The Untapped Potentials of Coffee Production in Nigeria

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The coffee global market is estimated at $126 billion USD in 2022 (Expert Market Research). Coffee is one of the most cultivated beverage crops globally. It is cultivated in over 75 countries around the world, and it is the most popular beverage drink worldwide, being consumed in almost every country. Over 2 billion cups of coffee drinks are consumed every day globally. The coffee market obviously presents a great investment opportunity for coffee-producing countries including Nigeria.

But how does Nigeria take advantage of the large coffee global market opportunity? This article summarizes the answer to this question based on research studies conducted in Nigeria.

Coffee production in Nigeria.
Nigeria is one of many coffee-producing countries in Africa. Nigeria used to be among the high coffee-producing countries in the African continent in the 1960s (5000 tons), but its coffee production has reduced to as low as 1887 tonnes of coffee per year as of 2021. Compared to the top 5 coffee-producing countries in Africa (Figure 1), Nigeria is very behind in coffee production.

Figure 1. Tonnes of coffee beans produced by the top 5 coffee-producing countries in Africa and Nigeria in 2020. Graph created by Wise Farmer. Data source. TalkAfricana.com

Indigenous coffee cultivation in Nigeria was dated to 1896, but coffee production was officially introduced/recognized by the government in the 1920s. Large-scale production started in 1940 and increased until the 1960s. During the periods, coffee production steadily spread across up to 14 states in Nigeria, including, Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bauchi, Cross-River, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba. By 1969, Nigeria was producing about 5000 tonnes of coffee, and coffee production was significantly contributing to household incomes and Nigeria’s national foreign exchange earnings.

However, ever since then, Nigeria’s coffee production started taking a downward trend (Figure 2). But despite the low production, coffee consumption continues to rise in Nigeria, due to high demands from corporate workers that depend on coffee for a productive day. Although about 9 million farmers still cultivate coffee as of 2015, coffee production still remains low in Nigeria.

Figure 2. The downward trend of coffee production in Nigeria. Onwusiribe et al. (2022).

Some factors that contribute to the downward trend of coffee production in Nigeria include a lack of government support and funds for coffee growers, poor government policy, lack of training for coffee farmers, lack of capital or access to credit, lack of improved technology, poor pricing and marketing, lack of input, and climate change. As a result of these factors, growers have to use poor farm practices, little or no mechanization, incur low yields with low quality, depending on insufficient processing and storage facilities, and unreliable marketing channels. Thus, many farmers lost their passion for coffee production and most of them abandoned their farms. Many young people who could have gone into coffee production will rather look for corporate jobs than confront the challenges of coffee production.

Conclusion. Coffee global markets present a great opportunity for a coffee-producing country like Nigeria. However, due to many avoidable factors, Nigeria continues to lag behind and fails to take much advantage of the opportunity like other many coffee-producing countries in Africa. However, since Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria has the potential to turn things around very quickly. If the Nigerian government can fund universities, empower banks, and support farmer’s cooperative societies to make coffee production more effective and less difficult for Nigerians, many coffee farmers will resume coffee production and many young people will also join to exploit the coffee gold mine.


Onwusiribe, N. C., Mbanasor, J. A., & Oteh, O. U. (2022). Dynamics of coffee output in Nigeria. Gestão & Produção29.

Mustopha, F. B., Adesanya, K. A., & Aremu-Dele, O. (2022). Production trend of coffee in Nigeria: A review.

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