Agriculture in Nigeria: History, Development, Opportunities & Problems

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Agriculture in Nigeria is a very broad field with various pros and cons. However, this article is well researched to cover and explain all you need to about the history, the roles, the untapped opportunities, and all the agricultural-related problems face in Nigeria.

Agriculture is the planting and rearing of animals for food and monetary purposes. It also provides other products essential for all times enhancement and sustenance.

Agriculture has played a serious role in development during the sedentary human civilization. Plants and animals were farmed for human sustainability.

After the industry, the agricultural sector has employed quite a 3rd of the entire number of workers worldwide. Nevertheless, the agricultural sector has drastically lost quite a number of its workers in developed nations within the last centuries.

Agriculture has over the years provided food products like; grains or cereals, vegetables, eggs, meat, milk, etc. it’s also provided fuel, raw materials like rubber, fiber, etc.

Top 7 sorts of Agriculture

Agriculture isn’t equivalent across the planet but a well-liked venture. it’s categorized and has supported the following: sort of crop being grown, the scale of cultivation, intensity, mechanization level, sorts of livestock, and the way this farm produce is distributed. Here are some sorts of agriculture:

Read also: Farmer’s Insurance: How to Apply and Get Approved in Nigeria

1. Shifting Cultivation

Shifting cultivation is typically administered within the tropics. This has got to do with clearing the forest by burning and slashing.

Farming activities are administered on this cleared piece of land for a minimum of three to 5 years until it loses its fertility or native flora and weeds grow thereon. During this era, the farmers abandon the portion for a fallow period and advance to a different portion of land for cultivation.

2. Nomadic Herding

Nomadic herding may be a sort of agriculture that focuses on animal rearing. It entails the keeping and grazing of animals on natural pastures.

This sort of farming is extremely common within the arid and semi-arid regions like Saudi Arabia, northern Africa, and northern parts of Eurasia. This features a striking resemblance with pastoral farming.

Nomads are within the character of moving with their animals from one place to a different in search of water and green pasture for his or her animals.

The sort of animals herded depends on the region. a number of these animals include sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels, goats, and horses. this is often a kind of farming mainly for family consumption.

3. Rudimentary Sedentary Tillage

This type of farming is practiced within the tropical and it involves the cultivation of tree crops like rubber trees, grains, etc.

Rudimentary sedentary cultivation unlike other sorts of farming may be a sort of farming practiced on an equivalent piece consecutively. The land is left to fallow after a while to urge back its soil fertility.

4. Livestock Ranching/Pastoral Farming

Livestock ranching a bit like nomadic farming focuses on rearing animals. But unlike nomadic herding, farmers don’t move from place to put in search of pasture and water but sleep in settlements. Pasture lands are cultivated for grazing the animals.

Most areas with large pieces of land with enough grazing areas for animals practice this sort of agriculture for commercial reasons. All the animals kept in ranches are mainly kept for wool and meat. dairying is a crucial part of pastoral farming.

However, the activity isn’t an honest practice because excessive grazing destroys natural pastures. Still leaving the farmers to shop for feed for the animals thereby making the practice an upscale one.

5. Commercial Plantations

This can even be called tree crop farming or plantation farming or industrialized farming. this sort of farming is practiced on large farm areas and albeit practiced on small land areas, they need high commercial value.

Some commercial plants cultivated on this land include tea, rubber, coffee, coconut, cocoa, grapes, apples, spices, oranges, avocado, mangoes, and vegetable oil, etc.

Some of these plantation farms have processing factories. Various farming methods are employed to spice up farm yield because it’s major purpose is to form profit.

6. Mixed Farming

Mixed farming has got to do with continuous cropping and therefore the growing of crops of varying maturity periods on an equivalent piece of land. farming is majorly wiped out areas with sufficient rainfall or good irrigation facilities.

Mixed farming is additionally referred to as grain and livestock farming. In farming, both crops and animals are reared. this sort of farming originated within the humid mid-latitudes exempting Asia. documented to thrive mainly in Europe.

7. Subsistence Farming

Subsistence farming is especially for immediate consumption. It involves cultivating crops and rearing animals for the only purpose of feeding the farmer and his family.

In farming, simple farm tools and done on a small piece of land. Subsistence farmers are believed to be poor and can’t afford to shop for advanced seeds and fertilizers.

This, they use what they will afford; farmland with low soil fertility or rough terrains. farming has low productivity, so doesn’t require the utilization of irrigation network, electricity, and other advanced facilities. Most of its products are consumed with almost none sold for profit.

Read also: Farm Insurance: Complete Guide to Farm Insurance Policy

History Of Agriculture

The agricultural practice has been alive in Nigeria far before the pre-colonial era. But subsistence agriculture was widely practiced on the eve of European colonial rule out Nigeria.

During this enterprise, food production was mainly for self-sufficiency and consumption. a number of crops cultivated include beans rice, sesame, cashew nuts, cassava, groundnuts, maize, cocoa beans, gum acacia, kola nut, maize, melon, rice, millet, palm kernels, palm oil, plantains, rubber, sorghum, soybeans, bananas, and yams.

With an outsized landmass, well-distributed rainfall, and heat, agriculture played an excellent developmental role in being the most source of livelihood of the nation’s populace.

Formerly Nigeria was known for exporting groundnut and palm nut oil, but, recently the speed of exportation of those products has reduced.

In recent years, some local Nigerian companies have begun exporting groundnuts, cashew nuts, sesame seeds, moringa seeds, Ginger, cocoa, etc.

Before the colonial masters stepped on the Nigerian soil, our forefathers were mainly farmers and it had been solely for substance.

Despite that, they produced enough food for themselves, and cash crops were also produced for his or her barter system trade across the Sahara and therefore the Atlantic Ocean.

Read also: Farm and Ranch Management; Here is Everything You Need to Know.



Agriculture In Nigeria


Problems Of Agriculture And Their Solutions

In 2018, from the desk of the minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: about 30% to 40% of farm products(food) produced in Nigeria is ultimately wasted.

This will only imply that the issues of agriculture stem beyond the farming process as issues like wastage can still hamper the success of agriculture.

There are many opportunities in agriculture in Nigeria and these opportunities can’t be explored if these problems aren’t tackled. Here are a number of the issues faced in agriculture and their proposed solution:


1. Lack Of Modernization/Mechanization:

Farmers in Nigeria during this day and age still believe in crude tools and also suffer from poor storage facilities which adversely affect productivity. An honest example is that of poor irrigation which makes it difficult during dry seasons. Therefore, the unavailability of mechanical tools like tractors to substitute or compensate manual labor hinders productivity thanks to fatigue.


Being that the majority of farmers in Nigeria are rural farmers, the govt features a vital role to play with regard to creating favorable policies, making agricultural research, give grants to rural farmers, subside farm equipment and supply good storage facilities. They could also provide modern farming machines and a good cooling system to preserve perishable products.


2. Lack of Information:

The information they assert is power. But when farmers lack information, it constitutes a serious problem. For starters, there’s an entire lot more to farming than simply digging and planting crops.

Farmers should be availed the required information they have like; knowing the way to select the proper seed variety to urge maximum yield, the simplest time to plant, the best farming method, and most significantly the way to market their produce for max profit.


Farmers should be open-minded and willing to find out new techniques to enhance their crop yield. they ought to also constantly seek knowledge and be willing to share it with their farming communities.

Training, seminars, and workshops should be held for farmers to update their knowledge of technologies and other helpful information. If need be, farmers should be monitored to form sure they apply the new knowledge gained on their farms.


3. Poor Infrastructure:

Poor infrastructure is another serious agricultural problem. this will discourage possible local and foreign investors resulting in wastage of farm products that are cultivated under this.


The government also features a role to play here by providing these basic amenities like good roads, water, and electricity for farmers. This may help to reinforce productivity and farm yield. And this output also can be invested in other farms.


4. Poor Research and Record-Keeping:

Farm records are kept poorly kept if even kept in the least. They are doing not keep accurate track of farm activities and farm information.

Necessary information about the Nigerian farm market can’t be easily accessed and important information like market prices are relevant.

Without this important piece of data, adulteration of figures as regards to farming. Agricultural development can’t be accurately measured with a disorganized farm record(s). This makes it quite difficult to identify some farming issues and finding solutions to them.


Proper documentation and record-keeping of farming information should be encouraged.


5. Finance:

Finance is another major factor restricting farmers from growing and making an honest living from agriculture. These funds aren’t easy to return because some banks don’t loan to them for various reasons.

This results in the farmers struggling to form a living. This Discourages potential farmers from venturing into the farming business.


The government should make available agricultural grants to intending farmers or already farmers to spice up their agricultural business.


Roles Of Agriculture

Agriculture may be a major part of the Nigerian economy, it’s the main source of livelihood for an honest number of Nigerians. In West African countries, the farming sector employs roughly 70 percent of the whole country’s labor pool.

In Nigeria, about 80% of the entire food is from small farm products and 33% of her landmass is under cultivation. Nigeria is the leading African country in farming with the very best levels of productivity and profitability.

1. Source of Food Supply

Needless to mention that agriculture has sustained mankind for as long as forever, whether an underdeveloped, developing or a developed country, all of them depend upon agriculture to survive.

2. Contribution to value

Agriculturalture has contributed immensely to the economy of the state. Important to note is that even the developed nations once relied on agriculture at a time of their development or advancement.

3. Relief from Capital Shortage

Agricultural development has helped developing countries to urge relief from the shortage of capital. Already, developing nations relied on foreign capital to travel by but agriculture has come to the rescue.

4. Pre-Requisite for Raw Materials

Aside from providing food for consumption, agriculture also provides raw materials and this has greatly improved the agro-based industries thereby making these products very affordable and contributed to the economy.

5. Creation of Infrastructure

As agriculture is the center of the economy, Its development and advancement equally move the event of other sectors just like the development of national infrastructures like roads, storage units, transportation railways, market yards, postal services, etc. A sector that creates high demands for industrial products, the agricultural sector also requires the development of the commercial sector.


Agriculture Opportunities In Nigeria

Agriculture in Nigeria has taken a powerful turn during a better direction in recent time, generating job opportunities and Other favorable opportunities for entrepreneurs who wish to travel into agribusiness.

Agriculture has been making millionaires every now and theen. there’s really without stopping to what proportion wealth agriculture can bring back intending farmers.

  1. Nigeria is 2 times bigger than Zimbabwe and South Africa joined alongside an enormous population of over 200 million people. And this complete population depends upon basic foods produced from farms and another farm produces for his or her daily meals and sustenance. Over 80% of Nigerians acquire their farm products from the market.
  2. Nigerian features an acreage of sq km 910,770 when measured. Nigeria has a large area of fertile farmlands laying fallow across the state. An acreage of a rustic is often measured by the country’s total area, excluding areas that are considered to be water bodies. This makes Nigeria a nation with a great landmass with 70% available for farming.
  3. Nigerian Government isn’t overlooked in cuing into the agricultural opportunity. the govt has turned its attention to promoting agriculture in Nigeria to assist boost food productions within the country and minimize food exportation. the govt is extremely much willing to assist any intending farmer entrepreneur/investors with the required supports and logistics.
  4. Nigerians brag of the very best purchasing power in Africa, quite the other African nations. And Nigerians are within the habit of shopping for and paying at the spot. And Nigerians are known for parties and merriment especially the Yorubas of the western part of Nigeria and these parties are through with food. With Nigeria’s agriculture, she will feed four other African countries.
  5. With the speed at which Nigeria goes together with her agricultural venture, farming will become an excellent foreign currency much better than the oil section. Meaning that farmers can earn in Naira and Dollars also as other foreign currencies.



Agriculture is one sector that has not just been important but has helped mankind thrive on the surface of the world. Its importance can’t be over-emphasized, it’s played a serious role not just in feeding mankind but has also provided raw materials which have helped in man’s all-round development.

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