The agriculture sector is responsible for approximately 80% of employment in Gombe State. The sector is a significant contributor to the state’s economy due to its high-value crops in combination with the gradual development of an agro-industry segment.

Ongoing Projects

According to the government, around 35% of land in Gombe State is used for crop cultivation, with the potential of expanding farming land by a further 6099 sq km. The principal crops in the state include groundnut, cotton, cowpea, pepper, tobacco and sugarcane, as well as food crop like maize, guinea corn, millet, rice, sorghum, cassava, okra and onion. The rich grazing land across the state makes it ideal for animal husbandry. Meanwhile, its extensive water resources provide low-cost irrigation opportunities for year-round production.

Fishing is a major economic activity for populations on large bodies of water, such as the Dadin Kowa dam, Balanga dam, and other rivers and lakes. In recent years Gombe State has seen an influx of fisherfolk from other states in the north-east region, owing to regional conflict. Programmes from international donors, such as the African Development Bank’s Inclusive Basic Services Delivery and Livelihood Empowerment Integrated Programme, support fishing and ensure that displaced persons have access to fishing equipment. Profitable fishing activities are being encouraged through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources’ 6-ha fish farm at Dadin Kowa, which consists of 12 production ponds, six nursery ponds and a modern fish hatchery. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development also owns a fish feed mill, which supports fish production.


In 2021 the federal government provided free inputs to farmers in Gombe State to boost crop production and support food security. The move was in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and flooding in the region. The provision of fertilisers was aimed at helping to produce crops in the dry and rainy seasons. It was also expected to generate more jobs by adding greater value to agriculture activities. In addition to this, the government provided new irrigation pumps and motorised equipment, and provided farming training. Consequently, state farmers were able to produce over 140,000 metric tonnes of rice during the 2021 rainy season, the highest yield among Nigeria’s 36 states.

There is significant potential for investment in the largely underdeveloped fisheries segment. The government could attract greater private funding via a law to manage activities and revenue. A steady source of power to dams could also help investors that have been deterred by the lack of electricity in rural regions.

The improvement of road infrastructure is expected to support sector growth and add value to existing agricultural activities. The federal government is working with the World Bank to roll out the Nigeria Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP) 2020-26, which includes work in Gombe State. The project will cost an estimated $280m. According to the World Bank, RAAMP aims to improve rural access and agricultural marketing while strengthening the financing and institutional base for effective development, maintenance and management of the rural road network.

The UN Development Programme has supported agriculture in Gombe State by providing training to local extension officers using the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Farmer Field Schools approach. The scheme aims to encourage knowledge sharing across communities, with a focus on offering instruction on new farming equipment and techniques to promote modernisation. The initiative also delivered motorcycles so that officers can access rural farms more easily and deliver extension services.

The Gombe State Development Plan 2021-30 pays close attention to the sector as a major contributor to economic growth. Its aims include the rollout of a national agriculture policy, modernisation of projects and improved access to funding among other goals.