While oil may be Nigeria’s breadwinner, agriculture remains the most important component of the country’s economy. The sector is the largest employer and accounts for 23.9% of GDP. And yet for many years the agriculture industry took a back seat to hydrocarbons, with Nigeria rising to be a key global producer. However, with the fall in the price of oil, the country’s high dependence on imports and a weakening currency, domestic agricultural is taking centre stage once again. In the coming years, the West African nation is likely to become a substantial producer of staple food crops, such as wheat and rice. At the same time, moves are afoot to rejuvenate traditionally strong segments like cassava and cocoa. While it remains to be seen whether the government can meet many of the ambitious targets it has set for these crops, the commitment to reducing imports and inflationary pressures, and boosting lending should ensure that production continues to increase, edging Nigeria closer to self-sufficiency and strong export growth.
This chapter contains an interview with Audu Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.