Agriculture has been regarded in recent times as the most viable route with which Nigeria can successfully meander from her current economic dilemma. This article is aimed at shedding some light on the role of agriculture in the Nigerian economy.
Agriculture involves the science, practice and occupation of cultivating land and raising crops. It also involves the feeding, breeding and raising of livestock. The main purpose of agriculture is to provide food and raw materials for human use.
Nigeria is currently poised to be a world power in the agricultural sector.
The fact that Nigeria is richly blessed with abundant human and natural resources is one point that has been consistently repeated in various fora. However, permit me to re-echo it with some statistical data.
As at the time of writing this article, 80% of the land mass in Nigeria was considered as good enough to support crop planting activities; that is the land is arable. This land area amounts to about 82 million hectares. Unfortunately, only about half of this arable land mass is being currently cultivate.
Agriculture currently contributes between 30 and 40 percent to the national gross domestic product (GDP) of the country with a huge majority of the rural population engaging in subsistence agriculture.
The relatively diverse variety of climatic conditions in Nigeria makes it possible to raise a wide range of crops across the country. The climate varies from the desert like and savannah climate in the north and central regions to the thick rain forests of the southern region.
The major crops grown in economic quantities in Nigeria are beans, sesame, cashew nuts, cassava, cocoa beans, groundnuts, gum Arabic, kolanut, maize, melon, millet, oil palm, plantain and banana, rice, rubber, sorghum, soybeans and yams.
Coupled with these crops, Nigeria also produces fruits such as pineapples, cherry and citrus (oranges, lemon, lime and tangerine)