Constraints to Fertilizer Use in Nigeria: Perspectives and Insights from the Agricultural Extension Service

Year published: 16/11/2009

The importance of agriculture in Nigeria’s economy cannot be understated. Farming and livestock

rearing is the main livelihood for over 70 percent of households in the country.1 In 2008, agriculture

contributed 42 percent of the country’s GDP, significantly higher than the 18 percent derived from

petroleum and natural gas production.2 However, the country’s promising agricultural potential has not

been realized. In all likelihood, low fertilizer use is a major factor in explaining the stagnant

agricultural productivity in Nigeria.

Widespread introduction of fertilizer began in the late 1970s with the proliferation of Agricultural

Development Projects (ADPs). This brief presents the insights of village extension agents (VEAs) who

are at the heart of the ADP concept and provide a uniquely informed perspective of the constraints to

fertilizer use in the country.