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Nigeria’s Agricultural Sector: 40.2 Million Households Driving the Sector

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Nigeria’s agricultural sector has received a significant boost, with a recent report revealing a massive 40.2 million households actively involved in farming activities. This data, unveiled in the 2022 National Agricultural Sample Census Report (NASC), sheds light on the true extent of Nigeria’s agricultural powerhouse.

Spearheaded by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS) in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), World Bank, and other stakeholders, the NASC report paints a detailed picture of the Nigerian agricultural landscape. It delves into the size and structure of farms, land use patterns, crop production practices, livestock and fisheries activities, and the use of agricultural inputs.

A Diverse Farming Landscape

The report highlights the diversity within Nigeria’s agricultural sector. While a significant 91% of agricultural households cultivate crops, nearly half (48%) also raise livestock. This integrated approach to farming allows families to meet their own nutritional needs and potentially generate income through the sale of surplus produce and livestock.

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Livestock rearing is particularly prevalent in Jigawa State, where a staggering 84.2% of agricultural households are involved, followed closely by Bauchi State at 79.7%. Interestingly, Benue State emerges as the leader in poultry farming, with 65.2% of agricultural households raising birds, closely followed by Ebonyi State at 63.3%.

Crops Take Center Stage

The NASC report dives deep into the specific crops cultivated by Nigerian households. Maize, guinea corn, and rice are the dominant cereal crops, grown by an estimated 80%, 40%, and 37% of crop-producing households respectively. Cassava remains a staple root crop, with 53% of households cultivating it, followed by yam (40%) and cocoyam (24%).

Legumes, a vital source of protein, are also widely cultivated. Beans and cowpeas take the lead, with nearly half (46%) of crop-producing households growing them. Okro, a popular vegetable in Nigerian cuisine, is cultivated by an impressive 41% of households.

The report also reveals regional variations in crop cultivation. Groundnuts, for example, are most commonly grown in Benue State, where a remarkable 81% of households cultivate them. This data provides valuable insights for policymakers and agricultural development agencies, allowing them to tailor support and resources to specific regions and crops.

The Role of Women in Nigeria’s Agricultural Sector

The NASC report sheds light on the significant role women play in Nigeria’s agricultural sector. While the majority of households are male-headed (84%), a notable 16% are led by women. Interestingly, states like Anambra and Enugu boast a higher proportion of female-headed agricultural households (around 38%) compared to the national average.

Furthermore, the report reveals a fascinating trend – female-headed households tend to focus more on fruits and nut cultivation compared to other crop categories. In Enugu and Anambra States, an impressive 37% of female-headed households cultivate fruits and nuts, highlighting their unique contribution to the agricultural landscape.

Data-Driven Decisions for a Brighter Future

The NASC report has been hailed as a game-changer for Nigeria’s agricultural sector. Stakeholders like Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, emphasized the importance of the data in driving evidence-based policy and decision-making.

Speaking on Nigeria's Agricultural Sector report

Previously, outdated and insufficient data hindered effective planning and resource allocation. The NASC report addresses this gap, offering a detailed and accurate picture of agricultural activities at the household level. This newfound knowledge is essential for propelling growth and development in the sector.

Nigeria’s Statistician-General, Adeyemi Adeniran, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the report’s significance for monitoring progress towards key agricultural indicators. The NASC report, along with future outputs from the National Agricultural Sample Survey, will serve as a crucial resource for national agricultural planning, implementation, and impactful policy interventions.

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With 40.2 million households driving Nigeria’s agricultural sector, the nation is poised for significant growth and a more secure food future. The NASC report empowers stakeholders to make data-driven decisions that will benefit not only farmers but also the entire nation.

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