Nigeria’s agric sector shows strength despite insecurity, pandemic

Despite the pandemic obstructing the country’s fragmented food supply chain in 2020 and the issues of terrorism, banditry, and herdsmen attacks that put farmers and their investments in peril, Nigeria’s agricultural sector still recorded a significant growth that supported the economy to exit recession.

Also, climate change impacted the farming cycle in 2020 as farmers in the south experienced drought while those in the north had excessive rainfall that caused floods to destroy thousands of farmlands, leading to a shortfall of grains in 2021.

The real annual sector grew by 2.17 percent in 2020, lower by 0.19 percent when compared to 2019. The sector contributed 26.21percent to the total growth recorded for the period, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows.

Growth in the agriculture sector was driven by output in crop production accounting for 91.4 percent of the overall nominal growth of the sector.

Read Also: How agric investment, boost to consumption helped Nigeria exit recession

Key players in the sector who spoke with Businessday attributed the growth in the sector to the resilience of smallholder farmers and the strong potentials in the sector that can spur growth amid difficulties.

“The agricultural sector recorded growth because farmers were very resilience despite the challenges experienced last year,” said Ayodeji Balogun, chief executive officer, AFEX Commodities Exchange in a telephone response to questions.

Balogun stated that it will require a longer time to start seeing the impact of the challenges experienced last year on the sector. “It takes time before the sector can be affected.

He noted that the insecurity issues in the country are yet to affect agriculture at a macro level as most of them are localised while calling on the government to address it in totality before the situation gets out of hand.

Agriculture in Africa’s most populous country became an option for diversification owing to its vast potentials to drive a more sustainable economic growth in terms of job creation and revenue diversification when the country entered recession in 2016.

Since then, the sector has helped snapped the Nigerian economy out from two consecutive recessions.

Abiodun Olorundenro, manager, Aquashoots said that the growth recorded by the sector despite the issues in 2020 reaffirms the potential in the agricultural sector to spur growth.

Also, Ibrahim Kabiru, national president, All Farmers Association questioned NBS data for the sector in 2020, stressing that the challenges that impacted the sector last year debilitate agricultural production.

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