Search for:

FACTS AND FIGURES OF THE AGRO INDUSTRY &-8211; this Article or News was published on this date:2019-05-16 07:29:48 kindly share it with friends if you find it helpful



Agriculture remains the dominant sector in the rural areas of Nigeria providing employment for about 60% of the work force.The diversity of climatic conditions, the richness of soil types and water sources, and the high population density provide great potential for crop, animal, fish, and tree production. In the 1960s and up to the early 1970s, Nigeria’s agriculture flourished with the country being one of the world’s highest producers of palm oil, cocoa, and groundnut. Overtime, agriculture has declined in importance.

However, through the platform of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, the current government is taking giant steps towards an active sustainable revitalization of the agricultural sector with a view to curb the looming food insecurity, unemployment, and economic issues. It intends to achieve these by encouraging private sector participation, absorb labor through the intensification of agro processing operations and by taking advantage of the foreign earnings that could accrue from the exportation of agricultural products.

A plethora of research work has been carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, IITA, FAO, CBN, and other bodies showing the trend of the agro industry and its embedded prospects, some of which are presented here.

The analysis below indicates that over the years, there have been increasing demands on the international market for our agricultural commodities. In 2010, out of the total value of non-oil exports, the agricultural sector had a whopping 75% contribution in value. Due to the rising trend, it is expected to increase subsequently, presenting a huge opportunity for investment.


Fig. 1 Courtesy – Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD)


There is gross under-utilization of the resources and factors of production in the Nigerian agro sector with both effectiveness and efficiency below par. The typical Nigerian agricultural sector is described as an “effective non-efficient” industry. Effectiveness talks about the ability of an input to be transformed to an output while efficiency takes it a step further to measure how well the input is converted to output in terms of productivity.



Fig. 2 Courtesy – Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development



One of the setbacks the oil and gas industry faces is the lack of adequate refining facilities in the country prompting the producers to export our crude oil for refining. The refined products come back to us as “breadcrumbs” with lesser monetary value than would have been if we had refined within the shores of the country. The agro sector is having its share of this malady with it’s over dependence on importation of commodities that are capable of being grown and processed in the country. This has a ripple effect of creating unemployment, reducing house-hold income, impairing affordable domestic food supply, and making the contribution of the agro sector to the economy come in trickles.

The Agricultural Transformation Agenda might be a light at the end of the tunnel as it seeks to ameliorate the current situation in the industry with a view to foster economic development and sustainability by reducing to the barest minimum our dependence on importation.



Fig.3 Courtesy: Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development


In view of this, a huge investment window has been opened for private sector participation in achieving this unified goal. A classification of Nigeria into zones reveals that we can utilize the inherent comparative advantage.A zone has a comparative advantage at producing something if it can produce it at lower cost than any other place. The figure below is a mini-classification of some agricultural produce matched against zones of best yields.



Fig 4 courtesy: Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development


Nigeria is world’s highest importer of wheat. At the current growth rate Nigeia will be importing 17 million MT by 2020, the equivalent of the entire exports of the 3rd largest exporter, Canada. In addition to wheat and sugar, cassava can also be a substitute for corn starch currently imported to Nigeria in significant quantities.

Nigeria is also one of the world’s top importers of rice, importing over 2MT of milled rice per year. Rice export trade is very thin and prices are highly volatile with the Thai government positioned to significantly increase price by 50%. The unfortunate aspect here is that rice grows all across Nigeria, which will foster self sufficiency and positively impact all geo-political zones. Our major problem is a lack of proper milling facility and capacity for quality rice. Another area of concern is that a country like Nigeria endowed with vast water-bodies, manpower  and skill still imports fish at an average of N97bn per annum. (See fig. 5)

With these facts, it becomes imperative that the revitalisation of the agro sector should not be left to the government alone. It calls for a concerted effort from private sector to take advantage of the emerging potential and opportunity to create value and inturn enrich their coffers.



Fig. 5 courtesy: Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development



It is no news that finance is one of the obvious limiting factor deterring the acceleration and development of the agro industry, and a major contributor to the enduring subsistence level of agriculture among peasant farmers. Due to lack of sufficient information, most investors do not have a grasp of the economic potential and profitability of the agricultural sector to enable them make informed investment decisions.A look into Nigeria’s capital market indicates that agricultural stocks compete favorably with those from other sectors.

An economic analysis was carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture to determine the rate of return on capital that could ensue from the processing of some agricultural produce with a given start-up capital and payback period (See fig. 6 below)


Fig 6. Courtesy: Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development



Fig 7 courtesy: Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development



The government is increasingly showing her relentless effort in revitalizing the agro sector and encouraging investors to participate in the process by giving some incentives that are not obtainable in other sectors. These include:

1.      Zero percent duty on agricultural machinery and equipment imports.

2.      Removal of restrictions on areas of investment and maximum equity ownership in investment by foreign investors.

3.      No currency exchange controls- free transfer of capital, profits and dividends.

4.      Constitutional guarantees against nationalization/expropriation.

5.      Pioneer tax holiday for agricultural investments.

6.      Infrastructure support, with special focus on staple crop processing zones, for power, water and electricity.

If administered/implemented properly these incentives can help revive the sector for both existing farmers and intending investors. To show the importance of the Sector, there are a number of foreign donor agencies who are willing to assist in funding the nation’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda. Some of them are represented below;





All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Soil and Water

Soil and Water &-8211; this Article or News was published on this date:2019-05-16 07:29:20 kindly share it with friends if you find it helpful

This is a placeholder. Remove this element to add top adverts or real content

Nigeria is endowed with arable land and fresh water resources when viewed as a whole with approximately 61 million hectares of the land cultivable while the total renewable water resources is about 280 km3/year[1]; which include river Niger, river Benue, lake Chad, Osun river, Hadejia River, Bonny river and a host of others. Soil condition and water availability if effectively managed will help boost food production and address food crisis in the nation.


 Nigeria has a wide diversity of soil under different ecological conditions and with different levels of fertility. The different soils are a function of prevailing climatic condition, vegetative cover, and topography of the area among others.

The major soil types in Nigeria, according to FAO soil taxonomy legends are fluvisols, regosols, gleysols, acrisols, ferrasols, alisols, lixisols, cambisols, luvisols, nitosols, arenosols and vertisols. These soil types vary in their potential for agricultural use. None of these soils was rated as class 1 with high productivity by the FAO.

Nigerian soils can be classified into groups made up of four (climatic) zones that are soil associations. The groups are[2]:

1.       Northern zone of sandy soils

2.       Interior zone of laterite soils

3.       Southern belt of forest soils

4.      Alluvial soils Zones

   Map showing soil zones and types in Nigeria

  Courtsey: Kushimo oluwaseun


Northern zone of sandy soils: This area lies in the very northern parts of the country. This area lies in the extreme north with proximity to the fringes of the fast- encroaching Sahara desert. It is characterized by soils formed by deposition of sand by the wind. These soils might have been formed from wind-sorted desert sands that accumulated over long periods of time when the Sahara desert encroached several kilometers south of its present limits. The soils of this zone are very good in the production of groundnut, sorghum, cowpea, and millet.

Interior zone of laterite soils: This zone is made up of a mixture of sand and clay. They are grey to black clay, poorly drained and seasonally flooded forming the “fadama”. Soil in this zone is deeply corroded, generally sticky and impervious to water and has low fertility. When the virgin forest on them is cleared it reduces the fertility further, thus making the available soil of little agricultural value. However, not only laterite soils are found in this zone. The Biu Plateau has rich soil that is productive and offers prospects for the expansion of the areas of cotton production.

Southern belt of forest soils: Soils in this zone broadly represent those of the humid, tropical forest climate zones of the south where the wet season is long, the harmattan season short and forest cover is dense. Local soil types depend largely on parent rock; where the underlying rocks are granite or clay, the soils is a rich clayey loam. These soils are very good in growing crops like cocoa, oil palm, rubber and they are of considerable importance in Nigerian agriculture.

Zone of alluvial soils: These soils are found along the flooded plains of rivers, deltas, along the coastal flats. This zone extends from the coastal inland and runs along the valleys of the Niger and the Benue rivers, thus cutting across the vegetational zones. Soils in this zone are characteristic of fresh-water soil of grey to white sand, grey clay and sandy clay with humic topsoil. Another group consists of brownish to black saline mangrove soils, with a mat of rootlets.


Soil management

The traditional land tenure system and soil management practices involving shifting cultivation, slash –and-burn processes and traditional tillage method ensures the maintenance of soil physical properties and sustainable productivity. However, land use pressure has reduced the duration of fallow to restore soil fertility below the recommended minimum threshold required for sustainability (FAO 1985)[3].

Soil management practices includes

·         Cover cropping: This involves the planting of crops that help manage soil fertility, water, weeds, pests, diseases. It helps to reduce erosion, suppress weed manifestation etc. example include; Mucuna pruriens, centrosema pubescens, Pueraria phaseoloides.

·         Crop rotation: Alternating different crops with different nutrient requirement on a farm land in a predefined manner. It also help in replenishing lost nutrient e.g Nitrogen fixation by legumes.

·         Nutrient management: The use of organic manure, plant residues helps to improve the fertility of the soil and the amount of organic matter content, which also improve the soil structure and function.

·         Tillage: The practice of reduced tillage or no-tillage operation limits the disturbance of the soil and retains plant residues. This is very helpful on soils that are easily prone to soil erosion.


Water is an important constituent of the ecosystem; it is the most abundant substance on earth. Water is an important requirement for sustainable agricultural production. Crops can be grown without fertilizers and even without soil, but they cannot survive without water. Without adequate moisture, plants cannot mobilize soil nutrients and lack of water at critical stages of development will result in stunted plant growth. Increasing population requires proportionate increase in crop production, which has suffered little output due to dependent on rainfall. To meet future food needs, farmers will have to make better use of all available moisture by employing water harvesting, conservation and efficient irrigation methods.

Rainfall: Nigerian agriculture is basically rainfed, making her dependent on rain as the source of water. This is however a limiting factor defining the low productivity level. Water is therefore a limiting factor to agricultural production in most parts of the country.

Rainfall patterns and distribution varies within the country with the average annual rainfall of between 1000 &-8211; 2000 mm in the humid areas and 500 &-8211; 600 mm in the semiarid areas[4]. The southern part of the country experienced long raining season with thick cloud which starts in March, and last to the end of July, with a peak period in June. Also, a short dry season known as “August break” is generally observed in the last two weeks of August.  The dry season lasted between late October to early march; this period witness dusty north-east winds.

However, the Northern Nigeria which experience long dry season from October to mid-May, the wet season covers a relatively short period, from June to September. The rains are generally convectional, heavy and short in duration, often characterized by frequent storms. This results in flash floods and in some places also in sheet or gully erosion.

Water management

Nigeria’s cultivation land has been estimated to about 71.2 million hectares but less than 50% is put to use due to water constraint[5].The seasonality of rainfall results in situations where water is available and often in excess at certain times, followed subsequently by periods of intense drought.

Irrigation is the artificial application of water to the soil to assist growing crops in dry areas and during the periods of inadequate rainfall. There are different types of irrigation techniques relating to how water is distributed from the source to the field or crops. This includes:

·         Surface irrigation system

·         Sub surface

·         Drip irrigation

Traditionally many farm families in Nigeria had cultivated small areas in fadamas during the dry season, using water manually drawn from shallow wells or streams. Major fadama areas are located along the flood plains of the Niger, Sokoto Rima, Benue and Yobe rivers.  Irrigation practices in Nigeria central only on surface channeling of water from water bodies to the field, the use of precision or drip irrigation as practice in developed nations with high efficiency is yet to be recognized as a solution to water management.

Despite the abundance of different sources of water for irrigation Rivers, Lakes, dams and reservoirs in Nigeria (e.g Oyan dam, Dadin Kowa dam, Tiga dam, Kiri dam and a host of others), Irrigation farming potentials has not been fully utilized which has kept Nigerian Agriculture mainly rainfed with low output.




[1] FAO (1995). Irrigation in Africa in Figures. Rome

[3] FAO (1985). Changes in Shifting Cultivation in Africa: Seven Case Studies. FAO Forestry Paper 50 (1). Rome

[4] I. E. Ahaneku. Conservation of soil and water resources for combating food crisis in Nigeria. Pg. 1

[5] Aremu JA, Ogunwale SA (1994). Comparative Analysis of Small and Large-Scale Irrigation Schemes in Northern Nigeria in AO Sanda, SB Ayo (eds), Impact of Irrigation on Nigeria’s Environment, Fact Finders Int. pp. 165-185.



All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

This is a placeholder for dynamic content. This will automatically be replaced

Farming in Nigeria

Farming in Nigeria &-8211; this Article or News was published on this date:2019-05-16 07:29:20 kindly share it with friends if you find it helpful

This is a placeholder. Remove this element to add top adverts or real content

Nigeria is very blessed with agricultural resources, a large expanse of land estimated at 91 million hectares (1990) of which 81 million hectares are arable.  Most parts of the country experience rich soil, well distributed rainfall, not to mention the warm year-round temperatures. And 18 million hectares of land classified as permanent pasture, for livestock production[1].

Agriculture has its place in the history of the nation, this is the reason for the &-8216;green&-8217; in the flag, and the progressive roles it has played; serving as the major source of livelihood to over 75% of the population[2]. The agricultural history of Nigeria is intertwined with its political history. This can be assessed from the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial periods.


Long before the advent of Nigeria&-8217;s colonization, our ancestors were sustained primarily on farming as the major occupation with the use of crude implements compared to what is obtained today. Yet, they produced enough food crops to feed themselves like most other Africans and also produced cash crops  which used for trade by barter system, across the Trans Saharan trade to the end of the Atlantic trade. They responded accordingly to the demands of their time, the limitations notwithstanding.

The period of the colonial administration in Nigeria, 1861-1960, was punctuated by rather ad hoc attention to agricultural development. During the era, considerable emphasis was placed on research and extension services. The first notable activity of the era was the establishment of the Department of Botanical Research in 1893 in the former Western Nigeria; saddled with the responsibility of conducting research in Agriculture[3]. In 1905, the British Cotton Growers Association acquired 10.35 square kilometers of land at the site now called Moor Plantation, Ibadan for growing cotton to feed the British Textile Mills. In 1910, Moor Plantation, Ibadan became the headquarters of the Department of Agriculture in Southern Nigeria, and a Department of Agriculture was established in the North in 1912.

In 1921, a unified Department of Agriculture was formed in Nigeria, after the amalgamation of the North and the South. The major policy of the Central Department of Agriculture was to increase production of export crops for the British market which was ready to absorb it for its industrial growth. Extension activities were therefore directed towards increasing efficiency in crop production and marketing. Regulations were made to set and enforce standards in export crop production.

Under the colonial government, livestock which were predominantly nomadic got a fair share of development with interest directed at the health and hygiene of the domesticated cattle. Thus, the Nigerian Veterinary Department was established in 1914 with its headquarters at Zaria. In 1924, a small veterinary laboratory was established in Vom for the production of rinderpest serum[4].

Deliberate efforts at developing the country&-8217;s fisheries can be said to date back to the Second World War when, because of the naval blockade of the high seas, the then Colonial Administration decided to develop the country&-8217;s local resources, including fisheries. A fisheries organization was established in 1941 as a Fisheries Development Branch of the Agricultural Department of the Colonial Office and a Senior Agricultural Officer was appointed to conduct a survey of the industry and its possibilities. The headquarters was sited at Apese village and later at Onikan in Lagos, from where, assisted by a part-time voluntary officer, preliminary experiments in fish culture in brackish water ponds at Onikan were carried out and surveys were conducted on the canoe fisheries of Apese village and Kuramo waters around Victoria Island, Lagos[5].

The colonial period also witnessed the establishment of the Niger Agricultural Project in 1949 with the aims of producing groundnut for export and guinea-corn for local consumption. It was also meant to relieve world food shortage, demonstrate better farming techniques and increase productivity of Nigeria’s agriculture. The project was sited near Mokwa (Niger state) at an area which was suitable for mechanized food crop production.


New policies were formulated in the post-independence era to actualize more equitable growth in agriculture. The earlier surplus extraction policies were quickly translated into the pursuit of an export-led growth[6]. This led to the demarcation of the country into the Western Region (cocoa), Northern Region (groundnut) and Eastern Region (oil palm).

The 1962-1968 development plans was Nigeria’s first national plan. Among several objectives, it emphasized the introduction of more modern agricultural methods through farm settlements, co-operative (nucleus) plantations, supply of improved farm implements (e.g. hydraulic hand presses for oil palm processing) and a greatly expanded agricultural extension service.

Some of the specialized development schemes initiated or implemented during this period included:

·         Farm Settlement Schemes

·         National Accelerated Food Production Programme (NAFPP), launched in 1972.

There were also a number of agricultural development intervention experiments, notably

·         Operation Feed the Nation, launched in 1976;

·         River Basin and Rural Development Authorities, established in 1976;

·         Green Revolution Programme, inaugurated in 1980

·         The World Bank-funded Agricultural Development Projects (ADP).

While each of the above programmes sought to improve food production, the ADPs represented the major practical demonstration of the integrated approach to agricultural development in Nigeria.

Owing to the oil boom in the 1970s, Agriculture assumed a downward trend.  Available data show that at independence in 1960 the contribution of agriculture to the GDP was about 60%, which is typical for developing agrarian nations. However, this share declined over time to only about 25% between 1975 and 1979[7]. Between 1970 and 1982, agricultural production stagnated at less than one percent annual growth rate, at a time when the population growth was between 2.5 to 3.0 per cent per annum. There was a sharp decline in export crop production, while food production increased only marginally. Thus, domestic food supply had to be augmented through large imports. The food import bill rose from a mere N112.88m annually during 1970 &-8211; 1974 to N1, 964.8m in 1991.

The years since the early 1960s have also witnessed the establishment of several agricultural research institutes and their extension research liaison services. Some of the major institutions are:

1. Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Service (AERLS) at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria established in 1963

2. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) established in 1967

3. International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA).

In an attempt to address the dwindling resources accrued from Agriculture, successive government implemented programs aimed at increasing food production and reviving Agriculture. These are:

 National Accelerated Food Production Programme (NAFPP): was an agricultural extension programme initiated in 1972 by the Federal Department of Agriculture during General Yakubu Gowon’s regime. The programme focused on bringing about a significant increase in the production of maize, cassava, rice and wheat in the Northern states through subsistent production within a short period of time. The programme was designed to spread to other states in the country after the pilot stage that was established in Anambra, Imo, Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Benue, Plateau and Kano states.

 Operation Feed the Nation (OFN):  This programme evolved on 21st May 1976 under the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo. The programme was launched in order to bring about increased food production in the entire nation through the active involvement and participation of everybody in every discipline thereby making every person capable of partly or wholly feeding him or herself. Under this programme every available piece of land in urban, sub-urban and rural areas was meant to be planted while government provided inputs and subsidies (like agrochemicals, fertilizers, improved variety of seed/seedlings, day old chicks, machetes, sickles, hoes etc) freely to government establishments. Individuals received these inputs at a subsidized rate.

The River Basin Development Authority (RBDA): River Basin Development Decree was promulgated in 1976 to establish eleven River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) (Decree 25 of 1976)[8]. The initial aim of the authorities was to boost economic potentials of the existing water bodies particularly irrigation and fishery with hydroelectric power generation and domestic water supply as secondary objectives. The objective of the programme was later extended to other areas most importantly to production and rural infrastructural development.

The Green Revolution: Green Revolution was a programme inaugurated by Shehu Shagari in April 1980. The programme was aimed at increasing production of food and raw materials in order to ensure food security and self-sufficiency in basic staples. Secondly, it aspired to boost production of livestock and fish in order to meet home and export needs and to expand and diversify the nation’s foreign exchange earnings through production and processing of export crops. The federal government provided agrochemicals, improved seeds/seedlings, irrigation system, machine (mechanization), credit facilities, improved marketing and favorable pricing policy for the agricultural products.

The Nigerian Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA): This was established in 1992. The authority aims at giving strategic public support for land development, assisting and promoting better uses of Nigeria’s rural land and their resources, boosting profitable employment opportunities for rural dwellers, raising the level/standard of living of rural people, targeting and assisting in achieving food security through self-reliance and sufficiency.

National Fadama Development Project (NFDP): The first National Fadama Development Project (NFDP-1) was designed in the early 1990s to promote simple low-cost improved irrigation technology under World Bank financing. The main objective was to sustainably increase the incomes of the Fadama users through expansion of farm and non-farm activities with high value-added output[9].The programme covered twelve states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Kebbi, Lagos, Niger, Ogun Oyo, Taraba including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The program adopted community driven development approach with extensive participation of the stakeholders at early stage of the project. This approach is in line with the policies and development strategies for Nigeria which emphasize poverty reduction, private sector leadership and beneficiary participation. Overall appraisal of the first and second phases of the project; show remarkable success, hence the invention of the current third phase.

National, Special Programme on Food Security (NSPFS): This Programme was launched in January 2002 in all the thirty six states of the federation during the Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime. The broad objective of the programme was to increase food production and eliminate rural poverty. Other specific objectives of the programme were: assisting farmers in increasing their output, productivity and income; strengthening the effectiveness of research and extension service training and educating farmers on farm management for effective utilization of resources; supporting governments efforts in the promotion of simple technologies for self-sufficiency; consolidating initial efforts of the programme on pilot areas for maximum output and ease of replication; consolidating gain from on-going for continuity of the programme and consequent termination of external assisted programmes and projects.

Root And Tuber Expansion Programme (RTEP): RTEP was launched on 16th April 2003 under Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration. It covers 26 states and was designed to address the problem of food production and rural poverty. At the local farmer’s level, the programme hopes to achieve economic growth, improve access of the poor to social services and carry out intervention measures to protect poor and vulnerable groups. At the national level the programme is designed to achieve food security and stimulate demand for cheaper staple food such as cassava, garri, yam, potato etc as against more expensive carbohydrate such as rice. Small holder farmers with less than two hectares of land per household were the targets of the programme while special attention is being paid to women who play a significant role in rural food production, processing and marketing. RTEP also targets at multiplying and introducing improved root and tuber varieties to about 350,000 farmers in order to increase productivity and income.



Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA):

In 2011 the government of Nigeria, launched the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, with the aim of changing the perception about agriculture as a development issue instead of pure business.

The vision in the transformation strategy is to achieve a hunger-free Nigeria through an agricultural sector that drives income growth, accelerates achievement of food and nutritional security, generates employment and transforms Nigeria into a leading player in global food markets to grow wealth for millions of farmers. In order to achieve this vision, the value chain approach has been in use.  Fertilizer procurement and distribution, marketing institutions, financial value chains and agricultural investment framework are poised for a change using this approach.

Ironically, the issues and challenges have not changed much since the dawn of agriculture in Nigeria.  Majority of farmers (more than 65%) still use the crude method of farming; Storage ideas and facilities have not improved much and thus losses incurred from postharvest handling are still very high; Infrastructure development has not progressed to meet the current challenges, resulting in stagnation of processes and logistical nightmare; Access to markets has remained a recurring headache making the idea of Farming very unattractive to most people.

Beyond all of this the fact remains that, Nigeria’s Agriculture Sector has enormous potential, with an opportunity to grow output by 160% from USD 99 billion at present to USD 256 billion by 2030[10] (depending on who you ask).


This growth potential comes from the ability to;

1.       Increase yield to 80% -100% of benchmark countries.

2.       Shift 20% of production to higher value crops.[11]


Opportunities highlighted at SENCE Agric’s Agriculture Fair of March 2012 showed that Nigeria faces a large and growing global agricultural market. The rising commodity prices, growing demand for food and opportunities in bio fuel as safe sources of alternative fuel all present significant opportunities for Nigeria. In summary Agriculture has had a long history in Nigeria albeit a not so successful one but the future is great and the right people need to be involved to move it away from rhetoric to a life giving, money making venture for the good of man and country.






[3] Williams, S.K.T. (1978). Rural Development in Nigeria. Ile-Ife University of Ife Press, Nigeria, 129pp.

[6] Ayoola, G.B. (2001), Essays on The Agricultural Economy 1: A Book of Readings on Agricultural Development Policy and Administration in Nigeria: Ibadan: TMA Publishers.

Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), (2004) The Ethics of Sustainable Agricultural Intensification.

[8] Source: Ayoola (2001) Essays on the Agricultural Economy: A Book of Readings on Agricultural Development Policy and Administration in Nigeria. TMA Publishers Ibadan P. 81.

[9] Source:

[10] Source: Central Bank of Nigeria: Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), November 16, 2011, pg 2

[11] Paper presented by the Executive Director of NIHORT in March 2012 at the SENCE Agric Agricultural Fair.




All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Agro ecological zone

Agro ecological zone &-8211; this Article or News was published on this date:2019-05-16 07:29:20 kindly share it with friends if you find it helpful

This is a placeholder. Remove this element to add top adverts or real content

Nigeria is found in the Tropics, where the climate is seasonally damp and very humid. The natural vegetative zones that exist in the country are governed by the combined effects of temperature, humidity, rainfall and particularly, the variations that occur in the rainfall. This forms a major influence on the type of indigenous plants that grows successfully in different parts of the country.

Source: wikipedia



The humid tropical forest zone of the South that has longer rains is capable of supporting a number of plantation crops such as cocoa, oil palm, rubber, coffee, cotton and staple crops like, yam, cassava, cocoyam, sweet potatoes, melon, groundnut, rice maize and cowpeas. However, in some parts of the East and many areas near the coast, the high rainfall has led to badly leached soils and severe erosion in some places.

The Northern part of the country representing about 80% of the vegetative zones experiences lower rainfall and shorter rainy season and they make up the Savannah land. The Savannah land forms an excellent natural habitat for a large number of grazing livestock such as cattle, goats, horses, sheep, camels, and donkeys.

The natural vegetative zones resulted from the interaction of climate, humidity, rainfall and soils. These factors have been modified by human activities and man’s pattern of land use. Based on the above, Nigeria’s agro-ecological zones can be classified into: &-8211;

(i) The Mangrove forest and coastal vegetation

(ii) The Freshwater swamp forest

(iii) The tropical high forest zone

(iv) The derived Guinea Savannah

(v) The Guinea Savannah zone

(vi) The Sudan savannah (Short grass savanna)

(vii) The Sahel savannah (Marginal Savanna)

(viii) The Montane vegetation



This is found in places near the coast that is under the influence of brackish water commonly found in the Niger Delta. It is also found also in low lying swamp land associated with rivers and Lagoon near the coast and under the influence of the sea. Soil in the mangrove area is poorly aerated with water logged mud and is high in salt content due to the constant flooding by the sea.

The coastal swamp area is not widely cultivated except for swamp rice in places where they are stabilized and non-saline.



This area lies immediately inland of the mangrove swamp but on a slightly higher ground. This vegetation belt, on freshwater wetlands occur further inland, beyond the reach of tidal waters. The lagoons or the rivers that overflow their banks in the wet season supply it with fresh water because the area is low lying, therefore it is flooded with rain water and lies under rain for sometimes, eight or nine months of the year.

The area of the country under this agro ecological zone, are Ogun, Benin, Imo, Niger Delta and Cross River. The high influx of water deposit vast quantities of silt, mud and sandy materials into this area. It is a low-lying region, with hardly any part rising over 30m above sea level, thus, it facilitates the development of freshwater swamps along the Niger Delta, drowned estuaries, lagoons and creeks. This zone consists of a mixture of trees. Important among the vegetation of this zone are the various Palm and Fibre plants such as Raphia spp., Raphia vinifera, the Wine Palm and Raphia hookeri, the Roof-mat Palm. They are used for thatching mats and for providing rafter, poles and stiff piassava fibre for the production of brooms. The better-drained areas support Oil Palm trees (Eleais guineenais) and big trees like Iroko (Chlorophora exceisa). Fishing and fibre-making are the important products of the fresh-water swamp communities.



This area is characterized with a prolonged rainy season, resulting in high annual rainfall above 2000mm, thereby ensuring  an adequate supply of water and promoting perennial tree growth. This luxuriant vegetation belt stretches from the western border of Nigeria to Benin Republic, through a narrow stretch on the Niger-Benue river system into the extensive area in the South-East of the country. This zone is the major source of timber for the large construction and funiture making industry. Of all the zones it contains the most valuable species of vegetation. However due to human activities, this one-time highly forested area has been drastically reduced. Bush fallows, villages and farms are found scattered throughout the zone. Presently the drier end of its inland side is becoming reduced to derived Guinea Savannah because of felling and clearings. In the humid rain forest are found economic cash crops such as Oil Palm, (Elaeis guineensis), Cocoa (Theobroma cacao), Rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) Banana/Plantain (Musa spp.) and Cola nut (Cola nitida). Also found are some principal staple food crops such as Yam, Cocoyams, Sweet Potato, Maize, Rice, Groundnut, Cowpeas and Beans as well as a number of fruits. A number of timber trees such as the African Mahogany, the scented Sapele wood (Entandrophragma cylindricum) and Iroko (Chlorophora excelsa) to mention but three are found in this zone. This zone therefore is very important in terms of food production and timber for construction and cabinet making[i].



This zone is found immediately after the tropical rainforest zone. It is the transition between the tropical rainforest and guinea savannah zones. The average annual rainfall and temperature are 1314mm and 26.5ºC respectively. Due to bush burning, overgrazing, cultivation and hunting activities over a long period in the zone, the high forest trees were destroyed and the forest that used to exist is now replaced with a mixture of grasses and scattered trees. The zone is covered with scattered trees and tall grasses. Maize, Cassava, Yam and Rice are the major crops grown in this zone. The savannah in general has an enormous potential for food production in the country. Bush burning and erosion as a result of over grazing by animal especially cattle constitute a major problem to agricultural production in the zone.



The Guinea Savannah, located in the middle of the country, is the most extensive ecological zone in Nigeria, covering near half of the country. Guinea savannah zone has a unimodal rainfall distribution with the average annual temperature and rainfall of 27.3ºC and 1051.7mm respectively where the wet season lasts for 6–8 months[ii]. This zone consists of the larger part of the savannah zone and is sometimes divided into the Southern Guinea Savannah and Northern Guinea Savannah. It is the broadest vegetation zone in the country and it occupies almost half of its area. It extends from Ondo, Edo, Anambra and Enugu States in the South, through Oyo State to beyond Zaria in Kaduna State. It is a belt of mixture of trees and tall grasses in the South, with shorter grasses and less trees in the North. The Guinea Savannah, with its typically short trees and tall grasses, is the most luxuriant of the Savannah vegetation belts in Nigeria. The zone is characterized by low rainfall and long dry period, which call for alternative water supply (irrigation) to enhance full utilization of the zone’s potential in agricultural production.

The Guinea savannah is characterized by grasses such as Pennisetum, Andropogon, Panicum, Chloris, Hyparrhenia, Paspalum and Melinis. These tall grasses are characteristic of the Guinea Savannah proper.

In the Northern Guinea Savannah species such as Isoberlinia doka and I. tomentosa form the bulk of the scattered woodland. Also found are Locust Bean trees (Parkia filicoidea), Shea Butter trees (Butyrospermum parkii) and Mangoes (Mangifera indica). Comparatively, there are fewer trees in the Northern Guinea Savannah than in the Southern Guinea Savannah and the trees are not as tall as those found in the Southern Guinea Savannah. Most of the tall grasses found in the derived Guinea Savannah, are also found in the Guinea Savannah, however, they are less luxuriant. The appearance of this zone differs from season to season. During the rainy season, the whole zone is green and covered with tall grasses that grow and reach maturity rapidly and thus become fibrous and tough. In the dry season they tend to die and disappear and one can see for kilometers without obstruction. This clearing is due to several periodical bush-burning that occurs during the dry season between November and April, carried out to either assist in farm clearance or hunting.


THE SUDAN SAVANNAH (Short grass savannah)

The Sudan Savannah zone is found in the Northwest stretching from the Sokoto plains in the West, through the Northern sections of the Central highland. It spans almost the entire Northern States bordering the Niger Republic and covers over one quarter of Nigeria&-8217;s total area.


                    Map showing the Sudan Savanna region of Nigeria

                        Courtesy: ojo tolulope Samuel



The low average annual rainfall of 657.3mm and the prolonged dry season (6-9 months)[iii] sustain fewer trees and shorter grasses than the Guinea Savannah. It is characterized by abundant short grasses of 1.5 &-8211; 2m and few stunted trees hardly above 15m. It is by far the most densely human populated zone of Northern Nigeria. Thus, the vegetation has undergone severe destruction in the process of clearing land for the cultivation of important economic crops such as Cotton, Groundnut, Sorghum, Millet, Maize and Wheat. The grass vegetation is interspersed with farms and thick bush trees such as Shea Butter tree (Butyrospermum parkii) and Acacia albida. Also found in the zone are Locust Bean trees (Parkia filicoidea), Tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica) and Mango (Mangifera indica). A large portion of this zone falls within the Tsetse Fly free belt of West Africa and it is excellent for the rearing and breeding of ruminant Livestock (Cattle, Goats, Sheep, Donkeys, Horses and Camels). The nomadic Fulani roam about this zone in search of fodder and water for their Livestock.


THE SAHEL SAVANNAH (Marginal savannah)

This is the last ecological zoological zone with proximity to the fringes of the fast- encroaching Sahara desert. Occupies about 18 130 km2 of the extreme Northeast corner of Nigeria and is the last vegetation zone in the extreme northern part of the country, close to Lake Chad, where the dry season lasts for up to 9 months and the total average annual rainfall is hardly up to 700mm. Here the vegetation is not only sparse but the grasses are very short. As a rule this zone is not cultivated without irrigation. The people found in this zone are the nomadic herdsmen, and they are careful not to burn the grass found because sparse as it is it provides the only pasture available for their grazing Livestock. It is characterized by either very short grasses of not more than one meter high located in –between sand dunes. The area is dominated by several varieties of the Acacia and Date – palms. The Lake Chad basin, with its seasonally flooded undulating plains, supports a few tall trees. At the same time, the drainage system of rivers and streams into the Lake Chad basin has favored irrigation, without which cultivation would be virtually impossible. The increasing aridity in the area accounts for the progressive drying up of the Lake Chad.



The Montane zone is located in the high altitude areas of the country like Jos Plateau, Mandara, Adamawa Mountain and Obudu Plateau. The zone is characterized by low average annual temperature (21.5ºC). The average annual rainfall is 1450mm. The Montane zone vegetation is covered with grass at the top and base, while forests cover the slopes, favored by moisture-laden wind. The zone has a great potential for the cultivation of Maize, Wheat, Carrot, Cabbage and other exotic vegetables but the mountainous nature of the zone prevents commercial farming. The Fulani who live in great numbers in the area turn the available fields into good pasture for their grazing animals.

The main constraints on feed resources in all the zones are the destruction of perennial tree cover for firewood, bush fires caused by hunters; livestock rearing and overgrazing. These man-made constraints often lead to serious degradation of the pastoral resources and in some cases to an irreversible process of desertification, especially in the Sahel zone.




[i] Oyenuga, V.A. (1967). Agriculture in Nigeria. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). FAO, Rome, Italy. 308 pp.

[ii] Source: Materials from

[iii]  F.A. Sowunmi and  J. O. A kintola (2010)  Effect of Climatic Variability on Maize Production in Nigeria. Research Journal of Environmental and Earth Sciences 2(1): 19-30,




All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.