The Top 4 Agricultural Industries to Explore in Nigeria.
The Nigerian economy is one of the largest in Africa. It is home to vast amounts of arable land and a large, diverse production base that includes many high-value cash crops, offering substantial opportunities for development and investment.
Agriculture contributes over one-quarter of the GDP in most developing nations, especially in Nigeria. This sector has a high growth and export potential, which supports macroeconomic and non-oil growth in the country. Agricultural development is one of the most powerful tools to end extreme poverty, grow shared prosperity, and feed an ever-growing population.
Nigerian agriculture offers great opportunities, which is why, in this article, we will look at its four key subsectors: crop production, livestock, forestry and fisheries.
Crop production is the process of growing crops for domestic and commercial purposes. The importance of crop production has always been essential to human survival and will keep being important because the world’s population keeps growing, causing a greater demand for food, livestock (which eat the crops that are produced), fibre, food by-products and the myriad of other things that are manufactured from crops.
The major staple crops in Nigeria are yam, cassava, maize, rice, sorghum and millet. These crops together cover 65% of the total cultivated area. Maize, cocoyam, yam and cassava are the major staple crops in the humid parts of the country. In contrast, maize, sorghum, cowpea, millet and groundnut are the major staple crops in the sub-humid and semi-arid regions. The major cash crops include cocoa, oil palm, cotton, groundnuts, ginger and sesame.
According to Statista, Nigeria’s crop production grew by 1.36 per cent in Q3 2021 compared to the same period of the previous year. This shows there is a potential for growth in this subsector.
Livestock agriculture is concerned with the breeding and managing of livestock or farm animals primarily for producing meat, milk, and eggs. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), livestock contributes nearly 40 per cent of the total agricultural output in developed countries and 20 percent in developing ones, supporting the livelihoods of at least 1.3 billion people worldwide.
Nigeria is a major hub of animal product consumption in West Africa. It is also one of the largest livestock-raising countries in the region, with a huge economic potential worth over N33 trillion. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) revealed that the livestock sector is endowed with abundant livestock resources with about 26.4 million cattle, 88.2 million goats, 50.3 million sheep, 8.9 million pigs, 465 million chickens, 36.4 million ducks, 3.8 million turkeys, 5.5 rabbits, 353,173 camels, and 1,234,284 donkeys, hence making the nation the topmost livestock producer in West Africa.
The livestock sub-sector contributes directly to the economy through employment generation, supply of high-quality protein and energy foods and an increase in foreign exchange earnings through export.
Forestry involves the planning and caring for large areas of trees. These can also be areas dominated by trees which are regarded as forest vegetation. Forests are essential in protecting the natural resource base on which sustainable agriculture depends.
As it stands, Nigeria still has a large untapped forest resource that it needs to harness. The World Bank estimates that Nigeria’s land area is about 91.1 million hectares (910,770 sq. km), with 23.75% estimated to be forest area. However, forestry’s contribution to the economy in Q4 2021 was less than one percent (0.26%).
Forestry is vital in supporting the productive potential of agriculture by stabilising soil, increasing groundwater recharge, regulating local climate, improving nutrient cycling and fisheries. The Nigerian government can key into the potential forestry offers through planting and forest propagation and proper management of available and remaining forest trees around dryland areas.
Nigeria is a maritime state where 9 of the 36 federal states have a coastline in the Atlantic Ocean. The coastal federal states of Nigeria are Lagos, Edo, Ogun, Bayelsa, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross Rivers states, found in the southern part of the country.
According to FAO, Nigeria is the largest fish consumer in Africa and among the world’s largest fish consumers, with about 3.2 million metric tons consumed annually. Studies show that fishery contributes back 3.00–5.00% to the agriculture share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Fish is an essential protein source in the diet of Nigerians. It also contains considerable amounts of vitamin B, Vitamin E, nutrients like niacin and minerals such as Phosphorous, Copper, Iron and Iodine. Canned salmon and sardines are good sources of calcium.
Asides from its nutritional value, the various water bodies in Nigeria like rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, flood plains, irrigation canals, and coastal swamps offer great potential for aquaculture production in the country.
It is hard to overlook the value of agriculture, which has contributed a significant 25% to the country’s GDP over the past seven years and is expected to increase to 50% by 2031. Nigeria is one of the few countries in the continent blessed with good arable farmland for agricultural activities, and it is crucial to make the most of each subsector.