12 Best Cash Crops in Nigeria and their economic value

In this post, we will show you the 12 best cash crops in Nigeria. These are crops that are suitable for export to other countries and they bring a good return on investments to farmers.

With about 30% of Nigeria’s population actively involved in agriculture, the agricultural sector is obviously very important to Nigeria’s economic growth.

While the Federal government is yet to really tap into the immense potential in this sector, and despite the fact that the bulk of Nigeria’s agriculture is still being practised at subsistence level, Nigeria still remains one of the highest producers of some major cash crops in the world today.

This can be tied down to the high fertility of the country’s soil – which supports diversity in agricultural production – and the favourable climate conditions in the country throughout the year.

Here in this post, we’ll provide you with a list of some of the major cash crops in Nigeria and their economic value.

Read Also: How to Start Farming Business in Nigeria and Make Millions from it

Best Cash crops in Nigeria and their economic value

1. Sesame (BeniseeD)

With over 15 states in the country actively involved in the production of this cash crop, Nigeria is said to be the third-highest producer of Beniseed in the world, behind only India and China.

This highly economically profitable crop is produced in Abuja, Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Plateau, Niger, Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi, Zamfara, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Benue, and Nassarawa – which is said to be the highest producer of the crop, with over 40 metric tonnes produced in the state per year.

2. Cocoa

Another profitable cash crop produced in Nigeria, Cocoa is Nigeria’s leading agricultural export, and the country is said to be the third-highest exporter of the crop in the world.

Although, before the discovery of the country’s oil resource, Nigeria ranked second in cocoa exploration in the world. However, in terms of production, the country places third in the world.

The Western part of the country is said to be the highest producer of Cocoa in Nigeria, with states like Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo, Osun, and Ogun accounting for about 80% of Nigeria’s Cocoa production. Other states like Edo and Cross river are also actively involved in the production of the crop.

Read Also: How to Farm Cocoa in Nigeria

3. Rubber

Nigeria is said to be the 9th largest producer of rubber in the world, with Delta state standing out as the largest producer in the country.

Other states actively involved in the production of this crop include Bayelsa, Cross River, Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers, and Abia.

4. Groundnut

Nigeria is the third-highest producer of groundnut in the world, behind only China and the USA, with around 3.4 million tonnes of the crop being produced in the country as of 2014.

Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna, Adamawa, Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Gombe, and Bauchi are some of the states actively involved in groundnut production in Nigeria.

Read Also: How Profitable is Groundnut Farming in Nigeria?

5. Soybeans

Nigeria currently stands as the largest producer of soybean for human and livestock consumption in West and Central Africa.

The middle belt, with Benue state in particular, accounts for the majority of soybean production in Nigeria, with over 70% of Nigeria’s soybean produce coming out of his region.

Other states actively involved in the production of this crop include Kwara, Kogi, Oyo, Ondo, Osun, Nassarawa, Kaduna, Niger, Bauchi, Ogun, and Taraba states.

6. Oil palm 

Nigeria is said to be the largest producer of Oil palm in the world today, behind Indonesia and Malaysia.

This crop is produced in the South-east, the North-central, and the South-South region of the country, with the Niger Delta accounting for over 57% of the country’s oil palm produce.

Read Also: How To Start Palm Oil Processing Business In Nigeria

7. Tobacco 

Tobacco production continues to thrive in Nigeria, thanks in no small part to the activities of the British American Tobacco Company in marketing the product.

According to the company, Nigeria’s tobacco production increased from 2,088 tons in 2004 to over 2,500 tons in 2013. Also, about 10,000 people are actively involved in tobacco production in Nigeria.

8. Kolanut

Kolanut is quite important in Nigeria, mainly because of its use in major traditional celebrations in the country, as well as its nutritional value.

The crop is produced in about 19 states, including Cross River, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Kogi, Lagos, Gombe, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers and Anambra. Ogun is however said to be the largest producer of the crop.

9. Cashew

One of the most sort-after nuts in the country, majorly because of its nutritional value, Cashew is one of Nigeria’s most profitable exports.

The country ranks 2nd among largest producers of the crop in the world, and as of 2013, about 950,000 metric tonnes of the crop were produced in Nigeria.

Enugu, Oyo, Anambra, Kogi, Osun, Abia, Ondo, Benue, Cross River, Imo, Ekiti, Ebonyi and Kwara are among the states actively involved in cashew production in the country.

10. Cotton

Cotton’s importance to the clothing and textile industry in Nigeria makes it one of the most important Cash crops in the country today.

So important is cotton in Nigeria that the history of the crop’s production dates back to as far as 1903 when the British Cotton growers association where in charge of producing the crop.

The North and South-west regions of the country are the major production hubs of cotton today, with Oyo and Ogun taking the lead. In the North, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Jigawa, Sokoto and Kebbi are the front-runners in cotton production in Nigeria.

Read Also: How To Start An Export Business In Nigeria

11. Sugarcane

Sugarcane is another crop that is in high demand in Nigeria due to its sweet taste and nutritional value. States actively involved in sugarcane production in Nigeria are Katsina, Jigawa, Kano Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa, Kebbi and Sokoto.

Kanu is said to be the highest producer of the crop, with over 30% of Nigeria’s sugarcane produce coming out of the state. Jigawa, Kaduna, and Katsina together account for about 34% of Nigeria’s sugarcane production. Together, the entire northern region accounts for around 86% of Nigeria’s sugarcane production.

12. Guinea corn

Nigeria is said to be the highest producer of Guinea corn – also called sorghum – in the world, behind only the United States.

As of 2013, about 5.9 million tonnes of Guinea Corn was produced in the country. Borno, Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara, Katsina and Bauchi are among the states active involved in Guinea Corn production in Nigeria.


Despite the fact that Nigeria has not tapped fully into its agriculture potential, the country is still doing well in some aspects of the sector.

There is, however, more that can be done to see that agriculture in Nigeria reaches the level where it should be. Nigeria’s economy will greatly benefit from more concentrated efforts put into improving the agriculture sector. We hope this article has been helpful. Let us know.

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