OPPORTUNITIES IN AGRICULTURE
The agricultural potential of Nigeria is barely being tapped and this explains the inability of the country to meet the ever-increasing demand for agricultural produce. Although the agricultural sector remains a dominant employer of labor, serious investment is needed across the board to enhance production and increase the contribution of the sector to GDP. Investment is required in the following priority activities:
Crop production to achieve food security and to provide industrial raw materials. Potentials exist for the following crops:
- Cereals: Maize, rice, sorghum, corn, millet, wheat.
- Root crops: Cassava, yam, ginger, potato, coco yam.
- Legumes: Soya beans, groundnuts, cowpeas.
- Fruits: Mango, banana, oranges, guava, papaw, pineapple.
- Vegetables: Cabbage, green pepper, carrots, lettuce, spice, onions, melons.
- Tree crops: Oil palm, cocoa, rubber, coconut, kola nut, coffee, she nuts, cotton, cashew nut, sugar cane.
- Commercial growing of flowers and ornamentals and experimental orchards for more temperate fruits-apples, grape vines and pears have been successfully established in the high plateau regions.
- Food processing and preservation involving industries that will use agricultural produce as raw materials.
- Livestock and Fisheries production which possess great potentials for development. Grazing lands are abundant, facilities for animal feed production are plentiful, and the in-land rivers, lakes and coastal creeks are sufficient to augment ocean fishery resources.
- Agricultural inputs supply and machinery, water resources development especially for flood control infrastructure and irrigation.
- Commodity trading and transportation.
- Development and fabrication of appropriate small-scale mechanized technologies for on-farm processing and secondary processing of agricultural produce.
- Exploitation of timber and wood processing activities. A wide range of wood resources abound.
AVERAGE ANNUAL (1990-1998) OUTPUT OF MAJOR AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES IN NIGERIA, CROP PRODUCTION (‘000 TONES)
B. Grain legumes or Pulses
C. Root Tubers
Coco yam 1589
Irish potato 85
Sweet potato 812
D. In Industrial Crops
Sugar Cane 755
Palm kernel 742
She nut 265
Palm Oil 784
These are widely used in food and beverage sub-sectors like flour mills, breweries, chemical, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, wood products and industrial starch.