Food Demand and Supply In Nigeria as of 2018/2019 season: What You Should Produce In 2020

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What you are about to read now will shock you and set your brain permanently under the pressure of what our nation will be like in the next 5-10 years.

If you are a concerned citizen, it will interest you to know where or how the food you consume daily is been produced, who is the producer, and how the food gets to your dinner table when you need it.


Who Produce?

In Nigeria, 80% of food production is done by the rural farmers, and by the usage of traditional farming tools. When I say traditional tonnes, I am referring cutlass and hoe instead of a modern tractor or machines that can effectively plough, plant, and harvest a hectare of farmland in less than 2 hours.


Our rural farms use cutlass and hoe working tediously for weeks to cultivate a hectare of farmland. So, the food you eat comes from their hard labor, therefore, I besieged you to celebrate farmers, today.


Sadly, their cruel tools can’t produce plenty of food to feed our steadily and abnormal growing human population in Nigeria. A population of over 200 million mouths depends on rural farmers for their daily meal.


Aside modern farming tools, our rural farmer’s agricultural knowledge base is highly primitive, they still practice the 1970s methods of primary production which lead to low yield every harvest season.

As the yield per hectare is not increasing, the population or mouths waiting for the food to mature and ready for consumption increases daily.


The demand for food in 2020 is more than that of the early 1970s due to the increasing human population. The figures below were released by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2019 to show us the demand and supply of food in Nigeria.

Let us study these figures carefully.



Demand is 6.3million tonnes
Supply is 2.3million tonnes.

Rice is the most consumed food in Nigeria, the demand for rice as of 2019 alone was 6.3million metric tonnes and Nigerian farmers were able to produce/supply only 2.3million metric tonnes. According to records, Nigeria is the highest rice-producing country in Africa after rice cultivation in Egypt was regulated by government authorities.


In Egypt, the government have placed a ban on rice cultivation. According to reports, their government now issue a license to a few individuals to cultivate rice just for home consumption not for exportation. Egypt has been a poor rain country, the government usually provide water to farmers and they discovered that it was cost-effective to import rice than trying to cultivate rice themselves.


So, rice cultivation in Egypt now without government approval is a criminal act and apart from Egypt, Nigeria is said to be the largest rice-producing country in Africa.


Unfortunately, the quantity of rice produced in Nigeria can’t meet up home demand. It means, Nigeria MUST import rice to be able to feed its citizens and importation is not bad, but is terrible, sad, and unwise for a nation to be importing food that can be grown locally.


As a rice farmer, I know the challenges farmers face and the number one challenge is access to credit. Rice cultivated in Nigeria


Demand is 4.7million tonnes
Supply is 0.06million tonnes

Wheat consumption Nigerian homes have increased recently, in fact, we have many families that really on wheat as their daily food. Other wheat-related products are bread, biscuits, cakes, spaghetti, and noodles.

Therefore, I will be right to announce that everybody indirect or indirectly consume wheat daily in Nigeria.


According to the National President, Wheat Famers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Salim Mohammed, one of the greatest challenge faced by wheat growers in Nigeria is access to seeds in every two years. Because wheat seeds are said to be productivity for 4 years only due to its open-pollinated nature, is unwise to replant the seeds when it becomes grains.


Farmers need access to quality seeds so they increase productivity.


Demand is 200.0million tonnes
Supply is 140.0million tonnes

As a poultry farmer, I agree with this figure. Be frank, poultry business is capital intensive. It takes a good amount of money to set up a commercial poultry farm in Nigeria.


Cost of production is equally high, therefore, if farmers are supported, given access to credit chicken meat importation will die naturally.


Palm Oil
Demand is 8.0million tonnes
Supply is 4.5million tonnes

One time top producer and exporter of palm oil in the world now import a minimum 4million tonnes of palm oil yearly? Yes, that is the hard reality.


Demand is 2.2million tonnes
Supply is 0.8million tonnes

As Covid19 hit Nigeria tomato hub(Kano State), here is my prediction “Every soon, adding/eating fresh tomatoes in Nigeria will be seen as a luxury“.

I am saying this to cast fear on you.



But the hub(Kano State) of tomato production in Nigeria has been hit with coronavirus and total shutdown will be starting tomorrow. According to figures published by the Federal Ministry Of Agriculture and Rural Development, our home DEMAND for tomatoes last year was 2.2million tonnes.


Nigerian tomato farmers SUPPLIED 0.8million tonnes only.

Look at the figures again,

DEMAND= 2.2million tonnes

SUPPLY= 0.8million tonnes


Let’s look at the top 9 commercial tomato producing states in Nigeria today and further ask ourselves while the remaining 27 states are not into commercial tomato production.

Below are our tomato suppliers in Nigeria,











The states mentioned above are from the northern part of our beloved nation Nigeria and they produce 80 per cent of total fresh tomatoes SUPPLIED across 27 states of the federation.

Briefly: Pay close attention to words written in capital letters, you will understand me better.


Let me shock you… “It is on record that, Kano State alone contributes about 2% of the total tomato produced in the WORLD”. Nigeria again is the net importer of tomatoes in Africa, as of 2019, over N60billion was spent on tomato paste import in efforts to support home demand.


Get this clear, over N60billion, was used on the importation of tomato paste alone when the demand was 2.2million tonnes.


The prediction on home demand for tomatoes for 2020 was said to be 3million tonnes, it therefore means, our farmers will need to increase production or our government should set aside nothing less than N100billion to import tomato paste.


According to records available, over 350,000 to 750,000 tonnes of fresh tomatoes produced by our farmers never get to final consumers. Some waste on the farm, some are pushed to our local markets but waste successfully due to poor handling and zero access to proper storage facilities by our market women.


Yes, we have a few tomato paste processing companies in Nigeria now and more are coming on-board recently, but the fact still remains, “Some consumers prefer fresh tomatoes than processed paste“. So, as an entrepreneur and a Nigerian, you should be thinking of ways to keep our harvested tomatoes fresh for longer periods of time without been poison with harmful preservatives.


Below is my humble request.

I call on other states to embrace commercial tomato production so we can be self-sufficient in Nigeria and equally exporters. I call on individuals to instantly set up tomato gardens in their backyards today because we will run-out of fresh tomatoes soon in Nigeria.


Hi, Southern, and the Eastern States of our beloved Nigeria, who told you tomato won’t strive on your soil?

That was a long-held popular belief. I know someone told you years ago that ‘tomatoes don’t survive heavy rains” and believe them, and maybe you tried and it failed severely.


The good news is, we have companies that actually developed seeds for every region, weather, and climate.  Ask questions and get the right tomato seeds that can survive on your soil type.


Demand is 7.5million tonnes
Supply is 7.0million tonnes

As a farmer, I am not happy with the figures yet, we still import maize instead of producing above home demand and exporting to other African countries.


Though we have tried on the aspect of maize/corn production, we still have a long way to go. Nigeria as a country blessed with vast arable farmland should be exporting food across continents of the world.


Maize strives well on our Nigerian soil, in Benue state, very a few farmers cultivate maize on commercial quantity. My mother usually crop-mixed maize with yam and in her groundnut farm, no special attention is given to maize production but well crop mixed, the harvest is always bountiful.


I remember some years back when my father discourages me not to cultivate in my village, his reasons were real because commercial cultivation of maize was a colossal waste of resources. There is no market for maize grains in Benue State, farmers who cultivate it usually make little to zero profit out of it.


Too bad, right here in Nigeria people are dying of food hunger and some rural farmers have massive edible commodities wasting. Is sad, due to bad road network, access such communities is difficult.

Maize is cooked in various ways and it cost less than rice and wheat, therefore the demand for it is high across Africa. So if Nigeria can produce more than our home consumption, it will be exported to other countries within and outside Africa.


Demand is 2.7million tonnes
Supply is 0.8million tonnes


Is clear that we import fish in Nigeria. I did a little but detailed research early this year on fish production in Benue State as the result was poor.

In Nigeria, commercial fish farming is yet to be taken seriously, therefore we import fish worth billions of US$ yearly to supplement home demand. We can do better if farmers are supported financially and otherwise to increase fish production.


Soya beans
Demand is 0.75million tonnes
Supply is 0.6million tonnes

We are yet to meet up with home demand.


Demand is 39.0million tonnes
Supply is 37.0million tonnes

I don’t want to say Nigeria import yams to balance home demand, I disagree with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development on this figure. I wrote an article on this some months back on my Facebook page and someone asked me a question and I was unable to provide an accurate answer.

Question: Where do Nigeria import yams from?



As a farmer and from Benue State, I can assure you that if come to Benue State now and you need 1million tonnes of yams, you will have it in less than 24 hours. YES…

I do not have much to say about this, but we need to increase yam production in Nigeria, we should be the world largest exporters of yams. We can do better. Benue, Kogi, and Niger State are said to be leading the chart on yam production in Nigeria currently.


Demand is yet to meet supply, we still have more to do as farmers and Nigerians.


Demand is 3.6million tonnes
Supply is 0.25million tonnes

Nigeria importing cocoa?

When the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development made a publication early this year(2020) on demand and supply of agro commodities in Nigeria, I was sad.

I don’t understand.


Written history has it that, Nigeria was one-time leading producer of cocoa in Africa and the world at large. Then, black oil was not discovered in our country therefore; cocoa, groundnut, palm oil/kernel, and cotton were the only source of foreign exchange earnings.


Fast forward to 2019, Nigeria is now importing cocoa?

What change?

Home demand for cocoa was 3.6million tonnes, supply was 0.25million tonnes. It means our cocoa farms in Nigeria couldn’t produce and supply the needed volume of cocoa and that is worrisome.

What change?



Cocoa farming is not practised in my community, but I learnt that it takes 5 to 10 years for the three to be fully matured. According to my research, the life span of a cocoa tree is 30 years above if the farm is properly managed.


History has it that, the 1950s and 1960s were Nigerian glory period of commercial cocoa production. But now that we are in 2020, it is doom period because we can not produce even a quarter of our home demand not to talk about exporting.


Here is the secret, from 1950 to 2020 is 70 years and our ancestors cocoa trees have reached unproductive years of their life, and there is nobody to replace them with virgin stems. States in Nigeria that produce cocoa in commercial quantity are said to be,



💠Cross river








💠Akwa Ibom

💠Edo Ekiti


And the largest producing state is Ondo. It is clear now that we left agriculture completely to focus on crude oil, the old cocoa trees are no longer producing pods to settle our home demand.


As Nigerian youths, we need to invest our time in commercial cocoa production because the demand has not dropped in the global market. We have to try something new, cocoa might not only grow in the above-mentioned states, I was told by my parents and teachers in school that cocoa cannot be planted in Benue state.


For many years, that has been the belives. But someone persons decide to try planting cocoa on Benue soil and is doing well. Maybe you plant cocoa in your state too.


Demand is 7.0million tonnes
Supply is 6.2million tonnes

The supply of sorghum is good, but it can be better. As our crude oil is becoming worthless daily in the global market, we should be producing sorghum 10 times above our home consumption so it could be exported for foreign earnings into the Nigerian economy.


Sorghum is produced in virtually all the 36 States in Nigeria, with Plateau, Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Gombe, Bauchi, Zamfara, Benue, and Kogi leading the chart.


Sorghum has multiple uses which span across the production of Beer, meal, Malt, and livestock feed among others.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that world sorghum production will be 57.26 million tonnes in 2019/2020 season which represent a decrease of about 2.2million tonnes or 3.82% globally.  And as 2018/2019, Nigeria was the second-largest producer of sorghum producing over 6million tonnes while the US tops the chart with over 8.6million tonnes.


Though produced in large scale, Nigerian sorghum farmers need to do more because home demand is still above supply. And over government should support our farmers with inputs so that we can become world exporters of sorghum come 2019/2020 season.


We can do more.


Dairy Products
Demand is 2.0million tonnes
Supply is 0.6million tonnes

This result is sad and the only person that can correct the narrative is you and me. In Nigeria, commercial cattle rearing have been given to northerners, people from the South/West and other thick forest zones do not bother themselves on rearing cows.


Here is the saddest story, early this year(2020), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a license to six dairy companies operative in the country to legally import milk and it derivatives down to Nigeria. I am surprise and concern about the decision of CBN.


Big companies like FrieslandCampina, WAMCO Nigeria, CHI Limited, TG Arla Dairy Products Limited, Nestle Nigeria PLC (MSK only) and Integrated Dairies Limited are allowed to import milk into the country with Federal government support. My question is, what stops our government from encouraging these companies to venture into commercial rearing of cattle on our soil?


Why not support local cattle rearers with money and enabling environment so they can produce the needed volume of milk in our country? I discover that cattle rearing in Nigeria is taken as a culture and not as a business, but dairy countries like The Netherlands, Denmark, and even our African country South Africa take it as money-making business and not tired to any ethnic group as seen in Nigeria.


No accurate data on the total number of cows available in Nigeria, but we claimed to have about 15 million cattle. Nigeria is the largest producers of livestock in Africa, also the largest importer of processed milk, spending a sum of US$1.3billion yearly on milk importation.


Take note, a Nigeria cow is said to produce just about 1.5 to 2 litres of raw milk in a day. While in Kenya, a single cow generates about 20 to 30 litres of milk per day and in Africa, Kenya is said to be self-sufficient in terms of milk production.

Look at the poor numbers, it will take 30 Nigerian matured cows to able to produce 30 litres of milk and a single average cow in Kenya can easily produce the same volume.

What is our problem in Nigeria?


This is not climate or weather, it is simply about the management system of livestock in Nigeria. The dairy industry is not just milk alone, but meat production is also inclusive, and records has it that, an average of 10,000 cows are slaughter and consumed in Lagos daily.


This is an industry that needs serious attention because supply a market of 2.2million tonnes with 0.2million tonnes is a huge deficit and a huge sum of money leaving Nigeria yearly on importation of Dairy products is bad.

Is time to wake up and take the business of cattle(Cow, Goats, sheep) breeding seriously in Nigeria not minding ethnicity or state of residence, it is a business opportunity for all.



Finally, if you are thinking about what to produce in Nigeria as a farmer, choose among the commodities mentioned above.

Written by Denison


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