The National Economy
Nigeria is made up of land covering 98.321 million hectares of which about 74,036 million hectares are arable.
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This quality coupled with deep soil, good heat and adequate moisture provides an excellent basis for successful tropical agriculture. Of immense importance to the economy is the huge population, which increased from 31.1 million in 1952 to about 88.5 million in 1991. Currently, population estimates put the nation’s figure at over 100 million and World Bank figures for mid 1990 ranked Nigeria the seventh most populous country in the world, after china, India, USA, Indonesia, Brazil and Japan. At the attainment of independence, agriculture accounted for well-over fifty percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and about three-quarters of the population were engaged in agriculture and agriculture related activities-such as livestock, forestry and fishing. The contribution of agriculture to the growth and transformation of the national economy was more evident through the now defunct marketing boards which then were responsible for the exportation of agricultural products.
From the mangrove and rain-forest, valuable hardwoods like mahogany, cedar, iroko and walnut are derived. Cocoa, rubber, palm produce, kolanut and arable crops like yam, cassava, maize and citrus are generated within the savannah. Conditions in the open grassland are conductive not only to the raising of cattle, other livestock and dairy products, but also the cultivation of grains like guinea corn, millet, rice, cotton, groundnut, beans and other leguminous crops.
Other products of economic importance are the mineral deposits. The geological formation has scattered about a number of very valuable deposits all all over the country. We have the alluvial gold deposits in the west and tin in the north. Coal is quite in abundance in the east.
Petroleum is in commercial quantities in the southern part of the country, especially in Edo/Delta, rivers, Imo/Abia and cross river/ Akwa-ibom states. Lead and zinc are concentrated in Jos. In addition, there are less concentrated traditional iron smelting activity, brass and bronze and the more concentrated iron ore around lokoja. There are rare metals like columbite, tantalum, tungsten and radioactive minerals. Other useful deposits for modern industrial and building activities, in the form of limestone, kaolin, diatomite and clay are in abundance.