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Ebonyi leads as Nigeria’s agriculture hotspot in first census in 31 years

Ogun moves to incentivise 160,000 farmers on food crops production

A recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has identified Ebonyi as the state with the highest concentration of agricultural activities in Nigeria.

According to the National Agricultural Sample Census (NASC) Report 2022, Ebonyi State led the pack with 99.5 percent of agricultural households engaged in crop cultivation, while only 48 percent of households in Lagos were involved in crop production.

The NBS notes that out of 91 percent of agricultural households involved in crop production, Benue – Nigeria’s food basket state – was the highest state engaged in groundnut cultivation, with 81 percent count.

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Increasing attacks in the country’s food basket state are worsening the plight of farmers, who are already faced with a myriad of crises, threatening the country’s food production.

A report by SBM Intelligence in April 2024 revealed that over 690 deaths and 130 casualties have been recorded in thirteen months in Benue.

The NASC report further revealed that out of 91 percent of agricultural households, 35 percent practised only crop cultivation while 48 percent reported raising different types of livestock.

Also, Jigawa with 84.2 percent was the highest state in terms of households engaged in livestock production, followed by Bauchi at 79.7 percent.

The NBS said for poultry, the highest percentage of agricultural households was recorded in Benue at 65.2 percent, followed by Ebonyi at 63.3 percent.

“While 42.5 percent raised poultry, most commonly chickens, while five percent practised fisheries,” the NBS said in its report.

According to the NBS, maize, guinea corn, and rice were the most commonly cultivated crops, while cassava, yam, and cocoyam were the most popular root/tuber crops. Beans/cowpeas were the main leguminous and vegetable crops cultivated by 46 percent of crop-producing agricultural households.

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Abubakar Kyari, minister of agriculture and food security, hailed the NASC report as a significant milestone in Nigeria’s agricultural sector, providing critical data for policy decisions and strategic planning.

Ebonyi is primarily an agricultural state. It is a leading producer of rice, yam, potatoes, maize, beans, and cassava among other crops.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics on X, the NASC report marks the first National Agricultural Sample Census since 1993.