Nigeria’s agricultural sector has witnessed a remarkable surge in exports during the first quarter of 2023, with cocoa beans, sesamum seeds, and cashew emerging as the leading commodities. According to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), these agricultural exports contributed a staggering N279.64 billion in revenue, marking a significant 38.7% increase compared to the same period last year.


Cocoa Delight: Nigeria’s Revenue Booster and Global Player


Cocoa beans, a cornerstone of Nigeria’s export prowess, continue to serve as a vital revenue and foreign exchange earner. The country, ranked as the fourth largest grower globally, produced 250,000 metric tonnes of cocoa in 2023. In Q1 alone, the value of cocoa bean exports reached N102.71 billion, accounting for an impressive 36.73% of the total agricultural exports. Countries such as the Netherlands, Malaysia, Indonesia, Belgium, Germany, and Italy were the primary destinations for Nigeria’s cocoa exports.


Sesame Seeds and Soya Beans: Nigeria’s Diversification Powerhouses


Sesame seeds have emerged as a crucial component of Nigeria’s diversification plan, with the country being among the top global growers. In Q1 2023, Nigeria exported sesame seeds worth N67.66 billion, constituting 24.20% of the total agricultural exports. China, Japan, Vietnam, Turkey, and South Korea were prominent importers of Nigerian sesame seeds. Simultaneously, soya beans, rich in protein content, have witnessed steady production growth in Nigeria. The country exported soya beans valued at N38.63 billion, contributing 13.8% to the total agricultural exports. India, Canada, Turkey, Nepal, and Pakistan were key destinations for Nigerian soya bean exports.


Cashew’s Rising Market Share and Other Noteworthy Exports


Nigeria has made significant strides in the cashew industry, with a growing market share in global production. Although currently producing lower quantities than African peers such as Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea Bissau, Nigeria exported cashew nuts worth N34.02 billion, accounting for 12.17% of the total agricultural exports. Other notable agricultural exports include cut flowers and flower buds, ginger, frozen shrimps and prawns, roasted cocoa beans, natural cocoa butter, and other oil seeds and oleaginous fruits.