the Malthusian theory. However, the estimates revealed that population growth had a positive and significant relationship with food growth in both the long and short run. This implies that increase in population is yet to take a negative effect on availability of food against Malthus postulation.

Originality / scientific novelty. This study is the only study on the validation of Malthusian theory of population which employed a rigorous means to establish the order of integration of the variables required for the validation test. It also looked at the place of agriculture in the midst of growing population.

Practical value / implications. This outcome is a call to intimate the populace on the dangers of population explosion on one hand and on another hand, the government to ensure provision of adaptable and adoptable technology in the agricultural sector to ensure that food production increases as Nigeria is blessed with the land and weather to make this happen.


ARDL; Food Production; Population Growth; Malthus Theory; Nigeria.

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