Nigeria’s agricultural sector has shown remarkable growth in the first quarter of 2024, with exports reaching significant values. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the total value of agricultural exports in Q1 2024 was ₦1,035.02 billion, representing a substantial increase over previous quarters.

    The upsurge in agricultural exports underscores the importance this sector plays in the economy of Nigeria. From products like sesamum seeds to cocoa beans, Nigeria has continuously made its imprint in the global agricultural market.

    Here is the list of top 10 agricultural exports that have sustained this performance.

    1. Sesamum Seeds

    The most outstanding agricultural exports are sesamum seeds, estimated at ₦247.75 billion. The primary buyers of these seeds were China and Japan, all from Asia. This therefore, based the demand for these seeds on the global markets on their wide application of this seed in the food industry, majorly in tahini and sesame oil.

    2. Premium Cocoa Beans

    Cocoa beans, second in the ranking, are valued at exports worth ₦230.85 billion, especially the high crop grade. The highest-grade cocoa beans are imported by the Netherlands and Malaysia to manufacture high-quality chocolate and other products from cocoa. This recent rush for the crop has shown Nigeria’s potential in the global market.

    3. Standard Quality Cocoa Beans

    Just tailing the superior quality are the standard quality cocoa beans, which have managed to register ₦140.09 billion worth of exports. Just like its superior quality variety, this type of cocoa is still a favorite among the people in the Netherlands and Malaysia, further emphasizing Nigeria’s image as a reputable cocoa exporter. In sum, having both superior and standard quality cocoa beans at the top of the list of exported goods only shows that there is high life in Nigeria’s cocoa production sector.

    4. Soya Beans (Excluding Seed)

    The export value of soya beans, excluding seeds, is ₦117.60 billion. The use of soya beans in producing different edible and animal feed items shows its versatile potential in the agri-food market. Skyrocketing global demands for plant protein products boosted the export of soya beans from Nigeria to make a mark in the agricultural export market.

    5. Soya Beans Flours and Meals

    Soya bean in the form of flour and meals combines to give a total export value to the Nigerian economy of ₦76.84 billion. These are the most significant ingredients for animal feeds, as well as high-quality human food products. The export of soya bean flour and meals shows how well-placed Nigeria is in the value-added agricultural products sector.

    6. Cashew Nuts (In Shell)

    The export of cashew nuts in the shell was valued at ₦56.57 billion. The nut is considered nutritionally healthy and quite common since it is used in many recipes for cooking. This ability to export vast sums of money worth of cashew nuts shows that the country has a good cashew farming industry. The value of Nigerian contribution in terms of the vast sums of money and the quantity is relatively high.

    7. Natural Cocoa Butter

    Natural cocoa butter, with an export value of ₦37.72 billion, is a core product. It is widely used in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, besides chocolate. What all this high demand means is that Nigeria plays a big part in ensuring that quality raw materials are supplied to very many industries around the world.

    8. Other Fresh Cut Flowers and Flower Buds for Bouquets

    Exports of other cut flowers and flower buds for ornamental purposes amount to ₦33.72 billion, implying that Nigeria also meets the demands of Europe and Asian markets regarding ornamentation, thus demonstrating the country’s agricultural diversity beyond food products.

    9. Cashew Nuts (Shelled)

    It is a pointer to show how strong Nigeria still stands in the global market of cashew nuts, even though they are shelled; their export value was pegged at ₦30.18 billion. This gives the nuts an added value since they take a second additional processing step by being shelled, increasing their value and popularity in the many international markets, especially the food industry.

    10. Other High Grade Cocoa Beans Unspecified

    Other unspecified quality cocoa beans have added the sum of ₦13.12 billion to the export figures. These, although not under superior or standard quality lists, rack high in value on the international scene for cocoa trading and are part of the comprehensive coverage of Nigeria’s cocoa exports.

    Economic Impacts and Future Prospects

    Leading Q1 2024, agro-exports for the quarter, compared with Q4 2023, grew by a good 123.08% to ₦1,035.02 billion and a whopping increase of 270.13% over the same period last year Q1 2023.

    It indicates the growing capacity of Nigeria’s agricultural sector to meet the needs of markets worldwide. Asia and Europe stand out as significant export destination points, indicative of strategic markets for the produce out of Nigeria.

    Wrapping up

    The overall growth in Nigeria’s economy for agricultural exports was massive in Q1 2024 as the top 10 exports flagged off the first. An outstanding range of commodities—from sesamum seeds to shelled cashew nuts—highlights agricultural produce from Nigeria.

    Market expansion, coupled with product quality improvement, places Nigeria strategically for enhanced agriculture exports, which will further cushion its quest for sustained economic growth through this sector.