Nigeria's transformation into a major oil producer in the late 1960s overwhelmed its status as one of the most promising agricultural producers in the world. Between 1960 and 1969, net exports of agricultural products constituted 6 to 7 percent of Nigeria's GDP and the country was able to feed itself.
But as the country began to depend on oil to drive growth and development, Nigeria's status as an agricultural powerhouse steeply declined, and by 1975 it became a net importer of agricultural products. In 2013, Nigeria's agricultural net imports reached $3 billion, according to a World Bank estimate, with the largest imports, by value, including wheat, sugar, rice, and fish.
And, yet, Nigeria's agricultural story need not be finished. It has abundant resources to support a more substantial agricultural economy: large areas of arable land, two of Africa’s largest rivers, and a large, youthful workforce. As former President of Nigeria Obasanjo wrote in Forbes in 2014, agriculture could become the new oil for Nigeria, providing long-term sustainable growth in the new world of low energy prices.
In this series, Knoema presents data and visuals on Nigeria's agricultural sector, land use, and water resources as well as the crowdsourced retail food prices, collected by contributors of our MarketTap program.
Sources: World Development Indicators (WDI); FAO Value of Agricultural production; FAO AQUASTAT; OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2018-2027; Food Balance Sheets; Socio-Economic Data, Nigeria 2014; Agriculture Sector of Nigeria, 2012; Regional Geographic Data of Nigeria, 2010; Food Prices
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