The contribution of Nigeria's agricultural sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2020 was the sector's highest first-quarter contribution in the last two years, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.
Figures released on Tuesday showed that the sector in the first quarter of 2020 contributed 21.96 per cent to the nation's GDP, which is the monetary value of all finished goods and services made in the country.
The contribution is higher than 21.89 per cent and 21.66 per cent recorded in the first quarters of 2019 and 2018 respectively.
If inflation is included, that is in nominal terms, agriculture contributed 20.88 per cent to nominal GDP in the first quarter of 2020.
In real terms, Nigeria's GDP for the first quarter of 2020 stood at N16.7 trillion, meaning agriculture generated about N3.7 trillion.
The NBS said in all, the non-oil sector contributed the largest chunk of 90.6 per cent to the economy. Other sectors that make up the non-oil sector as computed by the statistics bureau are industries and services, with services contributing the more than half.
In terms of growth rate, agriculture grew by 2.20 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 over the corresponding period in 2019, a decline since the first quarter of 2019 grew by 3.17 per cent over the previous year.
The bureau said the sector declined by -27.81 per cent over the fourth quarter of 2019, partly due to seasonal impact on farming and the effect of the coronavirus pandemic.
Four sub-activities make up the agricultural sector, namely, crop production, livestock, forestry and fishing.
According to the data, crop production remained the major driver of the sector, as it accounted for 90.54 per cent of overall nominal growth of the sector in the first quarter of 2020. Quarter on quarter, growth stood at -19.58 per cent in the first quarter of 2020.
While crop production grew by 2.38 per cent in Q1 2020 from 3.26 per cent in Q1 2019, livestock grew by 0.63 per cent from 0.88 per cent in Q1 2019.
Simlarly, forestry grew by 1.71 per cent from 2.19 prer cent in Q1 2019, while fishing grew by 1.49 or cent from 2.33 per cent in 7.09 per cent in Q1 2019.
The year-on-year growth notwithstanding, the total GDP and agricultural sector fell quarter-on-quarter (from the preceding fourth quarter of 2019) as Nigeria and other countries suffer from the impact of COVID-19.
Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari urged farmers to increase their food production as Nigeria has no money for food importation.
"I wish the farmers could go and stay in their farms so that we can produce what we need sufficiently so that we don't have to import. In any case, we don't have money to import so we must produce what we have to eat," he said.