Agriculture, forestry and fishing occupy an estimated 80% of the active population of Nigeria and in 1952 produced 66% of its gross domestic product of £ 680 million. More than 90% of the country's exports result from crop and animal husbandry. Nigeria's economic development and the improvement of its living standards thus depend largely upon the growth and progress of the agricultural sector of the economy.
Nigeria's arable land resources are extensive, the water supply is abundant though not well-distributed, and the climate permits rates of growth close to the maximum attainable in any country. But productivity is often limited by mediocre soil fertility, primitive production methods and crop varieties with comparatively low yields. The following pages outline the physical environment of Nigerian agriculture, the vegetation which has naturally developed in this environment, the utilization of land and existing agricultural practices. Individual agricultural commodities and the means by which we think their output can be increased are the subject of Technical Reports No. 7 and No. 8.
Field crops accounted for 44.8% of the 1952 gross domestic product; tree crops for 11.3%; livestock products for 5.1%; forest products for 4% and fish for 0.9%. Yams and cassava together constituted 40% of the total agricultural product; grains, 17%; palm