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History of Agriculture In Nigeria (Problems & Prospects)

Across the globe, Nigeria is one of the countries endowed with enormous agricultural wealth and the number of crops grown in Nigeria is a clear proof that the country’s land is arable. In 1990, about 81 million of Nigeria’s total of 91 million land hectares were declared suitable for growing crops. Besides optimum temperature, adequate rainfall and fertile soil are part of the factors which make agriculture a fruitful activity to practice in Nigeria. 

The history of agriculture in Nigeria is so significant that the country’s flag portrays a green colour which stands for the vast agricultural potentials of the country. Precisely, agriculture contributes more than 70% of livelihood for the Nigerian populace. With regard to this, it has become the largest employer of labour in the country.

History of agriculture in Nigeria is as important as the political history of the country. Like many other African countries, Nigeria depended heavily on agriculture prior to the arrival of colonial forces. At the time, many Nigerians fed themselves from agricultural produce and in many households, subsistence farming was highly embraced.

History of Agriculture In Nigeria (Problems & Prospects)

Due to the significant influence of agriculture, agricultural products served as commodities under the extinct trade by the barter system. By the standards of this trading system, people exchanged goods for goods and this was predominant across some African countries including Nigeria.

Despite Nigeria’s discovery of crude oil in 1958 and the great concentration which has been centered on the oil sector, agriculture has remained the most significant sector of the Nigerian economy.

In this article, we have broadly discussed the problems, prospects, and history of agriculture in Nigeria. If you need to review the problems and prospects of agriculture in Nigeria probably for academic purposes, this very article will be of great importance to you.

Problems Of Agriculture In Nigeria

  • Crude Agricultural Technology

Crude technology is one of the problems affecting agriculture in Nigeria. For agricultural activities to be carried out efficiently and conveniently, the modern mechanism is needed but it is quite sad that most of the Nigerian farmers are still using crude implements for cultivation of land.

Nigeria’s crude agricultural technology makes it difficult for some farmers to cultivate a large expanse of land. Normally, heavy-powered implements like tractors and bulldozers are needed to prepare a large tract of land for agricultural purposes but many Nigerian farmers do not have access to these implements and the Nigerian government has not geared any meaningful efforts towards solving this problem.

  • Lack Of Adequate And Safe Storage Facilities

Many Nigerian farmers do not have safe storage facilities for their agricultural produce. This, in turn, results in the destruction of agricultural produce by pests. Another problem this causes is the shortage of supply in the market.

After harvest, agricultural yields are expected to be stored temporarily in proper storage facilities to prevent them from all forms of destruction especially in the case of perishable products. However, lack of storage facilities has prevented many Nigerian farmers from yielding reasonable profit from their agricultural produce. Candidly, farmers need to store their farm produce until they find buyers for them probably in the market but due to an absence of storage facilities, some Nigerian farmers have lost the bulk of their perishable products to pests.

  • Inadequate Technical Know-How

In Nigeria, many people practise farming without adequate knowledge of how it is done. The bad consequence of this is that these people hardly benefit from agriculture. Nowadays, some farming practices haven’t yielded success because many Nigerians think they can venture into agriculture without prior knowledge.

Besides the fact that many Nigerian farmers lack mechanized farming tools, some of those who have these mechanized tools do not have the basic skills of how to utilize them. Therefore, inadequate technical understanding of agriculture has resulted in setbacks for many Nigerian farmers.

  • Ignorance

Amongst all the problems of agriculture in Nigeria, ignorance happens to be one of the most crucial problems. Many Nigerians, especially youths, see agriculture as an activity best suited for poor people. Due to the disregard, many Nigerians have for agriculture, there hasn’t been a substantial level of agricultural growth in Nigeria.

Besides being the basic source of shelter, sustenance and many resources for man, agricultural is very important because it paves the way for enormous employment opportunities. However, many Nigerian youths ignore agriculture and fail to consider how the country’s vast agricultural endowments can be used in generating massive wealth.

  • Shortage Of Infrastructural Facilities

Infrastructural facilities such as tarred roads, adequate water supply, and social services are deficient in many Nigerian areas such as towns and villages. Consequently, a multitude of Nigerian farmers finds it difficult to practise agriculture in the most lucrative manner. Most especially in rural areas, some farmers lack adequate water needed to facilitate the growth of crops.

Nigeria’s level of agricultural development is yet to reach any reasonable height and one of the reasons is that many rural areas are not equipped with tarred roads. In consequence of this, inefficient transportation of agricultural produce to the market has become one of the problems farmers encounter.

  • Lack Of Adequate Farm Records

Many Nigerian farmers lack accountability when it comes to keeping farm records. Due to the crude manner in which agriculture is practised most especially by rural farmers, it becomes difficult to ascertain whether profit is being generated or not. Agricultural gains or losses are bound to set in and this is why farmers need to keep adequate farm records. Also, doing that makes it easy for farmers to see the roots of agricultural losses and ensure corrective measures are taken.

Still On History Of Agriculture In Nigeria, So What Are The Prospects?

The Prospects Of Agriculture In Nigeria


Although the Nigerian agricultural sector has experienced drawbacks over the years, we can affirm that there are auspicious prospects for it. In accordance with the directive of the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria), there will be a favourable increase in the distribution of loans for agricultural purposes. With a view to promoting agriculture and fostering Nigeria’s economic growth at large, banks are encouraged to grant loans to farmers. As implied in recent reports, the increase in agricultural loans has encouraged many farmers (especially in the rural areas) to continue adding to Nigeria’s volume of agricultural production.


Agriculture in Nigeria is the basis for industrial development as it provides raw materials used for industrial production. Improvement in agriculture will boost Nigeria’s industrial sector. If the Nigerian government channels robust investment into the agricultural sector, the volume of agricultural production will be increased and this, in turn, will favour the growth of industrialisation in the country. Also, primary agricultural activities such as the extraction of minerals are vital and if they can be encouraged, there will be a vast supply of raw materials needed for industrial activities.

Improved industrialisation will surely enhance Nigeria’s level of economic growth but for industrialisation to peak in Nigeria, agricultural activities must be supported massively.


Based on the CBN’s credit guidelines, there will be a significant improvement in credit allocation for agricultural purposes. Also, more funds will be generated from merchant banks for the development of the agriculture sector..


Agriculture is obviously one of the potential sectors to limit the incidence of unemployment in Nigeria. Nigeria’s rate of unemployment is quite alarming but if great attention is focused on agriculture, employment opportunities will be created for millions of Nigerians. Though much concentration is centred on the oil sector, agriculture remains the largest employing sector in Nigeria. Currently, agriculture contributes more than 55% of the employment in Nigeria’s workforce.

Nigeria’s enormous land and luxuriant vegetation are suitable for agricultural purposes. If the Nigerian government can harness these potentials effectively, agriculture will be boosted significantly. Also, agriculture will remain a significant provider of future employment for the Nigerian populace.


Agriculture is the basic source of food and this illustrates the fact that food supply can’t be increased without the influence of agriculture. In recent times, Nigeria has been depending on importation in various capacities. Despite the vast agricultural potentials of the country, food supply is yet to reach reasonable standards in many parts of the country. Meanwhile, the consequential outcome of this is poverty for many Nigerians.

In order to lessen the rate of importation and widen the volume of the food supply, banks grant loans to farmers for agricultural purposes. If this can be done continuously, Nigeria will achieve a reasonable standard of food supply and excess importation of food will be discouraged.


On many grounds, agriculture is expected to improve Nigeria’s economy through the provision of food, resources and employment opportunities. Through agriculture, people will secure employment opportunities which can earn them reasonable amounts of income thereby raising their standards of living.

For Nigeria’s economy to develop tremendously, the standards of living of many Nigerians have to be increased. Practically, agriculture is one of the key factors to raising the people’s living standards on account of the fact that it provides employment opportunities.

That’s all about History of Agriculture In Nigeria (Problems & Prospects).


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