Food Production In Nigeria And The Involvement Of Satellite Technologies


Approximately 70 percent of Nigeria’s population is involved in agriculture. Although the economy heavily depends on oil, agriculture is one of the main activities for society. 

Nigeria’s agricultural sector has immense potential, thanks to its natural resources such as land, climate, and rainfall, as well as its coastal regions and long-standing history as an agricultural economy.

Nigeria has a large population creates a strong domestic market for local production and processing. Moreover, the country’s strategic location in West Africa provides excellent potential for accessing regional markets.

Regrettably, there is a lack of collaboration within regional value chains. West African countries collaborate more with their former colonizers or the United States than their neighboring countries. Due to this, significant opportunities have been lost in the rice, cotton, and cocoa sectors, leading to continued import dependence.

With a population of approximately 200 million, Nigeria has a high demand for agricultural products. To achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2, which aims to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture,” entrepreneurs, corporations, and governments are collaborating.

Technological improvements and opportunities such as remote sensing in food production, aeroponics, and modern transportation systems are becoming increasingly popular in Nigeria’s agricultural industry. A community of passionate individuals are embracing these methods and working towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through their implementation.

Types of Growing in Nigeria

Satellite-based monitoring for food producers gives lots of valuable opportunities for improved management and increasing yields. It can be useful for different branches of agriculture.

In Nigeria, agriculture is divided into four sub-activities: 

  • Crop Production
  • Livestock
  • Forestry
  • Fishing

Although Nigeria heavily relies on oil, agriculture still holds a crucial position in the country’s economy. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the agricultural sector contributes 25% of Nigeria’s GDP and employs 70% of the country’s labor force. Agriculture, telecommunications, and services have driven Nigeria’s economic growth over the last five years. 

In Nigeria, the agriculture sector predominantly deals with the cultivation and processing of various crops and livestock, including  rice, cocoa, cotton, corn, palm oil, sorghum, peanuts, millet, cassava (also known as manioc or tapioca), yams and rubber. Regarding livestock, the country produces cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, timber, and fish. 

The country accounts for up to 20% of the world’s cassava production, making it the world’s largest crop producer. The crop is grown in most states in Nigeria, but it predominates in the southern part of the country. 

The cultivation of this crop has been well-established, and reliable methods for propagation and production exist. It is also important to note that cassava can adapt to climate change, tolerate low soil fertility and resist drought.

Nigeria also accounts for more than 70% of yam production. The country produces a staggering 47 million metric tons of yams every year. Additionally, this country is the largest producer of maize and rice on the African continent.

While some of these products are exported, most are consumed within the country. Agriculture accounts for 5% of Nigeria’s total exports, with the remaining 95% being petroleum and petroleum-based products.

Food Insecurity in Nigeria

According to FAO, the insecurity in northern Nigeria plays a critical role in the country’s food insecurity level. Food insecurity is linked to conflicts in the states of the north. Insecurity in this part of the country has caused the displacement of about 3.17 million people and restricted farmers’ access to their lands.

Nigeria has suffered from insecurity for many years, and conflicts between farmers and pastoralists have led to crises. Many residents have been killed, forced out of their homes, and their farmlands destroyed. All these factors mean that farmers cannot produce the required food, and food inflation is worsening. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, food inflation rose to 24.32% in January 2023. It is the highest rate in the past four years. 

Nigeria, projected to become the third most populous country by 2050, must urgently tackle food security issues. The situation in Nigeria has been made worse by the annual flooding. In late September 2022, the country was hit with floods, causing over 600 fatalities and displacing millions of people. The extent of the damage is expected to surpass the severity of the 2012 flooding, which was recorded as the most severe flooding event in the country’s history. 

Even though flooding poses a significant threat to food security, policymakers seem to overlook it. It is evident from the national agricultural plans, which fail to acknowledge the impact of disasters on food security. The role of remote sensing in food production can also be important in preserving crops before the threat of extreme weather. 

EOSDA Crop Monitoring in Food Producing

Satellite technology offers many benefits, helping to provide information about vegetation that is not available to the naked eye. The impact of remote sensing on food producers is hard to ignore. 

EOS Data Analytics provides satellite data analytics for different industries, including agriculture. The company developed EOSDA Crop Monitoring, a precision farming software for monitoring and management. 

The solution provides users with a rich range of features that help to track the health of plants and soil throughout the growing season. NDMI vegetation index calculation is available on the platform, along with a range of other indices that are helpful for management and planning. EOSDA Crop Monitoring is also a source of such valuable information as soil moisture data and reliable 14-day weather forecast. Farmers can use it for effective field activities preparing. 

The soil moisture index measures the amount of moisture present in the soil at the surface level and in the root zone. Farmers often rely on this feature during times of inadequate precipitation to identify areas where crops may be experiencing stress and pinpoint locations where rainfall could potentially result in landslides.

Thanks to the platform’s features, growers can use many benefits of satellite imaging in food production to access up-to-date insights on crop development and historical data. 

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