Nigeria Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

Agriculture lost significance when oil recovery accelerated in the 1960s. Nigeria, which used to be a major exporter of agricultural products, became dependent on imports. But the sector is still important for both livelihood and employment, and in recent years cultivation has increased again. Small farmers account for most of the production.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Nigeria. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

A majority of the population still works with agriculture, both for self-catering and commercial purposes. The plots are often small and cultivation takes place with simple tools. Sweat use is common and extensive areas alternate in the woods. The land is owned by the state, which is an obstacle to modernization, as the farmers find it difficult to borrow money with leased land as collateral.

In the densely populated and rainy southern Nigeria, the root vegetables are cassava (manioc) and jams are the most common food crops. Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava, which there are also plans to use for biofuels. In the drier north, grain millet and sorghum are most important. Vegetables and fruits are grown throughout the country. For Nigeria defense and foreign policy, please check relationshipsplus.

Cocoa, peanuts, rubber, cotton and palm oil are grown for sale. Cocoa beans, which are mostly grown in the Southwest, were the major export product before the oil era. Nigeria’s share of the world market has since shrunk considerably, but at the same time cocoa is the only crop that makes a somewhat larger contribution to export earnings.

Livestock management is a minor part of the agricultural sector. Breeding occurs mainly in the north, where there are no tsetse flies.

Fishing is carried out on a small scale along the coast and in rivers and lakes. In the Niger Delta, oil spills and the destruction of mangrove forests pose a threat to future fish stocks.

Forests are also harvested to get firewood and timber. After halving the forest in just over 20 years, only one-tenth of Nigeria’s surface area was wooded in 2010. In the north, the collection of wood for household fuel contributes to the replacement of arable land by desert. Attempts to replant trees have so far had limited success. Nigeria’s pristine forests are the ones that disappear most rapidly. In the early 2000s, Nigeria lost such ecologically important forests at a faster rate than any other country in the world, according to the United Nations Agricultural Organization FAO.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

21.2 percent (2018)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

77.7 percent (2016)



Many killed in Boko Haram attack

December 30

Around 25 forest workers are killed in a Boko Haram attack a few miles outside Maiduguri in Borno state. The perpetrators who arrived on motorcycles went into attack when workers were loading firewood on transport vehicles.

Switzerland returns looted assets

December 5

Switzerland announces that Nigeria will recover $ 320 million, which is the remainder of what the dictator Sani Abacha stole from the state in the 1990s and which was placed in Swiss accounts. The money was frozen by a Swiss court in 2014 in connection with a lawsuit against Abacha’s son. It was one of President Buhari’s most important election promises to take back stolen assets and this will be the largest single repayment to date. However, Switzerland has transferred a total of $ 700 million plundered by Abacha over the past ten years. The remaining money will be paid out in installments for a couple of years and used for social contributions for the poor, under the supervision of the World Bank.


Over 50 dead in attacks against mosque

November 21st

At least 50 people are killed in a suicide attack against a mosque in Mubi, in the state of Adamawa in the northeast. The explosion occurs during the morning prayer. Boko Haram has recently increased its attacks mainly in northeastern Nigeria, since the military has taken back areas previously controlled by the group. Dozens of people have been killed in a series of attacks.


Compensation to victims in the Biafra War

October 31st

The state has agreed to pay damages to victims of the civil war in the late 1960s (see Modern History), according to a settlement reached after mediation by a court belonging to the cooperative organization Ecowas. Under the agreement, the equivalent of $ 245 million is to be paid, of which the majority is victims of the war in eleven states. The rest will go to clearing explosives and mines in former conflict areas, as well as building schools, courts, churches and mosques.

Tens of thousands of teachers are being kicked in Kaduna

October 11

The governor of the state of Kaduna announces that 21,780 elementary school teachers (two out of three teachers) are dismissed because they failed a test intended for six-year-old students. The kicked-off teachers will be replaced by 25,000 new teachers.

Mass trial begins against suspected Boko Haram members

October 9

A mass trial against more than 2,300 suspected members of Boko Haram begins behind closed doors in a Nigerian court. The most notable case is Khalid al-Barnawi, leader of Ansaru, who emerged from Boko Haram. He is charged with having carried away and murdered ten foreign persons. The mass trial is a way to speed up the proceedings against the many suspected Boko Haram members who are in custody pending trial. So far, only nine people have been convicted of conspiring with the extremist Islamist organization.

Violence during October

Despite the government’s assurances that Boko Haram has largely been disarmed, many acts of violence occur during the month. On three occasions, jihadists attackmilitary in the state of Yobe in the northeast. One of them killed at least 15 soldiers, but many are missing and the death toll is feared to be higher. Fourteen civilians are killed and many injured when three female suicide bombers trigger explosive charges at an internment camp on the outskirts of Maiduguri. Just before the end of the month, a suicide bomber kills five civilians at a mosque outside Maiduguri. On the same day, four people, including a woman and her two children, are killed when a road mine explodes near the border with Cameroon. The vehicle in which they were traveling had military licenses and was on their way to Maiduguri. Many are also seriously injured. Reports also come of a clash between military and Boko Haram supporters as many jihadists must have been killed.


Bi-phrase separatists are branded terrorist

September 20

The Supreme Court in Abuja terrorizes the separatist group Ipob, which strives for an independent Biafra. In recent weeks, tensions have risen in southeastern Nigeria. Curfew has been introduced in parts of the state of Abia following clashes between security forces and members of Ipob. At least six people have been killed in various acts of violence. Ipob leader Nnamdi Kanu is reported to have been abducted by soldiers on September 14. Kanu is charged with treason (see December 2015) but released on bail in April.

Over 400 dead in Boko Haram deed since April

September 5

Since April, the terror group Boko Haram has stepped up its violence in both Nigeria and Cameroon. Nearly 400 civilians have been killed, including at least 223 in Nigeria, according to data from Amnesty International, which says the actual death toll may be higher than that. The human rights organization emphasizes that Boko Haram has committed war crimes on a large scale, and often forces young women to carry out the attacks in order to kill as many people as possible.


Ex-oil minister’s assets are seized

August 28th

A court orders that the equivalent of $ 21 million in bank accounts belonging to former Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke be seized. Earlier this month, the EFCC Eco Crime Authority managed to get assets worth $ 44 million seized, money that she is accused of illegally damaging. Alison-Madueke, who was Minister of Oil in 2010–2015 and regarded as one of Africa’s most influential women politicians, has been charged with corruption, fraud, money laundering and misuse of public funds. Litigation is ongoing in Nigeria as well as in the US, UK and Italy.

President back after long absence

August 19th

President Buhari returns to Nigeria after just over 100 days in London. It is still unknown what Buhari’s disease has been treated for. His absence has created great tensions in the country. Followers who have defended him are largely Muslims and belong to the Hausa people, as well as Buhari himself. The critics are often Christians from southern Nigeria – as is Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who handled the president’s duties during his absence.

Many killed in suicide in Borno

August 15th

At least 28 people die and over 80 are injured when three female suicide bombers strike at the entrance to a refugee camp outside Maiduguri.


Around 70 dead in Boko Haram attack

July 25

About 70 people are killed in a raid against a specialist group looking for oil in Borno. The attack is described as the bloodiest Boko Haram performed this year. Among the dead are 17 civilians, several of whom are from the University of Maiduguri, while the others are soldiers and militia members. A few days later, a video recording is published in which three university employees say they have been kidnapped by Boko Haram.

Many dead in explosion in Borno

July 11

Nineteen people are killed when four female suicide bombers detonate an explosive charge in the city of Maiduguri in Borno. The attack is carried out against a grief train at a funeral. Twelve of the victims are members of a militia group called the CJTF (Civilian Joint Task Force) that helps the military fight Boko Haram.


Suicide bombings against refugee camps

June 18

At least 16 people are killed when two women blast themselves at a large internment camp in the village of Kofa in the northeast. At about the same time, two explosions also occur at one of the two camps in Dalori, which holds a total of around 50,000 people who were forced to leave their homes because of the violence in the region.

Half of the food aid goes away

June 19

Up to half of the food that is supposed to go to those who have fled Boko Haram has not arrived, the government says. Security should now be strengthened to secure deliveries, it says. Around 8.5 million people need food assistance to cope in the terrorist-afflicted northeastern Nigeria where drought further aggravated the situation.

UN soldiers killed in the north

June 10th

Four UN soldiers from Guinea are killed in a raid on a base near Kidal. The perpetrators are said to have belonged to the Group in support of Islam and Muslims (Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslim), formed in March when three jihadist groups with links to al-Qaeda merged. The group has taken on a number of attacks against both Malian and foreign forces.

Boko Haram attack in Maiduguri

7 June

At least 14 people are killed in three suicide attacks and gunfire in Maiduguri, despite strict security. It is the first time in over a year that assailants succeed in the city. The attacks are carried out the day before a visit by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who will inaugurate an aid program. Just a month earlier, a commander in Boko Haram, who was released in a prisoner exchange with the 82 Chibok girls, has threatened to attack Maiduguri.


82 Chibok girls free

May 6

After mediation by the International Red Cross Committee, 82 of the schoolgirls who were abducted from Chibok in April 2014 are released. The government side must have released Boko Haram prisoners in exchange for the girls. After the prison exchange, 103 girls from Chibok are still believed to be prisoners at Boko Haram.

Diseased president leaves the country again

May 7

Buhari is traveling to the UK again, after only two months in Nigeria. Just a few days earlier, a group of prominent citizens in an open letter had asked Buhari to retire. The call comes after the president failed to attend both Friday prayers and two consecutive government meetings, and rumors have claimed that his health condition has deteriorated again. It is still unclear what Buhari is suffering from.


More children are exploited in suicide

April 12

The UN Children’s Fund Unicef ​​warns that the number of children being tricked into conducting suicide attacks has increased significantly. During the first quarter of the year, 27 children were exploited in such acts, compared with 30 throughout 2016, in Nigeria and the three neighboring countries Niger, Cameroon and Chad. In 2015, 56 such cases were recorded and four the year before.

Significant increase in the death penalty

April 11

In 2016, Nigeria took second place in the world in terms of distributed death penalty, after China, reports Amnesty International. During the year, 527 people were sentenced to death, which was three times more than the year before.


The President again in Nigeria

March 10

President Buhari returns to Nigeria after seven weeks in London. His absence has caused extensive debate. The 74-year-old head of state is said to have remained after a vacation, to undergo health tests and rest. Rumors have surfaced earlier that 74-year-old Buhari is sick and he also stayed in London for the summer of 2016. The issue of the president’s state of health is loaded in Nigeria, where Yar’Adua’s 2009 caused widespread rumors and some instability (see Modern History).

Police are sentenced to death

March 9

Two former police officers are sentenced to death for the murder of civilians, in so-called extrajudicial executions. The target, which is the most recognized in the country, concerns six young civilians who were shot dead in 2005. The legal process has dragged on over time.

Several thousands flee from Boko Haram

March 1st

Around 7,000 people have left their homes in villages in the area of ​​Chibok over the course of a week, where the Boko Haram terrorist sector is ravaging. Most of them have gone to the city of Chibok.


Unrest in Kaduna

February 26th

Tensions between livestock herdsmen and farmers in Kaduna again lead to bloated violence, triggered by the assassination of a Fulani chief in December. Hundreds of hundreds are feared to have been killed in attacks followed by revenge attacks. The conflict in three predominantly Christian districts in the southern part of the state has been going on for at least three decades.

Soldiers killed in fire

February 22

At least seven soldiers are said to have been killed in an attack by Boko Haram in the city of Gajiram in Borno. Three Islamists must also have been killed in the fire that ensued. The Islamists are believed to belong to a group loyal to Barnawi, who IS has designated as its leader in Nigeria. Barnawi has said he only wants to attack “hard targets” like military and police, unlike Shekau who he thinks kills civilians without indiscriminate.


Refugee camps accidentally bombed

January 17

Over 100 people die when the Air Force accidentally bombs a refugee camp in Borno, near the border with Cameroon. The military is fighting Boko Haram in the area. Many are also injured in the attack.

Nigeria Agriculture and Fishing