"Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. The 2006 provisional census counted over 140 million people, 64 percent of whom live in rural areas. These rural areas are undergoing radical, noticeable change, particularly in the agricultural sector. The agricultural sector is increasingly market-oriented and has seen a diversification of income opportunities and an increasing division of labor. It is therefore important to have a highly efficient rural service sector that fosters agricultural productivity and development outcomes. However, access to rural services, has only had marginal impacts in the agricultural sector. Rural households, therefore, continue to face poor access to agricultural and social services. These gaps in rural service provision need to be closed in order to enable the countryside to mobilize its development potential."