Current State of Nigeria Agriculture and Agribusiness Sector

With a population of roughly 200 million people, Nigeria’s agricultural productivity is insufficient to meet the food demanded of its growing population thus increasing the demand and supply gap in Nigeria.


Agriculture is broadly divided into four sectors in Nigeria–crop production, fishing, livestock and forestry. Crop production remains the largest segment and it accounts for about 87.6% of the sector’s total output. This is followed by livestock, fishing and forestry at 8.1%, 3.2% and 1.1% respectively. Agriculture remains the largest sector in Nigeria contributing an average of 24% to the nation’s GDP over the past seven years (2013 – 2019). In addition, the sector employs more than 36% of the country’s labour force, a feat which ranks the sector as the largest employer of labour in the country. 

Nigeria’s agricultural trade deficit continues to widen amid government’s push for self-sufficiency in the sector… 

  • • The share of agriculture in Nigeria’s total export earnings remains small compared to crude oil exports. For instance in 2019, agriculture accounted for less than 2% of total exports relative to crude oil (76.5%). 
  • • Nigeria’s major agricultural imports include wheat, sugar, fish and milk, while the main agricultural exports include sesame seeds, cashew nuts, cocoa beans, ginger, frozen shrimp and cotton. 
  • • Sesame, cashew nuts and cocoa account for more than half of the nation’s agricultural exports. While wheat dominates agricultural imports.
  • • Agricultural export declined by about 11% from N302.2 billion in 2018 to N269.8 billion in 2019. 
  • • Nigeria’s agricultural imports rose by 12.7% from N851.6 billion to N959.5 billion during the same period, the highest value ever recorded in the country.
  • • Nigeria remains a net food importer — the agricultural trade deficit has widened with imports exceeding exports by N689.7 billion in 2019 compared to N549.3 billion in 2018. 

Challenges of the Nigerian agricultural sector…
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