Nigeria boosts of 34.0 million hectares of arable land out of a total agricultural land estimated at almost 71 million ha, about 77 percent of the total area of the country. Available statistics reveals that in 2013, the cultivated area was 40.5 million ha, with permanent crops covering 6.5 million ha of her arable land.
However, her agricultural land use is projected to increase by 3.4 million hectares by 2021. This represents about 5% growth as deduced by MSMEsToday from data obtained from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FOSTAT). This is in line with expected projection in the increase of about 5 million MSMEs to come to limelight in 2021 earlier reported by us.
According to FOSTAT, agriculture land is made up of land used for cultivation of crops and animal husbandry. It is the total of areas under Cropland and Permanent Meadows and Pasture. Nigeria agricultural land use increased from 66 million hectares in 2000 to 69 million hectares in 2018 and expected to reach 73 million hectares in 2021. Nigeria has more of cropland to grass land over the years. In 2000, the country had 61.95% of its agricultural land as cropland while the remaining 38.05% is for grassland. This continued in 2018, with 58.59% of the agricultural land as cropland, but with the grassland gaining ground, Nigeria’s cropland is projected to reach 55.15% in 2021.
Looking at the West African region, the region’s agricultural land use is expected to grow by 8.47% from 269 million hectares in 2018 to 291 million hectares in 2021. The region accounted for 23.95% of Africa’s total agricultural land of 1,122 million hectares in 2018 and by 2021, its share of Africa’s agricultural land is expected to increase to 25.06% all things be equal.
Nigeria’s position in the region cannot be overemphasized with its agricultural land responsible for 25.72% of the total West Africa’s agricultural land use of 269 million hectares in 2018 and her share projected to reach 24.89% of West Africa’s 291 million hectares in 2021.
Niger occupied the second place with total agricultural land use of 47 million hectares in 2018; this represents 17.34% of the total West Africa’s agricultural land use during the period under review. Niger’s agricultural land use is projected to reach 51 million hectares in 2021 representing 17.65% of the region agricultural land use. Mali occupied the third place with 41 million hectares of agricultural land use in 2018. By the end of 2021, it is expected to increase to 44 million hectares of agricultural land use in 2021. Next in magnitude to Mali is Mauritania with 39.7 million hectares of agricultural land in 2018 and expected to decline to 39.6 million hectares in 2021. In Africa, Nigeria agricultural land use accounted 6.16% of Africa’s total agricultural land use of 1,122 million hectares in 2018 and expected to reach 6.49% in 2021.
This report implies that Nigeria should have noticeable impact in food production and more so, in the food sufficiency and sustainability plan of the sub – region, if not the entire Africa with the policies, programmes and monitored implementations of our agricultural, food production and food security initiatives and Nigerians truly will have no reason to be hungry.