5 crops to plant in the north

The northern states in Nigeria continue to remain the most impoverished and poverty ridden states in the country. According to a recent statistic published on venturesafrica.com, the top five poorest states in Nigeria are situated in the North. Sokoto stands atop that list with an unbelievable 81.2 percent poverty rate despite the fact that it has about 80 percent of its population practising rural agriculture.

These statistics are saddening, especially when you consider that the northern regions have the largest capacity to mass produce a variety of crops.

If you plan to grow crops in the north, here’s a list of 5 crops worth of consideration:


Nigeria currently produces yam in vast quantity and is accounting for about 70% of the world’s total yam production, and because of this, it is the termed the largest producers of yams globally followed by Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana respectively. Although yam is produced all around Nigeria, the largest concentration of the production is in the North. The states in the North where yams are mostly produced in Taraba, Benue, Niger and Nassarawa. Benue state is however the largest producer.


Scientifically called Oryza sativa, rice is the world’s second most popular cereal after maize. Here in Nigeria, it needs no introduction because it has become one of the most important foods in the country, consumed by both the wealthy and the poor. There’s hardly a place you’ll go in Nigeria where you won’t find rice among the most consumed foods. The good news is that the current administration has put some policies in place to ensure that local producers of rice are supported and locally produced rice is consumed by Nigerians. Although eastern states like Ebonyi and Anambra also produce rice,the main areas of rice cultivation in the country include the states of Kebbi, Kano, Niger and Taraba, with Kebbi being the largest rice producing state in Nigeria.


Before the oil boom in Nigeria, cotton was one of the major cash crops produced in Nigeria and exported to other countries, but due to the negligence of the government, the cultivation and exportation of cotton have reduced greatly. This is not bad news though, as the soil in Nigeria, especially in the North, is still as arable as ever and it provides the perfect opportunity for you to consider cotton farming. The major producers of cotton are Kaduna, Ondo, Kano, Katsina ,Oyo, Kwara, Ogun, Zamfara, Jigawa, Sokoto, and Kebbi.


Garlic belongs to the Allium family of vegetables. This is the family of onions, chives, shallots and leeks. It’s one of the most valuable and versatile foods on the planet today. Garlic is widely recognized today as one of health enhancing supplement. As it turns out, Nigeria has a capacity to produce this on a large scale. As a matter of fact, Daily Trust newspapers on 10th February, 2018, gave a report titled “Garlic now goldmine for Sokoto farmers”. The real meaning of this is that farmers are making millions from garlic farming. You can make those millions too, if you start today. Kano, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Jigawa, Bauchi, Katsina and Zamfara States are the main producers of the commodity.


Nigeria is one of the top producers of ginger in the world. In the Nigerian market ginger is well known and on high demand even though it is quite expensive. Kaduna State stands as the highest producer of the crop while states like Gombe, Bauchi, Benue, Nassarawa among others are major producers of the crop.

Some other crops that are worthy of also giving a shot are Hibiscus, Groundnuts, Gum Arabic, Maize, Cassava, Cashew, Cowpeas, Soybeans, Sesame seeds, Sugarcane, Pepper, Tomatoes and Sorghum.

If you live in the North and you’ve either tried any of these or plan to do so, please let us know in the comment section.


Does Abuja area qualify for ‘North’… In this context?

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Oh yes, it most certainly does. Bear in mind however that some lands, like that of Kebbi state, are more arable than others.


I’m from Southern Kaduna and into ginger farming. How can I get funds to cultivate 10htrs of ginger?

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I am from plateau base in kaduna i want to go into rice farming i need starting capital because there vast land good for cultivation of rice.

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What about millet and cassava ?


Sure… They can be grown there too

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Wow nice, can you update this list with more?

yes i think this list should be updated as well

6) Melon Seed (Egusi)


It grows mostly in such areas as Enugu, Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Kogi state. The crop is rich in protein and fat. The fruit itself is not consumed as the seeds. It grows in well-drained soils, it can be planted in a nursery or directly. Melon seeds are used in the preparation of such soup as “Egusi”, in baking, or for preparation of snack foods. People also extract oil from the seeds.

7) Cashew

At present, Nigeria is one of the leaders among the producers of this crop. Cashew tree gives two kinds of the product: cashew nut and cashew apple. A seed of cashew plant needs 2-3 years to grow into a tree. Cashew apple bears a seed that is cashew nut. The fruit can be eaten when plucked, the nut should be roasted before consumption. The fruit is seasonal and contains many healthy elements as manganese, selenium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B6 and iron. The product can be very helpful in weight management, bone development, prevention of gallstones, reduction of heart diseases and in many other cases.

@khrisbukz Other crops to plant in the north has been added. Read through.:+1:

Thanks @bookola for the update… Really helpful :ok_hand:

@bookola am new to agribusiness and am looking for a good contact that I can invest with on ginger/garlic/melon/watermelon. Can u help on this. U can reach me via whatsapp 08056003217

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Please let me know how I can go into garlic production in sokoto, the season, manure needed and other logistics

Oh we will get back to you on this…

Hello @Garba_Fakai Kindly check our garlic article below.

Let’s know if this was helpful… Thanks :+1:

Check out Cash crops in Nigeria and where they are found

Please where can I buy garlic in large quantities in Kebbi state.

I need duaf pawpaw seeds for planting please i am in Makurdi Benue State my number is 08094939800 Thanks