Cocoa, sesame seeds and cashew nuts lead Nigeria’s agricultural exports

Nigeria’s agricultural exports jumped 57.02% to N504.9 billion in 2021 from N321.5 billion recorded the previous year, which is also the highest agricultural export income ever checked in.

That’s according to data pulled from the National Bureau of Statistics’ Foreign Trade Report for the year.

However, Nigeria imported N1.97 trillion worth of agri-food products in the same year resulting in a N1.46 trillion deficit. This is despite significant interventions and investments channeled into the Nigerian agricultural sector.

Nigeria recorded its highest agricultural trade deficit in 2021, triggering a negative balance of N1.94 trillion in the year under review as Nigeria’s import bill soared to N20.8 trillion against a value of export of N18.9 trillion. This means that the agriculture trade deficit accounts for 74.3% of Nigeria’s trade imbalance.

CBN interventions in the agricultural sector

The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the CBN, has disbursed a sum of N975.61 billion to more than 4.52 million smallholder farmers who grow about 21 agricultural commodities across the country for the purchase of inputs and cultivation of maize, rice and wheat as part of its anchor borrowers. Program (ABP).

In addition, the CBN disbursed approximately N735.17 billion to finance 671 large-scale agricultural projects in agro-production and agro-industry. Between January and February 2022, the apex bank also disbursed N19.15 billion to finance 5 large-scale agricultural projects.


Coconut beans – 209.9 billion naira

  • Nigeria exported cocoa beans worth N209.89 billion in 2021, accounting for 41.6% of Nigeria’s total export earnings in the year under review. Another breakdown of NBS data showed that Nigeria exported premium raw cocoa beans worth N37.42 billion, while the export of well-fermented cocoa beans amounted to N209. .9 billion naira.
  • Cocoa is a small perennial tree crop that comes mainly from the three tropical regions of the world; Southeast Asia, Latin America and West Africa. Côte d’Ivoire is the largest producer of cocoa beans, accounting for around 31% of the world’s supply.

Sesame seeds – 113.2 billion naira

  • The increase in sesame seed exports in 2021 was estimated at N113.2 billion, which is higher than the N98.27 billion recorded the previous year. Sesame seed exports accounted for 22.4% of our total exports during the period.
  • Sesame seed comes from a flowering plant mainly grown in northern Nigeria due to the drought resistant nature of the seed.
  • It has many uses, but perhaps its most important use is as a source of sesame oil which is the most demanded vegetable oil in the world due to its zero cholesterol content.
  • Nigeria has been one of the top sesame seed producing countries over the years, making the seed an important component of the country’s agricultural export.

Cashew nuts – 72.8 billion naira

  • Nigeria exported cashew nuts worth N72.8 billion in 2021, accounting for 14.4% of our total export value. The disaggregated data shows that N55.6 billion of the total was generated from the export of inshell cashews, while shelled cashews were N17.2 billion.
  • Cashew is a tree crop that has been cultivated for food and medicine for many years. The different parts of the cashew fruit have economic value, including the apple, the nut, and the kernel.
  • The main product of cashew nuts is the kernel, which is the edible part of the nut. Almonds are used for various finished products including chocolates, ice cream, cakes, sweets and even for medicinal purposes.

Coconut – 23.83 billion naira

  • Coconut is a cash crop that is grown in 22 of Nigeria’s 36 states and its production is limited to the southwestern part of the country, with Lagos State having the largest production area. Nigeria exported coconuts worth N23.83 billion in 2021. Exports of coconuts during the period included those desiccated, fresh or dried, whether or not shelled or peeled.
  • Coconut serves as a raw material for many industries, such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food and beverages, with unlimited domestic and export potential; coconut consumption, however, has continued to increase with population growth, especially dry coconut which is consumed in the northern part of the country.

boiling under

  • Frozen seafood – N17.3 billion
  • Ginger – 12.1 billion naira
  • Flowers – N5.4 billion
  • Brazil nuts – 5.2 billion naira
  • Sesame oil and its fraction – N4.9 billion
  • Natural cocoa butter – 4.7 billion naira
  • Palm nuts and kernels – N3.8 billion

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