Agriculture contributes 22 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP and employs over 70 per cent of the active population. Nigeria has 79 million ha of fertile land. However, only 32 million ha (46 per cent) of these are cultivated and less than 10 per cent of irrigable land is currently under irrigation. 90 per cent of agricultural output is accounted for by smallholder farmers with less than 2 ha under cropping and low per ha yield of crops.
There is therefore potential to transform agriculture into a commercial and profitable business. Special attention would be directed to managing the factors of production efficiently, as infrastructure development is a major lever to reduce production cost.
A number of current infrastructural issues require attention. These include:
- insufficient harnessing of Nigeria’s surface and underground water for use during the dry season, due to inadequate irrigation facilities;
- high levels of post-harvest losses, especially during transportation due to poor infrastructural linkages to markets;
- inadequate processing facilities and storage systems, which are also responsible for post-harvest losses; and
- very little value addition of agricultural commodities via industrial processing, which is a crucial requirement in order to become a continental powerhouse in agriculture and related industries.
A comprehensive industrialisation plan is required to unlock Nigeria’s agriculture potential. The Nigerian government, as part of its broader Agricultural Transformation Agenda, is therefore implementing Staple Crop Processing Zones (SCPZ) as a tool for creating integrated, crop-focused platforms for accelerating private-sector investment in value-added agro-processing. This addresses a set of central objectives, i.e., reducing food imports, increasing value-addition through processing reducing post-harvest losses, reducing operative costs for agro-processors, and creating jobs and driving rapid rural growth. An initial set of SCPZs in 19 states are planned.
Current agricultural infrastructure development plans include the establishment of:
- 19 Staple Crop Processing Centres in all regions of Nigeria;
- 80 agro input centres (53 completed);
- 8 agro-processing centres near existing strategic grain reserves;
- 18 agro-industrial estates (3 per region);
- 6 export crop handling, preservation and conditioning centres (3 are at various stages of completion);
- 17 integrated large-scale rice mills (2 completed); and
- 40 rice processing plants and 18 high-quality cassava flour plants.
The relevance of water to the national development of Nigeria is progressively increasing with rapid population growth, urbanisation, agriculture and industrial development. Water’s usefulness in different capacities for direct human consumption, agricultural irrigation, fisheries, hydropower, industrial production, environmental protection and industrial effluents establishes the paramount importance of effectively managing this resource.
There are abundant water resources in Nigeria to meet all needs if properly harnessed (estimated at 267.3 bm3 of surface water and 52 bm3 of groundwater). There are also more than 200 dams with combined storage capacity of 34 bm3 and the capability to irrigate 500,000 ha of land (currently just under 300,000 ha are equipped for irrigation, out of 3.1 million ha of irrigable land). 19 dams have small hydropower facilities, with the combined potential capacity to generate about 3,600 MW of electricity.
However, Nigeria’s water resources are not yet effectively utilised. National access to potable water is only 60 per cent and sanitation is only 31 per cent. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets to be met in 2015 are 75 per cent for water supply and 65 per cent for sanitation. Current low levels of access can be attributed to inadequate infrastructure to meet demand, inadequate use of the existing infrastructure and poor operation and maintenance of that infrastructure.
There are currently about 30 ongoing new dam projects (Ogbese, Nkari, Adada, Oturkpo, Kashimbila, Ile-Ife, Galma, among others), and about 32 ongoing irrigation projects with completion status between 7 per cent and 85 per cent (Sabke, Zobe, Jibiya, Sepetiri, Hadejia Valley, Kano River and middle Ogun, among others).
Mining currently contributes less than 1 per cent to Nigeria’s GDP. It is conducted at very small scale and currently employs approximately 450,000 people directly and 2 million people indirectly; and the sector thus has great potential for generating more employment opportunities and wealth creation. Given adequate funding, the sector is capable of generating employment opportunities for over five million people in the short term, and that the industry could contribute 3-6 per cent to GDP in the medium-term.
Nigeria has, among others, deposits of coal, gold, columbite, tantalite, bitumen, iron ore and uranium. Coal is found in Kogi, Nassarawa, Enugu, Gombe, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Cross River, and Benue states. Gold deposits are found in Northern Nigeria, most prominently near Maru, Anka, Malele, Tsohon Birnin, Gwari-Kwaga, Gurmana, Bin Yauri, Okolom-Dogondaji. Columbite and tantalite are found in Nassarawa State near the Jos Plateau, as well as in several areas in southeast Nigeria. Bitumen deposits are found in Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Edo States. Uranium deposits are found in Cross River, Adamawa, Taraba, Plateau, Bauchi and Kano States. Nigeria has several deposits of iron ore, but the purest deposits are in and around Itakpe in Kogi State.