Major forms of agriculture in Nigeria

Major forms of agriculture in Nigeria

Nigeria’s climate is perfect for different forms of agriculture. Our country is geographically located in the tropical zone. The local weather conditions are good for growing vegetables in different parts of the country and perfect for cultivating various types of crops in many areas. In addition, Nigeria cultivates many animals and plants for the domestic market and for export. If you are interested in major forms of agriculture in Nigeria, you can learn about them in our post.

Major forms of agriculture in Nigeria

Nearly 30 percent of Nigerian people are involved in agriculture. This economic sector is tremendously important here. Only imagine, about 30 percent of country’s land area (this is over 80 million acres) can be used for farming. Farmers produce more than 80 percent of the food in Nigeria.

What branches of agriculture are most popular here? Each part of the country has its own features in terms of agriculture. For example, the Southern areas of Nigeria have long rains and such humidity works well for growing cocoa, coffee, potatoes, melon, cotton, rice etc. The areas in the Eastern part of Nigeria and near the coast have too many rains which lead to soil erosion and inability to plant palms, cocoyam etc. The Northern areas are mostly used for cultivating livestock. You can find horses, donkeys, camels, goats, sheep and other animals here.

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Agriculture in Nigeria

4 types of agriculture

What is agriculture in the first place? It’s the science and practice of cultivating the soil for planting and growing different crops and farming animals for wool, food, and other various products. Generally, this science is divided into 4 types:

  • subsistence farming
  • commercial farming
  • shifting cultivation
  • pastoralism

The first type refers to a system whereby cultivators grow crops for both personal consumption and exchange. In other words, the small piece of land is used to produce more product per acre than similar subsistence lands.

From the name, you can guess that the main goal of commercial farming is to produce agricultural products in order to receive profit from selling these products. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, this type of agriculture is not developed as much as it should be. Many farmers need support from the government to build a successful farming business.

Cultivation by shifts is a popular system when farmers use plots of land to grow crops temporary and then let the land revert to its natural vegetation. The farmer works with different plots and always abandons the ones that were used for agriculture and now need some rest.

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Pastoralism is a type of agriculture when farmers travel with their domesticated livestock in search for better pasturage.

Goat farming in Nigeria

Forms of agriculture in Nigeria

There are approximately 92 million hectares of land in Nigeria. Our country’s climate is perfect for the cultivation of over 80 million of hectares but farmers use no more than 34 million hectares for growing crops and breeding domestic animals.

The agricultural sector is getting a lot of attention from small to big enterprises. Still, most of the land holdings are scattered across the country. Nigerian farmers typically have small holdings. A large number of farms in Nigeria are smaller than one hectare. These lands are cultivated by ordinary people who cannot afford innovative tools and still prefer following the traditional agricultural methods.

Forms of agriculture in Nigeria

As we have already mentioned, a lot of local farmers are followers of subsistence agricultural method so most of the food they grow is for their family needs only, not for the market. Locals use the simplest tools and follow the shifting cultivation tradition.

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The 2 main groups of products cultivated in Nigeria are:

  • crops grown for local consumption
  • export food

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Rice production

What are the most popular branches of agriculture here?

  • Nigerian farmers grow different crops, fruits, and vegetables. This includes peanuts, corn, yams, sorghum, manioc, sugar cane, soybeans, palm oil and other products.
  • Nigerians cultivate animals to produce meat, milk products, wool and other different products. The main types of meat are produced from chicken, goats, and cows. The most commonly bred animals are sheep, pigs, horses, cattle, and goats. The main birds are ducks, chicken, turkey etc.
  • Also, Nigeria produces cocoa, rubber and cotton lint for foreign exchange.

Now you know the major forms of agriculture in Nigeria. These forms, to a large extrent, depend on the economic situation in the country. But on the other hand, the economy of Nigeria depends on the forms of agriculture used and on its level of development.

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