Nigeria is a country recognized for its great cultural diversity and abundant natural resources. One of its most valuable advantages, often overlooked, is its agroecological diversity. is the application of ecological concepts and principles in farming. the agroecological zone promotes farming practices that put farmers and communities in the driving seat.
They give power to approaches led by local people and adapt agricultural techniques to suit the local area and its specific social, environmental, and economic conditions.Nigeria’s geography is separated into numerous agroecological zones, each with its own set of climatic, soil, and topographical characteristics that have a significant impact on the country’s agricultural potential.
Nigeria’s agroecological zones can be categorized into;
- Mangrove Fores
- Freshwater swamp Forest
- Sudan savanna
- Northern Guinea savanna
- Mountain vegetation
- Southern Guinea savanna
- Lowland Rainf
- Sahel savanna
- Abia; Southern Guinea Savanna, Lowland Rainforest
- Abuja: Northern Guinea Savanna
- Adamawa; Northern Guinea Savanna, Montane
- Akwa Ibom; Lowland Rainforest
- Anambra; Southern Guinea Savanna, Freshwater Swamp
- Bauchi; Northern Guinea Savanna, Sudan Savanna, Montane
- Bayelsa; Mangrove Swamp, Freshwater Swamp
- Benue; Northern Guinea Savanna, Southern Guinea Savanna, Lowland Rainforest
- Borno; Sudan Savanna, Sahel Savanna
- Cross River; Southern Guinea Savanna, Freshwater swamp, Lowland Rainforest
- Delta; Mangrove swamp, Freshwater Swamp, Lowland Rainforest
- Ebonyi: Southern Guinea Savanna
- Edo; Southern Guinea Savanna, Freshwater Swamp, Lowland Rainforest
- Ekiti; Southern Guinea Savanna
- Enugu; Southern Guinea Savanna
- Gombe; Sudan Savanna
- Imo; Southern Guinea Savanna, Freshwater Swamp, Lowland Rainforest
- Jigawa; Sahel Savanna
- Kaduna; Northern Guinea Savanna, Sudan Savanna, Montane
- Kano; Northern Guinea Savanna, Sudan Savanna, Montane
- Katsina; Sudan Savanna, Sahel Savanna
- Kebbi; Sudan Savanna
- Kogi; Northern Guinea Savanna, Southern Guinea Savanna
- Kwara; Northern Guinea Savanna
- Lagos; Freshwater Swamp
- Nasarawa; Northern Guinea Savanna, Montane
- Niger; Northern Guinea Savanna
- Ogun; Southern Guinea Savanna, Freshwater Swamp, Lowland Rainforest
- Osun; Southern Guinea Savanna, Lowland Rainforest
- Oyo; Northern Guinea, Savanna, Southern Guinea Savanna, Lowland Rainforest
- Plateau; Montane, Sudan Savanna, Northern Guinea, Savanna
- Rivers: Freshwater Swamp, Lowland Rainforest
- Sokoto; Sudan Savanna
- Taraba; Northern Guinea Savanna, Montane
- Yobe; Sahel Savanna
- Zamfara; Sudan Savanna
- The Guinea savanna (or savanna woodland/wooded savanna) is the most extensive vegetation in the Middle belt of Nigeria and consists of a mixture of trees and grass. Characteristic of this zone is the woodland savanna, which consists of an open stand of trees, the crowns of which form a canopy from 8 – 20 m or more in height and cover at least 40% of the surface. Tree species include; Shea butter, Oil palm, Isoberlina spp., Danielliaoliveri, Lophiraalata, and
Terminalia spp.It has two types; Northern and Southern.
- The Sudan savanna belt is found in the Northern parts of Nigeria and stretches from the Sokoto Plain through the Northern section of the High Plains of Nigeria to the Chad Basin. The Sudan savanna is characterized by high rainfall variability and frequent, together with poor soil fertility being a major constraint to agriculture in the region. The zone has the largest population density in Northern Nigeria, produces important economic crops such as groundnuts, cotton, millet, and maize, and has the highest concentration of cattle in the country.
- The Sahel savanna is found in the extreme Northwest and Northeast of the country. It is a transitional eco-region of semi-arid grasslands, savannahs, steppes, and thorn shrubs lying between the woodedsavanna to the south, and the Sahara to the north.
- The Mangrove Swamps; along the coastal areas of the Niger Delta region, Nigeria’s Mangrove Swamps are characterized by brackish water and marshy lands. Fishing and aquaculture are the primary economic activities in this zone due to the proximity to water bodies. The fertile soil is also suitable for cultivating oil palm and rice. Sustainable management and protection of these wetlands are crucial to maintaining the ecological balance while ensuring a steady supply of fish and other aquatic resources
- Lowland Rainforest Zone; the Rainforest Zone, covering the southern part of Nigeria, including states like Cross River and Ogun, experiences high rainfall throughout the year. This region is lush and fertile, ideal for a wide range of crops, such as cocoa, oil palm, rubber, and various fruits and vegetables. It is also known for its biodiversity and potential for agroforestry initiatives.
- Freshwater swamp; Wetland environments include freshwater swamp forests. During the dry season, the terrain is quite uneven, with numerous spots of open water. During the wet season, they are frequently inundated. They form a fringe of coastal vegetation after the mangroves in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.
- Montane is an ecosystem found in mountains. It is influenced by colder weather at moderate elevations. In these places, dense forests are common. Rainfall and a temperate climate cause natural vegetation to vary in Mountain Forest.
|Mangrove swamps||Bayelsa, Delta, and River states|
|Northern guinea savanna||Niger, Taraba, Kaduna, Bauchi, Kano, Adamawa, Benue, Kwara, Kogi, Oyo, Abuja, Nasarrawa, Benue, Jos, Plateau states|
|Southern guinea savanna||Ogun, Kogi, Edo, Anambra, Cross River, Imo, Abia, Benue, Enugu, Ebonyi, Oyo, Ekiti, Osun, states|
|Sudan savanna||Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Borno, Plateau States|
|Sahel savanna||Yobe, Jigawa and Borno states|
|Freshwater swamps||Lagos, Ondo, Edo, Delta, Anambra, Bayelsa, Imo, Rivers, Cross river, Ogun states|
|Lowland Rainforest||Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Rivers, Abia, AkwaIbom, Cross River, Benue|
|Montane||Jos, Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Nasarrawa, Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau states|
Why various zones?
Variations in agroecological regions are a result of some phenomena. These phenomena include geology, landforms, soils, vegetation, climate, land use, wildlife, and hydrology. Regardless of the hierarchical level, the relative importance of each trait differs from one zone to the next. The nation’s very diverse agro-ecological zones make it an ideal producing area for a wide range of crops. From smallholder and substantial farmers to large-scale and mechanized farmers, they raise a variety of food crops, the economic, social, and nutritional relevance of which varies by agroecological zone.
- Climate Variability: In some areas, erratic rainfall patterns can lead to crop failures and food poverty.
- Soil Erosion: The Forest Zone is especially vulnerable to soil erosion caused by deforestation and poor land management.
- Improved transportation and storage facilities are critical for connecting farmers to markets and reducing post-harvest losses.
- Climate Change Resilience: In order to adapt to shifting weather patterns, Nigeria needs to invest in climate-resilient farming systems.
- Promoting sustainable agriculture, organic farming, and agroforestry can improve soil health and safeguard the environment.
- Crop Diversification: Different zones provide opportunities for crop diversification and improved food security.
- Processing and value addition to agricultural products can increase income and offer job opportunities.
- Climate-Smart Agriculture: Putting climate-resilient techniques in place can help minimize the effects of climate change
Nigeria’s agricultural economy is built around agroecological zones. Each zone has a distinct combination of climate, soil, and geography, which influences the types of crops and farming practices appropriate for the region. With the aid of this visual, learning and planning are made easier.