Edo State has one of the best soil conditions amongst the south-South states (sandy loam) and one that supports large scale cultivation of a variety of crops and good climatic condition to boot. The state is one of the few that have, based on soil testing values, come up with crop and soil fertilizer recommendations. NPK 20-10-5 for Cereals and vegetables, NPK 15-10-10 for roots, tubers and tree crops and NPK-10-20-10 for legumes just to mention a few.
Nigeria boasts of about 84 million hectares of arable land and less than a third of that is cultivable but Edo boasts of about 1.1 million hectares of that quantum.
Edo State is predominantly agrarian with a landmass of about 19,187Km2 of which about 70% is cultivatable land for agricultural production. It is estimated that agriculture accounts for about 40% of the State’s GDP. The potentials of the State in the area of primary agricultural production are immense.
The state has a tropical climate characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons and this effectively supports the production of a variety of cash crops and food crops. 73,000 hectares Agenebode/Iiushi axis axis, the Osse/Ovia Rivers, the Orhionmwon River and several lakes and Ox-bow lakes.
The cash crops are oil palm, rubber, cocoa, pineapple, pawpaw,cassava, water melon.
Oil Palm is native to West Africa and is well adapted to the ecology of Nigeria particularly that of Edo State. World demand for oil palm has soared globally in the last decades because of its use as edible oil and more recently as biofuel.
As a labour intensive crop, oil palm is a major employer of labour and the aspiration of edo state is that soonest over 40,000 hectares of new farmland and over 200,000jobs will be created from oil palm and its related activities. It’s expected that oil palm value chain will create opportunities for industrial growth in Edo State, enhance wealth creation and increase government revenue.
Natural rubber has been an important part of the socio-economic life of Edo State and its cultivation provided bulk employment in the 60s and late 70s.Edo state goal conc
erning rubber is to enhance global competitiveness in rubber production, reduce poverty and accelerate GDP growth rate, Provide employment in the entire value chain, Provide industrial raw materials, increase government, encourage introduction of high yielding clones where they are not available locally, strengthening synergy between private sector holdings and relevant government agencies with respect to crop introduction.
Edo State is rich in the production of cocoa, with all areas of Esan, Owan, Orhionmwon, Akoko-Edo, Ovia and Uhunmwode deeply involved. This product is perhaps the single most important ingredient in most beverages used in Nigeria today. It is also used in the cosmetics industry. It is not only used in Nigeria, it is an international agricultural commodity which finds ready export market all year round. As a matter of fact, deregulation of foreign exchange market has made a number of local Cocoa farmer’s millionaires through cocoa export. But industry demand for the product is also high. Interestingly the technology for cocoa processing into beverages is not extremely complex. Hence small and medium scale investors can find the cocoa farmer in Edo state a worthy ally.
Cassava (Manihot esculenta) is probably the most cultivated crop in Nigeria, with Edo state being the second highest producer of the crop, producing up to 200 million tonnes annually.
Cassava is also widely consumed in Edo state in the form of staple cassava flakes (locally known as garri).Apart from the staple consumption, cassava is also in high demand for the production of cassava pellets for use as animal feed because of its portability and high calorie content, ethanol production, industrial starch which is used in textile, paper and adhesive production, and cassava flour which is used as a replacement for wheat in the production of bread.