Every social institution serves to provide the basic social needs of people in any given society. These institutions in traditional times function in such unique ways that they were able to satisfy society’s basic needs. In Nigeria, as in other African societies, the fabrics of traditional social institutions have undergone several changes due largely to colonization. In contemporary times however, several factors including modernization, urbanization and migration have contributed to the sustenance of change in the fabrics of these institutions, which have affected several sectors of the social system, including agricultural development. This paper examines the nature and role of traditional social institutions in Nigerian society vis-à-vis the changes that have occurred over time. The five basic social institutions, namely, the family, religion, education, government, and economy are the focus in this paper. It was evident that changes occurred in these institutions and these are discussed in relation to their functions as well as implications for agricultural development. The paper also suggests the way forward.