Nigeria’s agricultural sector plays an important role in the country’s economy. In the third quarter of 2022, it contributed 27.55% to nominal GDP and 29.67% to overall real GDP. The sector consists of crop production, livestock, forestry and fishing. Maize, cassava, guinea corn, yam beans, millet and rice are major crops produced in Nigeria. They are commonly produced across the northern, northwest, north-central, southeast, and southwestern regions of the country. Livestock production spans the rearing of goats, sheep, cattle, and poultry. Most livestock keeping is done in the Northern part of the country because of the environment. There has been an increased focus on agriculture in recent years as an avenue to reduce the country’s reliance on oil as a source of revenue. While there is a measure of progress, there is still room for improvement. In the first half of 2022, Nigeria exported agricultural products to the tune of N343.4 billion and imported N907.8 billion of agricultural products simultaneously.
According to Climate Trace, for the years 2015 to 2021, Nigeria contributed 2% of global agricultural emissions. Carbon (CO2) emissions, produced 66.6m tonnes during the period. Apart from carbon emissions, other greenhouse gases produced during the 2015 – 2021 period are methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N20). Methane accounts for 20.3m tonnes and 2% of global agricultural emissions for this period. On the other hand, Nitrous oxide accounts for 0.63m tonnes and 1.6% of global agricultural emissions.
In 2021 alone, the country contributed 4.9% of global agricultural emissions. It emitted 8.70m tonnes of carbon emissions in that year. Methane and Nitrous oxide follow at 3.00 and 0.09m tonnes respectively.
An analysis of the emissions trend for the seven years shows that for carbon emissions, 9.81m tonnes were released in 2015, the figures remained similar in 2016 and 2017 at 9.57 and 9.82m tonnes respectively. However, it increased substantially in 2018 at 10.58m tonnes, fell drastically in 2019 at 8.96m tonnes, and was 9.14m in 2020 and 8.70m in 2021. 2021 recorded the lowest in carbon emissions from the sector, followed by 2019 and 2020. It is therefore observed that in recent years (2019 – 2021), carbon emissions from the agricultural sector in Nigeria have reduced compared to previous years. It should be noted that all these emissions are from cropland fires alone. According to Climate Trace, cropland fires are emissions caused by burning local agricultural waste. Carbon sink related to vegetation regrowth is excluded from the emissions, making the emissions gross (as opposed to net).
Methane emissions, emissions are from rice cultivation, enteric fermentation, manure management and cropland fires. The majority of the emissions are from rice cultivation. An analysis of the emissions trend for the seven years shows that the highest emissions from rice cultivation happened in 2018 at 1.73m tonnes and the lowest happened in 2015 at 911.50k tonnes. Unlike carbon emission which witnessed its lowest in 2019 – 2021 as stated above, for methane emissions related to rice cultivation, the emissions were neither at their highest nor lowest but stood at 1.55m, 1.54m and 1.54m respectively for the three years.
Nitrous oxide emissions, emissions are from synthetic fertilizer application, manure management, cropland fires and other agricultural soil emissions. However, the majority of the emissions are from other agricultural emissions like crop remnants, manure left on pasture and organic soils that have been drained. The lowest emissions were 75.92k in 2015 and the highest in 2019 – 2021 at 82.75k for each year.
GHG emissions are greatly influenced by destructive land use techniques like deforestation, the careless application of fertilizers, and improper management of livestock. The sector’s carbon sink possibilities will increase with the use of proper land use techniques, like agroforestry. Climate-smart technologies can also be used for climate change mitigation. These steps in emissions mitigation form part of the government’s 2050 long-term low emissions vision.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Nigeria Country Manager Oluwatoyin Oladapo
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