Nigerian Agricultural Market Research – Investment Guide.
The following report is a Nigerian Agricultural Market Research – Investment Guide.
The Nigerian agricultural ecosystem is less developed than that of united states or europe. In 2018, I employed a consultant who came from California but who had farmed across Africa, Latin America and the (at the time) USSR for many decades and he told me Nigeria resembled the US in the 1950’s.
First of all, the infrastructure is not consistently good. This is a major interstate road in Kebbi State, Nigeria. Some of the country’s largest rice farms lie along this axis. Not all of the road is like this, but imagine if that truck had your goods on it.
Roads are so important for farming! If you want to get your inputs, move equipment around from one location to another, sell your finished product, or pick up an item that you need, there’s got to be some way to get around.
In addition to bad/inconsistent roads, we also face bad/inconsistent/no power. My farm is only 45 minutes away from a 2 million person city, but we are off the grid. All of our electricity is powered by diesel generators. That definitely adds to our costs.
Another infrastructure challenge is telecoms. This is probably also hard in remote parts of Canada and Europe (I’m guessing?). poor internet connectivity can be a big problem for many reasons, but especially when you’re trying to fix a fault on a new(ish) tractor.
So we’ve got subpar infrastructure in Nigeria, which makes farming (and really any business) harder and more expensive to run than it has to be. Beyond that, what about sourcing our inputs?
Well, first of all, pretty much all inputs are dollar-linked. There’s no local manufacturing of agrochemicals- they’re all imported. Some of the big companies are starting to invest in growing seed (especially for maize), but this is still nascent. And as for fertilizer.
Fertilizer in Nigeria is an extremely restricted product. Any old Joe Schmoe can’t just import it, because it can be used to make IEDs and there are major security problems in Nigeria right now, so the NSA (Nigerian Security Advisor) imposes strict regulations.
In addition to the restrictions due to security risks, the Nigerian Government also runs a fertilizer subsidy program that is available for smallholder farmers, which is pushed from the Federal Government through State Governments.
The long and short of all this is that private farms like @teamtomatojos
have very few choices when it comes to fertilizer. In terms of chemical fertilizer, we can buy 15-15-15, 20-10-10, CalMag, MOP, DAP, Urea, and… that’s pretty much it. Oh yeah, and there’s NO liquid fert.
Honestly, it took my team about 3 years just to figure out how to buy good inputs. In the first few seasons, we were buying fertilizer from “distributors” and it was legit mixed with sand So that brings us to the question of seasonality. And weather. What grows in Nigeria?
Well, Nigeria is tropical. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Africa, Nigeria is in what I like to call “the armpit.” It’s right in the crook of the continent, just above the equator (which, as you can probably guess, runs through Equatorial Guinea… duh).
There are 2 main growing seasons in Nigeria: 1) the rainy season, which runs loosely from May to October (though weather patterns have been changing pretty radically lately) 2) the dry season, which runs from Oct/Nov to April (and which includes a VERY hot period in Feb/March)
It’s important to note that the coastal part of Nigeria has different weather patterns than the northern part. The southern part of the country never gets a true dry season; as it rains at least once a month and there are higher levels of humidity year-round.
In the south you get tons of tropical crops like cashew, rubber, cocoa, cassava, plantain, oil palm, coconut, yam, etc.
Northern Nigeria is where more of the classic “row crops” & cereals are grown. In the rainy season you’ll find tons of maize, sorghum, millet, rice, soy, and other types of beans (cow pea in particular).
During the rainy season anyone can be a farmer, and almost everyone throws seed down in one plot or another to see what will come out of the ground. But in the dry season, there are far fewer Nigerian farmers because irrigation farming is way more expensive – and technical.
In the dry season, northern farmers will grow tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, onions, various types of hot peppers, bell peppers, sugar cane (well that’s a year-round crop), some leafy greens, a melon called egusi (only the seeds are eaten), watermelon… all types of things, really!
Whoops, I forgot 2 really important crops: sesame and ginger! Nigeria produces some of the highest quality ginger in the world, grown almost entirely by smallholder farmers. These crops are important because they have high export value. And both are grown in Kaduna, where I live!
To be continued…
Disclaimer: I am only one person with one experience, and Nigeria is a HUGE country, so please keep this in mind. I’ll try not to generalize too much.
Source: @AGofTheWorld on Twitter.