Back in the 60’s, the Agriculture sector was the most important sector within the country, contributing up 57% of GDP at its peak. Over the years, the role of Agriculture has declined as income from the oil and gas sector has increased.
Today, although there are many untapped potentials within the sector, agriculture remains a key sector for the country. Here are 10 reasons why.
- Nigeria has 82million hectares of arable land of which only 34m is being cultivated. Effectively, we have resources with the potential to generate further income for the nation.
- This wide expanse of land is suitable for growing diverse produce, including many high value cash crops that can be exported to boost the national income
- Over the past 20 years, productivity has been dropping despite a growing population. This is a lost opportunity. The FAO estimates that lost opportunity as N3.65tr annually in additional export potential for major crops.
- Although there are increasing effects of climate change, vast majority of our land is free from national disasters such as earthquakes, landslides etc.
- Agriculture is currently the 2ndlargest contributor to GDP (after oil). It has contributed 20% - 23% in the past 3 years. With strategic investment and developments within the agriculture sector, there is the potential to increase our GDP and the contribution of agriculture to GDP.
- The sector is a significant employer of labor with 36% of total employment currently within this sector, a reduction from 60%+ at the turn of the century. Agriculture offers opportunities for reducing unemployment, which currently stands at over 23%.
- Nigeria still imports some key staples such as Rice, Fish, Wheat and Sugar due to are gaps between production and local demand. There are opportunities to plug this gap and reduce the import bill
- The Agriculture sector is still fairly undeveloped in terms of post-production value addition. Most of our produce are exported with little or value addition (from cocoa to cashew and cotton). Operating in later sectors of the value chain will enable the nation to retain a higher value share.
- At the production level, agriculture in Nigeria is predominantly manual and rudimentary, where many farmers are still applying old traditional method of farming. There are minimal levels of mechanised farming. Mechanisation means increased productivity and improved yield for the farmers which means increased revenue for the nation
- As the world population continues to grow, demand for food will continue to increase. Nigeria is well placed to meet a significant proportion of that demand.
In summary, Nigeria has the resource to potentially feed both ourselves and the rest of the world. This sector therefore offers significant opportunities for investment and development.
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