Economic Sector and Investment Opportunities
Nigeria ranks sixth worldwide and first in Africa in farm output. The agriculture sector accounts for about 18% of GDP and almost one-third of employment. Nigeria has 19 million heads of cattle, the largest in Africa. Although Nigeria is no longer a major exporter, due to local consumer boom, it is still a major producer of many agricultural products, including, cocoa, groundnuts (peanuts), rubber, and palm oil. Cocoa production, mostly from obsolete varieties and overage trees has increased from around 180,000 tons annually to 350,000 tons.
The country’s major agricultural products include cassava (tapioca), corn, cocoa, millet, palm oil, peanuts, rice, rubber, sorghum, and yams. Livestock production, is increasingly receiving government attention towards modernization and increased output. So is modern fishery providing employment for young entrepreneurs and adding nutritional value to staple foods. However, agriculture has not keep pace with Nigeria’s rapid population growth, such that the country, which once exported food, now imports a significant amount of food to sustain itself. However, efforts are being made towards making the country food sufficient again. Government’s economic diversification efforts in the recent past have focused majorly on agriculture sector and its impact is becoming gradually visible. The growth is driven by agriculture and industry, which shows that at last, after more than 50 years of expression of hope, the Nigerian economy is steadily on the road to diversification. The oil sector’s contribution to GDP is 9.61 percent, while the nonoil sector’s share is 90.39 percent. Rice production for instance, has seen an exponential increase due to concerted investment in the Agricultural sector. Milled rice production increased from 2.5 metric tons to 4 metric tons, and rice imports dropped from 580,000 metric tons in 2015 to 58,000 metric tons in 2016. Millions of dollars saved! One of the factors responsible for the positive performance of the economy since in Q1 2018 was the spending of about N1.5 trillion on infrastructure projects in 2017, a feat repeated in the following years till date.
In order to keep the pace and toward achieving food sufficiency, the government needs to devise ways and means to achieve this lofty objective, which is possible by ensuring agricultural infrastructure development including seeding, horticulture and equipment. This is also the window where a bilateral perspective for Nigeria-Russia agrarian sector opens up clearly. Further, the fact that Russia has been recorded as one of the top three agriculturally advanced countries following USA and China respectively (Simpson, 2010), Nigeria’s relationship with Russia should be enhanced.
Nigeria is blessed with large tracts of arable land which makes agriculture an important sector of the economy. Nigeria’s agricultural zones, which stretch from the tropical savanna in the north to the coastal rainforest in the south, and the mangrove of the Niger-delta complemented by tropical and semi-temperate weather prevalent across the country, promote the cultivation of a wide variety of agricultural produce from exotic fruits, vegetables, tree crops to root crops. The agriculture sector includes processing of agricultural produce, supply and distribution, storage facilities, agricultural mechanization, research and development, and development of small-scale technologies for on-farm, as well as secondary processing. Agricultural products with great potential include groundnuts, palm oil, cocoa, citrus fruits, maize, millet, cassava etc. The sector is open to both public-private participation and investment opportunities abound across the various value chains.