Top 10 Cash Crops in Nigeria and Their Contribution to the GDP

The main crops grown in Nigeria’s 70.8 million hectares of agricultural land are maize, cassava, guinea corn, yam beans, millet, and rice. Nigeria produced 4.0 million metric tons of rice in 2018, up from 3.7 million in 2017.

Despite this, only 57% of the 6.7 million metric tons of rice Nigeria consumes each year is produced locally, leaving a gap of around 3 million metric tons.

Nigeria, a nation in West Africa, is rich in agricultural resources and has a variety of habitats and climates that enable the growth of many different crops. For generations, Nigerian culture and economy have been fundamentally based on agriculture. The economic landscape of the country has been significantly shaped by cash crops in particular. Cash crops are those that are cultivated primarily for sale and export and make a sizable contribution to the agricultural industry as well as the general GDP.

The diversified agricultural terrain of Nigeria, known as the “Giant of Africa,” is a key component of its economy. Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is significantly influenced by agriculture, and cash crops account for a sizable amount of this contribution.

There are so many cash crops in Nigeria but we will examine 10 in this essay along with their economic significance, production, and effects on the GDP of the country. Oil palm, cocoa, rubber, cotton, sesame, cassava, yam, maize, peanut, and rice are among the crops covered.


Another important cash crop in Nigeria is cocoa, which is used to make chocolate. Nigeria formerly dominated the world’s cocoa production. The majority of the nation’s cocoa is grown in the southwest, particularly in the states of Ondo, Ogun, and Osun. Despite recent difficulties, the cocoa sector continues to be a significant driver of Nigeria’s agricultural GDP.


In Nigeria, cassava is a key food crop but is also a substantial income crop. The root is transformed into a number of goods, including garri, fufu, and starch, which are sold both domestically and abroad. Cassava is a key contribution to Nigeria’s GDP because of its adaptability to many ecological zones.


Another important staple crop in Nigeria that significantly affects GDP is yam. Millions of Nigerians depend on yam cultivation as a source of income because Nigeria is the world’s top yam grower. Although the crop is largely used domestically, exports help generate income.


Another large cash crop grown in Nigeria is rubber, which is primarily grown in the southeast and southwest. Industry sectors including tire manufacture and latex processing are supported by the production of rubber. Nigeria continues to be a significant rubber producer despite difficulties like illnesses and aging rubber plants.

Palm oil

One of Nigeria’s most important cash crops is oil palm. A valuable source of vegetable oil, it is a tropical crop with a high oil production. One of the world’s top producers of palm oil is Nigeria. Millions of Nigerians have work prospects thanks to the oil palm business, which makes a substantial economic contribution to the nation. The manufacture of soap and cosmetics is supported by the oil palm industry, which helps the economy overall.


In Nigeria, maize, also referred to as corn, is a crop with several uses. It serves as a source of animal feed, a staple meal, and a starting point for businesses like breweries and food processing. There is a lot of maize growing, which greatly influences both rural and urban livelihoods.


The oilseed crop known as groundnut or peanut has domestic and international markets. For Nigerians, it is a key source of protein and edible oil. Despite obstacles including pest infestations and poor storage facilities, the groundnut business is nevertheless an essential component of Nigeria’s agricultural sector.


The cultivation of cotton has a long history in Nigeria and is crucial to the textile industry. However, the cotton industry has struggled because of problems like pest infestations, poor yields, and a lack of processing infrastructure. Nevertheless, cotton growing continues to generate money for many Nigerians and boost the GDP of the nation.


An important oilseed crop in Nigeria’s agricultural environment is sesame. One of Africa’s leading sesame seed growers is this nation. The increased demand for sesame oil and seeds on a global scale has led to an increase in sesame production. Farmers and dealers alike have benefited economically from this harvest.


In Nigeria, rice is an important cash crop and a staple diet. To decrease imports and advance food security, the nation has taken measures to increase domestic rice production. The government’s actions have helped expand rice farming’s GDP contribution, which is widespread throughout the nation.

GDP contribution

The top ten cash crops mentioned above contribute significantly to Nigeria’s GDP as a whole. These crops have a variety of economic effects, including: Employment Creation: The cultivation of cash crops offers millions of Nigerians jobs in agriculture and related sectors like processing, transportation, and marketing.

Many of these cash crops are exported, providing the nation with foreign exchange. Direct export income goes toward boosting the GDP.

Government Revenue: Taxes and levies on the production and trade of cash crops help the government raise money, which in turn helps to pay for public services and infrastructure improvements.

Domestic Market: A number of these crops are staples in Nigerian cuisine, ensuring food security and lowering the country’s reliance on imported food.

Cash crops assist downstream businesses like food processing, textile production, and agro-processing, which further boost economic growth.

Rural Development: Cash crop cultivation frequently serves as the foundation of rural economies, reducing poverty and boosting incomes.

Although these cash crops are very important to Nigeria’s economy, there are a number of obstacles that could prevent them from reaching their full potential. These difficulties include:

Outbreaks of pests and diseases: Many cash crops are susceptible to pests and diseases, which reduces yields and reduces farmers’ revenue.

Aged Plantations: Some income crops, like cocoa and rubber, have aging plantations that need to be rejuvenated and replanted.

Facilities Deficits: Post-harvest losses and decreased competitiveness in global markets might result from inadequate transportation and storage facilities.

Climate change: The production of cash crops is threatened by varying weather patterns and extreme events.

Low Productivity: The earning potential of cash crop farmers is constrained by low yields and out-of-date farming methods.

Market Access: The viability of cash crop farming can be impacted by unstable prices and limited market access.

Governmental Initiatives to curbing the menace affecting Cash Crops

The Nigerian government has put in place a number of initiatives to address the difficulties farmers confront and has acknowledged the value of cash crops. These programs comprise:

The Anchor Borrowers Program offers financial facilities to farmers so they can obtain better seeds, fertilizer, and other inputs with the intention of raising crop production.

Through trade agreements and incentives, the government has concentrated on encouraging the export of cash crops in order to increase foreign exchange profits.

Investment in research and development to create disease-resistant cultivars and enhance agricultural practices.

The existence of infrastructure can facilitate and expedite Nigeria’s economic development. Without these facilities and services, progress will be extremely challenging and, in fact, can be compared to a very rare good that can only be obtained at a very high cost.

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