ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES TO THE
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF NIGERIA
*Rotowa O.J1, Adekunle E.A2, Adeagbo A.A3, Nwanze O.L1 and Fasiku O.O3
1Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, Nasarawa State University, Nigeria.
2Department of Agricultural Economic, University of Abuja, Nigeria.
3Department of forest products and production, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
4Department of Aquaculture and Fisheries Management, Nasarawa State University, Nigeria
*Correspondence Author: Tel.: +234 8069077194; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Natural resources play an important role in the economic growth process of most economies
in the World. This paper examined the contribution of Agriculture, Forestry and
Fisheries to the economic growth in Nigeria. Gross domestic product (GDP) represents the
sum of value added by all its producers. These sectors have over the years contributed
immensely to the socio-economic development of Nigeria and other countries in West Africa
Sub-region and not only serve as source of raw materials to the industries, they also provide
employment opportunities to thousands of people. Agriculture, value added (% of GDP) in
Nigeria was 21.21 as of 2016. Its highest value over the past 35 years was 48.57 in 2002,
while its lowest value was 20.24 in 2014. In the last three decades, forestry and fisheries has
added continuously to Nigeria GDP in an increasing manner. Nigeria had 88.91b ₦in 1989
and has continually increase to 167.26b ₦ in 2015 and 171.64 b ₦ in 2016 'Fisheries in the
year 1989 added 94.81 b₦ and 358.7 b₦ in 2015. Although, it expected that countries rich in
natural resources should perform better than those poor in natural resources but the case in
Nigeria is different as natural resources has no and still not been getting a sustainable
management its deserves. It is on this note that this article conclude that policies aimed at
effectively and appropriately financing Agricultural, Forestry and Fishery sectors of the
economy should be adequately formulated and implemented by government in order to
increase the output of these sectors and promote sustainable exportation of Agricultural,
Forestry and Fishery Products.
Keywords: Economic development, Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Economic growth.
Forests in West Africa form a veritable base from which substantial proportion of the populace derives
their source of livelihood. The forests have over the years contributed immensely to the socio-economic
development in all the countries in West Africa Sub-region. Between 1950 and 1970 the newly
independent nations in West Africa relied on the national forest resources to build capital base for
economic development. Logging activities were very high in the tropical forest vegetation in Ivory Coast,
Ghana, Togo, Republic of Benin, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Cameroon. Many forest-based
industries were also established in these countries. Thus the forestry sector ranks among the highest
revenue and employment generating sectors in West Africa (Fuwape, 2003). The forests do not only serve
as source of raw materials to the industries, they also provide employment opportunities to thousands of
people. Apart from timber resources, the forest is also very rich in variety of non-timber products that
provide food, medicine, energy, shelter and recreational facilities for people in both rural and urban
centers in West Africa. The forests and trees also provide a way to express human, cultural and spiritual
values. The forests play important roles in the amelioration of weather pattern and climate, provision of
clean air, protection of biological diversity, protection of soil and food crops and carbon sequestration.
The forest play important role in the environment to maintain biodiversity and conserve soil and water.
The relationship between agriculture and development, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa,
cannot be overemphasized. As a roadmap to attaining development, the Millennium development Goals
(MDGs) was adopted in year 2000 and in Africa, 70% of the development target group live in rural areas
and are dependent on agriculture for a living (Tolulope and Chinonso, 2013). Invariably, reducing
poverty, improving nutrition and general well-being of the population would imply improving the
livelihood of this majority and this hinges critically on the performance of the agriculture sector. For
example, using World Development Indicator (WDI) data from Nigeria for selected periods, we find a
strong positive correlation between food production and primary school enrolment ratio and gender
equality while there is a strong negative correlation between food production and child mortality rates.
This gives some evidence on the importance of agriculture in economic development (Adekunle et
Gross domestic product (GDP) represents the sum of value added by all its producers. Value added is the
value of the gross output of producers less the value of intermediate goods and services consumed in
production, before accounting for consumption of fixed capital in production. The United Nations System
of National Accounts calls for value added to be valued at either basic prices (excluding net taxes on
products) or producer prices (including net taxes on products paid by producers but excluding sales or
value added taxes). Both valuations exclude transport charges that are invoiced separately by producers.
Total GDP is measured at purchaser prices. Value added by industry is normally measured at basic prices.
(Ogunbadejo and Oladipo, 2017)
However, sustained economic development cannot be achieved without economic growth. As expressed
by the World Bank (2006), high poverty level will lead to low growth and low growth will lead to high
poverty level. Thus, economic growth is necessary for sustained economic development (Akanbi and Du
Toit, 2011; World Bank, 2006). There is no doubt that economic growth is necessary for sustained
development, coupled with data limitation, informs our focus on investigating the contributions of
agriculture and forestry to economic growth, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in Nigeria.
This paper therefore investigates the contribution of agriculture and Forestry to aggregate economic
growth in Nigeria.
Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Economic Growth
Natural resources play an important role in the economic growth process of most economies in the World
(Cronin and Pandya, 2009). Most importantly, no developing economy in the World has the prospect to
sustain growth in the absence of natural resources, since they serve as sources of foreign earnings
especially oil, timber and other Agricultural products including grains and tubers. It is therefore expected
that countries rich in natural resources should perform better than those poor in natural resources. This is
because, it is believed that economies which are rich in natural resources can accumulate economic
infrastructure and human capital easily (Idumah and Awe 2017). However, empirical studies on the
natural resource endowment economic growth relationship reveal that while many countries rich in
natural resources have performed poorly while countries poor in natural resources have performed better
(Njimanted and Aquilas,2015). Among the countries which have fallen victim of a resource-curse are
Nigeria, Angola, Congo, Bolivia, Sierra Leone and Venezuela (Arezki and Ploeg, 2010). From 1965 to
1998, the rate of growth of Gross National Product (GNP) per capita in Iran and Venezuela was on
average -1% per year, -2% in Libya, -3% in Iraq and Kuwait. For Qatar, between 1970 and 1995, it was
-6% (World Bank, 2000 in Gylfason (2001). Gross National Product per capita fell by an average of 1.3%
during 1965-1998 for all OPEC, relative to the 2.2% average per capita growth in all the lower- and
middle-income countries. The only countries which are rich in natural resources with long-term
investment above 25% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on average from 1970-1998, which is equal
that of successful industrial countries that are poor in natural resources were Botswana, Indonesia,
Malaysia, and Thailand (Gylfason, 2001). On average, GDP per capita growth rates for Nigeria,
Venezuela and Indonesia from 1998 to 2002 were -0.59%, -3.64%, and -1.38% respectively (Iimi and
These sectors correspond to ISIC divisions 1-5 and includes forestry, wildlife, and fishing, as well as
cultivation of crops and livestock production. Value added is the net output of a sectors after adding up all
outputs and subtracting intermediate inputs. It is calculated without making deductions for depreciation of
fabricated assets or depletion and degradation of natural resources. Agriculture, value added (% of GDP) in
Nigeria was 21.21 as of 2016. Its highest value over the past 37 years was 48.57 in 2002, while its lowest
value was 20.24 in 2014. The contribution of forestry sector to the national economy is usually reflected in
terms of GDP share, balance of payment impact or export revenue, industrial output, employment or
income generation. The contribution of forestry to national economy in macro-economic terms is usually
undervalued in West Africa due to their peculiar accounting system.
Fisheries and Aquaculture is a sector that is very important to humanity, it provides food and nutrition
security, economic and social development, marine and coastal tourism, shipping, mining, energy and
ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, water filtration, atmospheric and temperature regulation,
it also provides protection from erosion and extreme weather events. According to FAO (2009), Fish
farming is a common practice in Europe, Canada, East Asia, China, Africa and developing Countries like
Nigeria. As reported by Keith (2010), over 500million people in the developing countries depend directly
or indirectly on Fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihood. In Nigeria, Fish farming is one of the fastest
growing ventures in Nigeria as it plays a vital role in the nation’s economy in terms of employment
generation, poverty alleviation, foreign exchange earnings and provision of raw materials for the animal
feeds and provision of raw materials for the animal feeds industry.
2.1 Contribution of Agriculture to Nigeria Economy
Different literatures has established a relationship between agriculture sector and economic growth (Gallup
et al., 1997; Thirtle, Lin & Piesse, 2003; Awokuse, 2008; Irz et al., 2001). Tolulope and Chinonso (2013)
contributed to the literature using Solow s growth accounting framework and estimate their model with‟
time series data on the Nigerian economy from 1960 to 2011. In their model, aggregate output growth is
conceptualized as the sum of growth contributions from each sector of the economy. They further modify
the model to provide evidence on the importance of the agriculture subsectors in the growth of the sector.
Similar Collins and Bosworth (1996) and Iyoha & Oriakhi (2002) reported that growth in the agriculture
sector is taken to be the weighted sum of the growth in the sub-sectors of the agriculture sector – namely,
crop production, livestock production, fisheries and forestry. It is expected that disaggregating the
agriculture sector will provide clearer evidence on how agriculture contributes to economic growth by
highlighting the sources of growth in the agriculture sector. This will give evidence on the contribution of
agriculture to economic growth and development on Nigeria.
2.2 Contribution of Forestry sector to Nigeria Economy
The contribution of forestry sector to the national economy is usually reflected in terms of GDP
share, balance of payment impact or export revenue, industrial output, employment or income
generation. The contribution of forestry to national economy in macro-economic terms is usually
undervalued in West Africa due to their peculiar accounting system. The contribution of the forestry
sector to national economies is one dimension of sustainable forest management, the sector include
all economic activities that mostly depend on the production of goods and services from forests.
This includes commercial activities that depend on the production of wood fibre (i.e., production of
industrial roundwood, woodfuel and charcoal; sawnwood and wood-based panels; pulp and paper;
and wooden furniture). It also includes activities such as the commercial production and processing
of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) and the subsistence use of forest products.
2.2.1 Forest-based Employment and value-added
In most countries, statistics on employment and value-added are two important components of a
broad range of macroeconomic statistics that are collected to monitor trends in the economy. Some
countries use their own macroeconomic classification systems but many use the International
Standard Industrial Classification of all Economic Activities (ISIC).
This classification system is maintained by the United Nations (UN) and is periodically revised by
the UN with the agreement of member nations. The versions of the ISIC used for most of the period
1990 to 2011 (ISIC Revisions 3 and 4) include three sub-sectors (called Divisions in the ISIC) that
clearly fall within the definition of the forestry sector given above. They are: ISIC Rev.4 Division
02 (forestry and logging); ISIC Rev.4 Division 16 (manufacture of wood and of products of wood
and cork, except furniture; manufacture of articles of straw and plaiting materials) and ISIC Rev.4
Division 17 (manufacture of paper and paper products). In addition to these three Divisions, forest
dependent activities also appear as part of other sub-sectors (i.e., Classes) in the ISIC. Furthermore,
part of activities such as manufacture of agricultural and forestry machinery, printing, transport,
wholesale and retail trade, private household and recreational activities are also forest related. All
these activities generate employment and value-added, however, it is not possible to distinguish
between forest dependent activities and other activities within these sub-sectors.
Forestry activities and the operations of the forest industries offer a lot of job opportunities.
Sources of forest-based employment are many and diverse but only a few of them are recorded.
The different stages of log harvesting, transportation and sawing are labour intensive and many
people in the rural area are employed. The present level of technological development in West
Africa necessitates that most tree felling and processing operations are done manually. For example
in Nigeria where the saw log production rate is 6,240,000 m3 per annum, it has been estimated that
about 40,600 people are employed in tree felling and transportation, while 160,800 labourers are
employed per annum in primary log processing.
Sawmills are the most widespread forest-based industries and one of the largest employer of rural
labour. The integrated wood industries that offer employment to rural people include the Plywood
and Veneer Mills, particularly mills and furniture factories.
In the secondary wood processing industries, the furniture, boat building and pole treatment
factories also offer employment to rural dwellers. Forest services such as recreation, hunting and
tourism also offer new sources of forestry employment. The statistics of the number of jobs
provided by the forestry sector is usually compromised due to the patrimonial nature of some
forestry activities and the fact that crafts play a major role in the secondary forest industry.
Estimation is also made complicated by the number of self-employed people who are involved in
collection, processing and marketing of non-timber forest products.
Trade. The forest products statistics compiled and disseminated by FAO include the following:
round wood; wood chips, residues and charcoal; solid wood products (sawn wood and wood-based
panels); and pulp and paper. Statistics are available for the value of international trade (imports and
exports) in these products for every country and territory in the World over the period from 1961 to
2011. statistics from FAOSTAT and COMTRADE were collated to produce datasets of forest
products from four sub-sectors: Forestry (roundwood and non-wood forest products (NWFPs)
(AFRISTAT. 2013); Wood industry (sawnwood, wood-based panels, wood chips and residues,
charcoal and further processed wood products excluding furniture); COMIFAC. 2012, Pulp and
paper industry (pulp, recovered paper, paper, and further processed paper products excluding
printed articles3 ECOWAS. 2013 EIU. 2013); and Wooden furniture industry (EIU. 2013). It
should be noted that the industries that produce these products do not exactly match the definitions
used in the ISIC. Firstly, charcoal production (outside of the forest) is one of a number of activities
under Class 2011 in ISIC. The overwhelming majority of global charcoal production occurs in
developing countries, where it is nearly all produced in the forest, but large scale production for
export is probably produced in factories.
2.2.2 Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs)
The non-timber forest products (NTFPs) of the State are all biological materials other than timber,
industrial roundwood and pulpwood that are extracted from the forest. NTFPs are derived from
large variety of plants and animals and may be consumed or processed into different set of
products. The quantity and types of NTFPs that are available in different parts of the sub-region
depend on the vegetation type of such location. Different types of non-timber forest products are
available in the mangrove, rainforest and derived savanna.
The important functions of NTFPs ranged from economic to social, cultural and religious. Fuwape
(2013) reported that NTFPs provide food, medicine, handicraft, tannin, dyes and cosmetics. The
use of NTFPs for traditional medicine was ranked as the most important in Ondo State, Nigeria
followed by its use for food, craft and cosmetics (Fuwape, 2003). The popular acceptance of
NTFPs for medicinal purpose was attributed to the socio-economic status of the people and their
confidence in the efficacy of herbal medicine.
The sale of NTFPs in local market provides income for people in the rural area. Some people also
engage in the collection and sales of leaves, fruits, seeds and roots of forest trees as source of
livelihood. Handicraft enterprise is one of the most predominant cottage industries in the rural
areas. It provides employment opportunity and income to the people. A lot of NTFPs are very
valuable as craft materials. Plant fibres from Raphia spp. and palm trees are used in making
brooms, ropes, fishing nets, baskets and mats. Rattan and climbing palms are also used for building
and construction of furniture items. Rattan furniture items are now commonly used in homes and
recreation centres. These furniture items have been found to be good, attractive, comfortable,
presentable and economical. Tannin and dyes are also obtained from the bark and roots of some
trees. Substantial quantity of tannin have been extracted from Mangrove trees (Rhizophora spp),
Khaya spp. and Entandrophragma spp.
The forest in West Nigeria contains different types of non-timber products in large quantities. These
products have both economic and social importance in the life of the people. Some of these
products can supply raw materials to sustain different cottage industries in the rural areas.
2.3 Contribution of Fisheries to Nigeria’s GDP
Fish production provides employment opportunities across various sectors. Harvesting, processing,
packaging and distribution activities constitute the supply chain for delivery of the commodity. The
production of equipment and technology for vessels, handling, processing and shipping constitute
support services. It generates employment for about 10-12% of the world’s population, according to
an estimate by World Bank (2010) small scale fisheries employed about 79million people in the
developing nations while large scale fishing employed like 5 million people and these estimate
includes those involved in fishing and post-harvest activities. In 1999, a total of 6.3 million metric
tons of fish was caught in Africa majority of which were marine fish. Countries with the highest
catch include Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria with Morocco being the leader in
fish processing, it produces more canned fish, fish oil and fish meal than any other African country
(World Bank, 2013).
Fish remains an important source of protein in Nigeria and the demand exceeds the supply. As
reported by FDF (2005) there is a high demand for fish (1.5 metric tons) and an annual per capital
consumption of about 7.5-8.5kg in Nigeria. In 2007, Nigeria produced 600,000 metric tons of fish
while consumer demand stood at 266 million metric tons and the demand-supply gap was
supplemented through the importation of 740,000 metric tons (Market resources commodity fact
sheet, Nigeria harvest vol. 4, 2007). As report by Ovie and Raji (2006), Nigeria imports about
700,000 metric tons of fish annually at a cost of some US$400 Million to cushion the supply-
The artisanal fishermen on the coastal waters supply about 260,000 MT, while those on inland
waters contribute about 200,000 MT. The remainder of the 511,000 MT annual production comes
from industrial fisheries. Thus, fisheries are crucial to the Nigerian economy, contributing 5.4% of
the Gross Domestic Product (FDF, 2005). The contribution of the fishing sub sector to gross
domestic product in Nigeria (GDP) at 2000 rose from 133.45 billion naira to 356.13 billion naira in
2016 (Table 1).
Table 1: Data on Real Gross Domestic Product (RGDP), (N'
YEAR RGDP Crop Production
1981 15,258.00 1,854.76 341.41 77.9 90.3
1982 14,985.08 1,897.08 361.12 73.91 93.86
1983 13,849.73 1,842.70 393.13 75.28 97.96
1984 13,779.26 1,759.12 399.69 76.69 68.01
1985 14,953.91 2,180.91 428.1 78.08 43.97
1986 15,237.99 2,427.10 421.63 86.59 51.51
1987 15,263.93 2,330.00 433.43 87.59 40.65
1988 16,215.37 2,581.60 444.27 88.91 59.79
1989 17,294.68 2,710.67 453.16 67.31 94.81
1990 19,305.63 2,828.59 462.22 72.61 101.29
1991 19,199.06 2,955.88 454.82 74.79 105.35
1992 19,620.19 3,044.55 458.92 76.51 94.81
1993 19,927.99 3,132.84 461.67 78.04 71.11
1994 19,979.12 3,226.83 466.29 80.07 66.49
1995 20,353.20 3,336.54 485.87 81.83 73.14
1996 21,177.92 3,463.00 499.96 82.24 88.35
1997 21,789.10 3,611.91 512.46 82.98 98.33
1998 22,332.87 3,752.77 526.3 83.98 112.2
1999 22,449.41 3,949.42 541.03 85.07 128.12
2000 23,688.28 4,067.90 553.48 86.35 133.25
2001 25,267.54 4,222.48 570.08 88.07 143.91
2002 28,957.71 6,977.88 597.5 88.69 153.02
2003 31,709.45 7,493.02 622.56 90.02 159.23
2004 35,020.55 7,956.66 663.03 95.87 173.02
2005 37,474.95 8,524.15 707.87 101.55 183.43
2006 39,995.50 9,162.65 756.73 107.66 195.43
2007 42,922.41 9,826.77 809.16 114.25 208.29
2008 46,012.52 10,437.99 864.19 121.22 221.97
2009 49,856.10 11,046.16 920.2 128.31 235.66
2010 54,612.26 11,683.90 979.56 135.72 249.71
2011 57,511.04 12,017.19 999.4 142.46 270.32
2012 59,929.89 12,919.54 972.76 146.09 291.31
2013 63,218.72 13,247.80 1,030.94 154.31 317.47
2014 67,152.79 13,793.45 1,086.85 161.34 338.75
2015 69,023.93 14,274.94 1,151.32 167.26 358.7
2016 67,931.24 14,894.45 1,185.12 171.64 356.13
Source: CBN statistical bulletin (Various Issues)
2.4 Nigeria - Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)
Value added is the net output of a sector after adding up all outputs and subtracting intermediate inputs. It is
calculated without making deductions for depreciation of fabricated assets or depletion and degradation of
natural resources. Agriculture, value added (% of GDP) in Nigeria was 21.21 as of 2016. Its highest value
over the past 35 years was 48.57 in 2002, while its lowest value was 20.24 in 2014. The origin of value
added is determined by the International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC), revision 3. Note: For
VAB countries, gross value added at factor cost is used as the denominator. In 1981 agriculture added value
in Nigeria was 28.52 and increased continuously 1988 (41.65). There has been constant decline in
agricultural added value until it get 2002 when it raises to 48.57 a record that has not been broken till today
Table 2: Agriculture added value (1981-2018)
Year 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990
Value 28.52 32.41 35.47 39.92 39.21 40.33 37.26 41.65 32.16 31.52
Year 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Value 31.22 27.27 33.9 38.81 32.06 31.13 34.03 39.05 35.31 26.03
Year 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Value 33.75 48.57 42.71 34.21 32.76 32 32.71 32.85 37.05 23.89
Year 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Value 22.29 22.05 21 20.24 20.86 21.21 22.23 19.1
Source: World Bank national accounts data and OECD National Accounts data files.
The contributions of agriculture to economic growth can be examined through the roles of the sector in the
economy. Johnston and Mellor (1961) summarized these roles in five inter-sectoral linkages; food, labour,
market, domestic savings and foreign exchange. The most basic of these roles is, perhaps the supply of
food for both domestic consumption and export. Direct contributions of food production can be through
income generated from sales of farm produce and returns from economic activities related to production; or
indirectly from increased capacity to partake in any form of economic activity through improved diet.
Anyawu, et al (2010) using correlation matrix find that production of major staples in Nigeria contributed
significantly to GDP growth (except wheat) between 1990 and 2001. Also, the agriculture sector
contributes to economic growth through provision of better caloric intake and food availability. The
attainment of global food security and reduction of hunger hinges largely on this singular role. According
to FAO (2005), agriculture can facilitate the attainment of all 8 MDGs through the direct or indirect
linkages to food availability and poverty reduction. In 2008, UNDP reported that the 12.6% reduction
recorded in the proportion of underweight children between 1990 and 2008 can be attributed largely to
growth in the agriculture sector in Nigeria (UNDP, 2008). Furthermore, as population increases, failure to
increase food supply in proportion to increased demand has negative effects on industrial profits,
investment and economic growth (Johnston & Mellor, 1961).
There is no doubt that the proxies of agriculture, forestry and fisheries productivity has over the years had
positive effect on Nigeria economic growth despite the fact that these sectors has receive little attention by
the government. Agriculture, value added (% of GDP) in Nigeria was 21.21 as of 2016. Its highest value
over the past 35 years was 48.57 in 2002, while its lowest value was 20.24 in 2014. In the last three
decades, forestry and fisheries has added continuously to Nigeria GDP in an increasing manner. Nigeria
had 88.91b ₦in 1989 and has continually increase to 167.26b ₦ in 2015 and 171.64 b ₦ in 2016 'Fisheries
in the year 1989 added 94.81 b₦ and 358.7 b₦ in 2015.
Although, it expected that countries rich in natural resources should perform better than those poor in
natural resources but the case in Nigeria is different as natural resources has no and still not been getting a
sustainable management its deserves. In order to increase the output of these sectors and promote
sustainable exportation of agricultural, forestry and fishery products, The Government of Nigeria should
put in efforts to diversifying the Nigerian economy as the Nigerian Agricultural, forestry and fisheries
Sector currently suffers from Marginalization. This would ensure that the economy is non-dependent on the
recently failing oil sector, creating a better level of economic Growth and development. Also, agricultural
practices including fish farming and tree planting should be encouraged round the country through the
provision of Modern and affordable farm inputs and equipment to help develop a higher level of food
security across the Nigerian states. Funding in forms of loans and grants should be given to Farmers and
young graduates, and other farm related operators to conduct their agricultural businesses. This will cause
an increase in the number of Nigerians that are interested in agriculture, fostering a larger scale of farming
and thus, an increase in agricultural, forestry and fisheries outputs.
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