OTHER - 17 JUL 2021

Top agriculture articles on Stears Business

Top agriculture articles on Stears Business
Top agriculture stories. Source: Stears Business

When was the last time you sat down and imagined where the tomatoes in your fried eggs or the pumpkin leaves in your edikaikong or efo elegusi soups originated from? 

You’ve probably never given it much thought. We don’t know many people who often imagine that either. And that’s not bad. 

But here are some interesting facts, four out of every ten Nigerians, cultivate the food we eat and sell to other countries. Also, almost 60% of household consumption in Nigeria is on food. So we should probably pay more attention to the developments in the agriculture sector, which might be why this administration is heavy on that agenda. 

There are real scares around worsening food insecurity, and the number one cause for the heightened inflation we have in the country is rapidly rising food prices. We published a Twitter thread that broke this down yesterday. These issues are what we regularly discuss in the Stears Business newsroom. And because we ought to be more aware of them, we’ve pinpointed ten stellar stories from our rich bouquet of Agriculture stories to break down some of the challenges and opportunities in the sector. 

The first piece is an overview of the sector. No better place to start than the present, right? 

So what is the sector like, and where is growth restricted or coming from—is it the crops or livestock subsector? Let's find out:


1. Agriculture sector growth: Not so fast

Well, the title already gives away the answer to our first question. It tells us that growth in the sector is not so fast. The story further explains the sub-sectors that comprise the agriculture industry. As we highlighted earlier, agriculture is an important aspect of this administration’s agenda. So, this article also spotlights the government’s investment in agriculture and why it is yet to bring about a desired growth in the sector. 

Read the full article here


2. Taming the Tomato: local and global solutions for curbing waste

We’ve already made a cheeky reference to tomatoes earlier. That should give you a hint of how important the fruit or the vegetable (whichever you prefer to use it as) is to us at Stears Business. Anyway, this next piece is a data story on tomatoes—something you’ve probably never seen before. It breaks down important information from the region it is mostly produced, its uses and of course the enormous waste of the product. For example, an Australian study found that up to 87% of undamaged, edible tomatoes harvested from a commercial farm were rejected and wasted based on appearance. Dig in to find other details of the cultivation, production and distribution channels that lead to wastage, especially in Nigeria, and the solutions too. 

Read the full article here 


3. Crowdfarming and the pandemic: What went wrong?

If you’ve invested in agriculture before, you would readily agree on how profitable it can be. Even if you haven’t, we only need to check out some investment returns on PiggyVest’s agriculture opportunities like poultry farming which gives back almost 20% in less than a year. But amidst the smooth initiative that enables people to invest, or, on the other hand, helps farmers crowdsource funds to grow their produce, something happened—the pandemic. As lockdowns took shape in March last year, many farmers in Nigeria could neither harvest crops nor plant new ones. It spiralled into a chain of events that took a toll on the industry, and this is one of the few articles that deeply explain it.

Read the full article here 


4. The odds against Nigerian women in agriculture

The statistical estimates on the proportion of women in Nigeria’s agricultural industry vary depending on the organisation we quote. For the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), women account for 35% of employed farmers and the United Nations (UN) believes that women’s contribution to agriculture is estimated at 60 to 79% of labour. In any case, there is ample room to improve development in the sector and this story gives a solid argument on why we need to focus on women for that development to happen. 

Read the full article here 


5. The shape of things: Nigeria’s economic recovery

This story is uniquely placed in this compilation because it is not an agricultural piece per se. Rather, it focused on what kind of recovery Nigeria would have following the pandemic-induced recession. Economists around the world have made different predictions using alphabetically shapes such as U, V and even W as the patterns of economic recovery to happen. So this article addresses all of that. However, one interesting pivot in the story is that regardless of the pattern of Nigeria’s recovery, it is bound to be hoe-shaped (i.e. via agriculture) 

Read the full article here to see how.  


6. The silent success of sesame seeds in Nigeria

What’s an agricultural compilation without a deep dive on one of Nigeria’s leading crop exports—Sesame seeds. As we said a couple of Stears Business library compilations ago, this is one story that provided several people with the inspiration on how to blow. It uncovers how the sesame seeds export industry took off with export earnings from sesame seeds growing from over ₦10 billion in the first quarter of 2017 to ₦50 billion by the first quarter of 2020—higher than our cocoa exports in the same period which came in at ₦35 billion. As we said, it’s a good example of how farmers can significantly boost their incomes by selling to the world.

Read the full article here 


7. Food storage in Nigeria: The challenges and solutions

This is another piece that addresses the challenges that comes with storing the food we produce properly. Lack of proper storage leads to higher food costs. To reduce this cost we can either produce in a higher quantity than we consume or try to store crops better. With this story, Gbemisola enlightens us on the peculiar challenges of storage—from farm to barns and the solutions we can adopt to make storage better in Nigeria.

Read the full article here 


8. Smallholder farmers need bespoke protection

From droughts to flooding and even pest infestations, farmers are liable to bear the burden of many risks, yet many of them see insurance as a luxury. This article shows small farmers rely on their savings and loans from informal sources to fund their planting in one season. So spending on anything outside their farming inputs is a tough ask. How then can they be protected against the natural and artificial risks of the industry they operate in? This article has answers.

Read the full article here 


9. Making more with less: Nigeria's productivity problem

Despite a large amount of agricultural activity (80% of employment and 25% of GDP), there is so much poverty in the sector. One survey showed that only 27% of farmers interviewed live above the poverty line ($2.50 daily). So, this article tackles Nigeria’s low productivity problem, showing how farmers can channel their current energy towards areas that can produce better value and output using education and techniques like precision farming.

Read the full article here


10. Why agriculture is only a first step and not the final solution

To wrap up this compilation, we end with one of our many free to read agriculture stories. It reiterates the theme of industrialisation you might have picked up in a couple of articles you’ve read earlier and shows how countries like Japan, South Korea and China grew into development on the back of agriculture.

Read the full article here 


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Stears Insights Team

Stears Insights Team

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