What You Need to Know
The top 10 agricultural exports in Nigeria consist of staple crops that are incredibly important to the economy as a whole. In 2014, the gross export value of these products was $6 billion USD, up from $5 billion USD in 2013 and $4 billion USD in 2012. These figures illustrate the importance of Nigerian agricultural exports and how this sector will continue to grow over time. But what are these products? Where do they come from? Who do they benefit? To find out more about this subject, you can check out our complete guide to the top 10 agricultural exports in Nigeria below.
1) sesame seeds
Sesame seeds are commonly used to make sesame oil. The oil is an edible seed oil, rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. It has a nutty flavor and aroma, which makes it useful as a condiment on top of cooked foods such as rice and noodles, or added to salad dressings. Sesame is also used to make liqueurs and some types of alcohol, including sake, takju (Korean rice wine), chouju (Chinese rice wine), maotai (Chinese liquor) and horilka (Ukrainian vodka). These beverages have a long history of production in Eastern Asia but are also drunk today.
It may be an unfamiliar grain, but sorghum is a major crop grown in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and Asia. It’s drought tolerant, requiring less water than rice or corn. The crop has a neutral taste and can be used as a sweetener; it also contains more protein than most other grains. In 2013, Nigeria was one of several countries that exported large amounts of sorghum. According to figures from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Nigeria exported $731 million worth of sorghum during that year alone-30 percent of all its agricultural exports that year. Meanwhile, Niger reported $23 million in sorghum exports in 2013, accounting for 73% of total agricultural exports.
3) Hibiscus flower
Hibiscus is perhaps most known for its beautiful flowers, which are used widely for decoration. Of course, there’s much more to these plants than simply their aesthetic appeal. They have an array of health benefits, including being rich in vitamin C and antioxidants; they’re also widely used in medicine (especially as a diuretic). In addition to using hibiscus as tea, you can eat dried petals or extract oil from them (though use extreme caution when taking oils internally—consult a doctor before doing so).
4) Split ginger
Split ginger is one of our favorite crops—not only does it have a delightful flavor, but its bright red color, aromatic quality, and versatility make it a popular export among farmers. Try roasting, pickling, or boiling your split ginger and you’ll see why we like it so much! When split ginger is dried and turned into candied ginger or crystallized ginger, you’re looking at one of Nigeria’s most popular exports. It has been estimated that between 2010 and 2014, we imported close to $3 billion worth of agricultural goods from countries across Europe, Asia, and South America. As for 2015? Experts predict that we may soon become one of Africa’s largest agriculture exporters!
5) Chili pepper
Chilli peppers are an important part of Nigerian cuisine, particularly for adding heat to a dish. In addition to being used for cooking and seasoning, chili peppers also provide healthy dietary benefits; like most plants, chili peppers contain antioxidants and nutrients. One particular type of pepper is considered an important export from Nigeria as it’s used across much of Africa: the African Bird’s Eye Chili Pepper. Like most of its kind, it contains hotness, but not very high compared with other chilli types such as Habanero or Scotch Bonnet. For that reason, it’s often added alongside another spicier pepper such as cayenne or habanero in order to achieve a desired level of spiciness.
Considered a luxury fruit in many parts of Africa, pineapples were an early cash crop for colonial Nigeia. Pineapples are still one of its top exports, with about half of its production exported to Europe and North America, making it one of the biggest providers globally. According to the World Bank Group, it’s expected that global pineapple sales will continue to increase over time and can be attributed at least partially to demand from growing economies such as China. Of all its exports, however, pineapples make up only 0.2% of Nigeria’s total gross domestic product (GDP) and represents less than 1% of overall exports.
Agriculture has long been a major part of the Nigerian economy’s growth. About 60% of Nigerians rely on agriculture for their primary source of income, so it is important that we understand what our country’s main agricultural exports are, and why they are such an important piece of our economy. One of Nigeria’s most popular agricultural products is yams – in fact, yams made up about half (44%) of all Nigerian agricultural exports last year.
8) Cocoa beans
While Nigeria is well-known for its oil exports, it’s actually one of Africa’s top cocoa bean exporters, shipping over 100,000 tons per year. While primarily shipped to Italy and Spain (the chocolate powerhouses of Europe), cocoa beans make their way around the globe, supplying chocolate factories in China and India.
9) Groundnuts (peanuts)
Groundnuts are a staple food crop for many of Nigeria’s farmers, and also help fuel industry growth. The country is one of Africa’s top exporters of peanuts, supplying much of West Africa with its raw materials. Most groundnuts from Nigeria make their way into peanut butter and oil products sold overseas.
10) Soy bean
According to data from FAO, Nigeria is one of the biggest producers of soybeans in Africa. The country produces about 4 million tons of soybeans per annum. That’s a huge increase from just a decade ago, when production was significantly less than 1 million tons. Although most Nigerians don’t eat as much soybeans as they do maize or cassava, it is still an important part of their diet.