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Spotlighting Nigeria’s Cash Crops

by Agric Economy
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cash crops

It’s no news anymore that Nigeria is fast returning to an agrarian society, with a focus on cash crops. It’s the only hope if the country must survive many things food insecurity hauls at her.

Agriculture is a significant industry in Nigeria, contributing more than 22% of the nation’s annual GDP and employing about 36% of the labor force, according to Taiwo Oyaniran, an associate director at PwC Nigeria.

On the other hand, In Nigeria, agricultural production is dominated by crop production, which accounts for 87,6% of total output. Livestock (8,1%), fishing (3,2%), and forestry (1,1%) are next. Of all agricultural exports, sesame seeds, cashew nuts, and cocoa beans make up more than 50%.

What does this say? A lot! You, your loved ones and friends can start growing these ‘Nigeria’s most important crops,’ like we like to term it. While there are a lot of cash crops, we’ll be focusing on three in this post.


Based on a current investigation, Nigeria exports over 80% of its cashew harvest. Only about 5% of Nigeria’s cashews are processed; the vast majority are exported in-shell. According to Agbaje Lateef, professor of microbiology at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) in Ogbomoso, and Dr. Adekunle Adeoye, lecturer in food science at LAUTECH, the business employs about 600 000 people. According to Business Incorporated, Nigeria does not fully benefit from this high-value crop because only a small portion of the crop is processed here. This simply beams a green light for anyone to become a cashew grower in the country.

Cocoa beans

According to Statista, Nigeria is the fifth-largest exporter of cocoa beans in the world, with 216 700t (or roughly 95% of the total) of the crop exported in one year alone. Note that the Netherlands and Germany are Nigeria’s two biggest export markets for cocoa beans. The Nigerian Cocoa Farmers’ Association is aiming to produce 500 000t by 2024. All these simply mean that you, yes YOU can go into cocoa production.

Sesame seed

Nigeria’s northern and central regions are major producers of sesame seed, which is a significant source of foreign revenue. However, production has decreased in recent years, coming in at 490 000t in 2020–21 as opposed to 510 000t the season before. Interestingly, Sesame grows fairly quickly; three to four months after planting, the crop is ready for harvest. Therefore, are you looking for what crop to start farming and catching out real quick? Please feel free to look the way of sesame seed. 

There you have it! Trust this serves. The spotlight shone on these ones as over 50% of Nigeria’s agricultural exports have remained cashew nuts, sesame seeds, and cocoa beans.

Would you consider any of them? Please tell us in the comments.

Don’t forget to always come back to the Agric Economy blog for your farm and food updates. Thanks for reading.

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