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29 products you can export to Europe, US, Canada and Asia from Nigeria


With its rich resources and productive capacity, Nigeria offers immense potential for export-driven growth. This comprehensive guide covers the top exportable products, strategies to access global markets, current trends and outlook, plus practical tips directly from Nigerian exporters.

Export overview

Nigeria currently exports over $50 billion annually, but relies excessively on crude oil which provides nearly 80% of its export earnings. Recognizing the risks of oil dependence, the Nigerian government is now prioritizing the expansion of non-oil exports under its Nigerian Export Promotion Masterplan.

Agriculture, food processing, minerals, textiles and handicrafts have been identified as key sectors with potential for export growth. With supportive policies, training programs and trade financing, Nigeria aims to increase annual non-oil exports to $200 billion by 2025.

Diversifying exports accelerates economic growth and provides sustainable livelihoods for farmers, factories and small businesses catering to overseas demand. As an entrepreneur or business owner in Nigeria, this presents lucrative opportunities to go global with your products and participate in national development.

This guide covers 30 of Nigeria’s most promising export products, industry-by-industry, along with tips directly from experienced exporters.

Top Nigerian export products

1. Yam tubers

  • Nigeria produces over 60 million tons of yam annually, accounting for two-thirds of the global yam output.
  • Fresh yam exports rose from 106 tons in 2010 to 438 tons in 2020, headed to markets like the US, UK, Canada.
  • Yams present income opportunities for smallholder farmers, mostly in the Middle Belt region.
  • Exporters recommend proper post-harvest storage and transportation to avoid rotting and extend shelf-life. Packing in crates helps.
  • Beyond fresh yams, value-added products like yam flour, chips and packaged foods have export potential.

2. Cassava

  • Nigeria produces over 60 million tons of cassava yearly, making it the world’s largest producer.
  • Cassava exports are estimated at US$ 2.5 million annually in products like starch, flour and pellets.
  • High demand exists in the EU, Asia and Americas for cassava to substitute wheat flour in bakeries, pizza dough, baby food etc.
  • Consistency in quality and making sure the flour is properly sealed and packaged for freshness is critical before exporting to overseas clients”, notes Mrs. Abike Lawal, CEO of TeeBee Foods.

3. Cashew nuts

  • Nigeria exported over 200,000 tons of cashew nuts and kernels in 2021, valued at over $450 million.
  • Vietnam, India and Brazil are the top buyers of Nigerian cashews which are prized for their high quality.
  • Kano, Enugu, Oyo and Ondo are key cashew producing states. The Cashew Farmers Association promotes exports.
  • Linking with major cashew processors overseas and understanding their stringent quality needs is key to growing your export business”, says Mr. Ade Adeyemo, MD AgroAllied Exports Ltd.

4. Sesame seeds

  • Nigeria exported around 180,000 tons of sesame seeds in 2021, earning over $350 million.
  • Sesame exports go mainly to China, Japan, Turkey and the Middle East where seeds are used as food garnish, in confectionery and tahini paste.
  • Nigerian Sesame Seed Association assists farmers with new techniques to improve quality and yields.
  • An exporter suggests “investing in small-scale hulling machines so we can export value-added hulled sesame, and create more jobs here in Nigeria rather than just sending raw seeds abroad”.

5. Cocoa beans

  • Nigeria is the world’s 4th largest cocoa bean producer, generating over 300,000 tons yearly.
  • Annual cocoa bean and product exports are worth around $900 million.
  • Top buyers are Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Malaysia and Singapore where beans are processed into butter, liquor, cakes and powder.
  • Improving bean flavor and consistency by adopting better farm practices and fermentation methods is crucial to compete and increase prices”, says Mr. John Okorie, GM Cocoa Exports & Sustainability NGX Group.

6. Shea nuts and butter

  • Nigeria accounts for a 9% global share of shea nut production, estimated at 600,000 tons of nuts and 90,000 tons of shea butter annually.
  • Export demand is high in the food, cosmetic and chocolate industries of Europe, Americas, Japan and Gulf countries.
  • Getting international fair trade certification helps secure better prices from clients committed to sustainable practices”, says Alhaji Idris Badamosi, CEO Tajuddeen Foods Ltd.

7. Ginger

  • Nigeria’s climate is favorable for ginger production and currently exports over 28,000 tons annually valued around $100 million.
  • Key importers of Nigerian ginger are Europe, USA, Middle East and North Africa.
  • Meeting required phytosanitary standards for fresh ginger opens doors to more markets abroad”, remarks Mrs. Adeyemo, MD AgroProduce Export Solutions Ltd.
  • Dried ginger, pickled ginger and ginger powder also offer export opportunities.

8. Rubber

  • Nigeria exported over 190,000 tons of natural rubber in 2021, valued at around $250 million.
  • Rubber Export Association helps improve product quality. Major export products include latex, crepes, and sole crepes.
  • China, Germany, Turkey, Brazil, Niger and Ghana are the top importers of Nigerian rubber used in automotive products and industrial applications.
  • An exporter suggests moving up the value chain into production of rubber bands, seals, wood adhesives and molded automotive parts.

9. Cotton

  • Over 300,000 tons of cotton is harvested each year, earning around $300 million annually in exports.
  • China, Indonesia, Thailand and India account for the bulk of Nigeria’s cotton exports where the cotton is used in textile manufacturing.
  • Mechanized picking and ginning is needed to improve fiber quality and meet international standards according to the Nigerian Cotton Association.

10. Palm oil

  • Nigeria has over 1 million hectares under oil palm cultivation producing around 600,000 tons of palm oil yearly.
  • Palm oil exports generate above $400 million.
  • Netherlands, Spain and China are top buyers.
  • Certification from the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) has helped triple our exports into Europe as clients demand environmentally responsible practices”, reveals Alhaji Musa, MD AgriPalm Ltd.
  • Improved refining capacity can further boost palm oil exports.

11. Kola nuts

  • Nigeria exports kola nuts worth $85 million annually, supplying markets worldwide.
  • Japan and China account for around 70% of demand for Nigerian kola nuts which are cherished for medicinal properties.
  • Investing in local processing is key to export far more kola nut extract and powder compared to just raw nuts to Asia” says Alhaji Sani Kola, CEO KolaImpex Ltd.
  • US demand for kola nuts is also rising for use in cola flavorings.

12. Chili peppers

  • Nigeria exports around $60 million worth of chili peppers yearly, mostly to the EU.
  • Hard currency earnings can rise by exporting further processed products like chili flakes, powders and pastes.
  • We overcame EU import restrictions for fresh chilis by investing in drying facilities at our pack house to completely remove moisture content”, reveals Mr. Yemi Odusina, MD FarmKonnect AgroExports.

13. Hibiscus

  • Nigeria exports $35 million worth of hibiscus comprising dried flowers and powder annually.
  • Hibiscus exports supply the herbal tea and botanical product industries in North America, Europe and the Middle East.
  • Obtaining certification from Ecocert and USDA Organic helps fetch premium prices.
  • We increased margins threefold by launching our own packaged hibiscus tea brands tailored for export markets”, says Mrs. Olamide Dabiri, MD Zobell Organics.

14. Shrimp

  • Nigeria exports nearly $50 million worth of frozen shrimp annually.
  • Exporters target growing seafood appetite in Europe, USA, Japan and China.
  • The Seafood Processors Association assists businesses in achieving globally accepted quality and food safety standards.
  • An exporter recommends enhancing traceability from catch to finished product and investing in cold storage infrastructure.

15. Tobacco

  • Unmanufactured tobacco exports total around $30 million for Nigeria annually.
  • China, Belgium and Poland are the main buyers for further processing into cigarettes, cigars and packaging.
  • Improving curing techniques at the farm-level results in better quality leaves, which translate into higher export prices” reveals Alhaji Mohammed, MD SW Gold Tobacco Ltd.

16. Leather

  • Nigeria exports $15 million worth of cattle hides and skins which are semi-processed into leather used in footwear, garments and upholstery manufacturing across the globe.
  • We connected with leather goods clusters in China and Vietnam through trade fairs and now supply contract manufacturers there” says Mrs. Renee Chukwudelu, GM Mars & Mercury Leatherworks.
  • Exporters state establishing centralized leather tanneries can significantly scale up exports.

17. Oranges

  • Sweet, seedless varieties from Nigeria’s tropical climate earn $10 million in annual citrus exports.
  • The EU is the primary destination where Nigerian oranges gain premium prices for flavor and juiciness.
  • An agro exporter suggests offering better farmer prices, while “investing in cold storage and refrigerated trucks allows us to export fresh oranges year-round to Europe”.

18. Raw sugar

  • Around 200,000 tons of raw sugar is exported from Nigeria’s sugar refineries each year.
  • Neighborhing countries are currently the main markets, but attaining globally accepted quality standards can boost exports.
  • We are upgrading our refinery to produce export grade white sugar and also launch our own brand in Africa” reveals Mr. Prem Kumar, MD Dangote Sugar Refinery.

19. Beverages – beer, wine, spirits

  • Though currently low, Nigeria’s beverage exports are rising as indigenous brands target regional and global markets.
  • International marketing of brands like Star lager, Chelsea dry gin and Origin drink have enhanced ‘Made in Nigeria’ perception.
  • A bottling company MD reveals “We managed to export our tropical fruit wine to the UK and USA, by meeting all the documentation, lab testing requirements over 18 months of planning”.

20. Precious stones – sapphire, tourmaline

  • Nigeria has rich deposits of precious stones like sapphires and tourmaline, with mining and exports steadily rising.
  • Raw and cut gemstone exports were worth $20 million in 2021.
  • UAE, USA, Hong Kong and Thailand are major buyers of Nigerian gemstones, which are then retailed globally in jewelry.
  • An exporter suggests the government set up dedicated “lapidary centers to train youth in gem-cutting skills necessary to process stones before export“.

21. Sesame oil

  • Sesame oil exports currently total around $5 million annually according to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data, but has strong growth prospects.
  • Japan, Taiwan, the US and EU have rising demand for sesame oil given the popularity of Asian cooking.
  • Investing in Nigerian oil pressing facilities can generate value-added exports rather than just exporting raw sesame seeds.

22. Vegetables

  • Nigeria’s warm climate enables the production of vegetables like chili peppers, onions and tomatoes which can target export markets to diversify from oil.
  • Current processed vegetable exports are only $3 million according to ITC Trademap, but have potential to rise significantly.
  • Exporters state upgrading to global food safety and traceability standards will enable access to buyers in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

23. Garments

  • Textile and apparel exports have declined, but opportunity exists for exports of basics, cultural attire and accessories.
  • Cut-make-trim arrangements can enable manufacturing for foreign fashion brands.
  • Participation in international fairs like Origin Africa boosts exposure to wholesalers and distributors across continents.

24. Footwear

  • Affordable leather shoes and sandals manufactured in the southern Aba leatherworks clusters can find export markets in Asia, Africa and Europe.
  • If quality and finishing is enhanced to international standards, footwear exports can rise from the current negligible levels.
  • Trade associations say policy support to obtain modern shoe making machinery will improve large-scale production for export.

25. Plastic products

  • Everyday plasticware exports to regional markets are estimated at $50 million by industry sources, comprising buckets, bowls, furniture etc.
  • Matching international specifications for food-grade plastics opens export opportunities to Europe and Americas.
  • An exporter says Nigeria can position itself as a packaging hub for consumer goods companies across Africa.

26. Pharmaceuticals

  • Pharma exports are currently just $8 million but can expand significantly according to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
  • High demand exists across Africa and beyond for affordable, quality-assured essential medicines labeled ‘Made in Nigeria’.
  • Obtaining WHO-GMP certification and US FDA approval enables exports to mature markets and builds brand credibility worldwide.

27. Fishery products

  • Beyond shrimp, exports of other seafood like croaker, sole and crabs have potential given rising global demand for healthy, protein-rich diets.
  • The Nigerian government aims to expand seafood processing infrastructure through public-private partnerships and training programs.
  • Adherence to import regulations on traceability, hygiene, labeling and cold chain management is critical to export success.

28. Crafts and accessories

  • Nigerian artisanal crafts in wood, leather, textiles and metalwork can obtain premium prices in Europe, America and Asia if effectively promoted and marketed online.
  • Exporters say adding contemporary, trendy designs blended with traditional craft skills leads to orders from overseas retailers and eCommerce platforms.

29. Information technology and digital services

  • Nigeria’s budding tech startups offer innovative solutions in fintech, e-commerce, recruitment and more, with global potential.
  • IT exports are currently less than $1 million, but the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) aims to rapidly develop the sector.
  • Exporters say young founders must focus on attaining globally recognized skills certifications to boost credibility when applying for offshore business and outsourcing contracts.

Key Strategies for New Nigerian Exporters

Below are crucial tips recommended by experienced exporters for those looking to enter or expand in global markets:

Enhance production capacity

  • Scale up infrastructure, machinery and staff skills to reliably meet larger, consistent orders and quality specifications expected by international buyers.

Understand import regulations

  • Thoroughly research the health, safety, labelling, packaging and other import requirements for your target export destinations.

Forge international partnerships

  • Connect with established distributors, wholesalers, retailers and relevant trade associations in your export markets to gain market insights and build your customer base. Attend international trade fairs to meet potential partners.

Leverage digital platforms

  • eCommerce enables access to global B2B marketplaces and direct consumer sales worldwide. Similarly, use social media advertising and search optimization to directly engage overseas buyers.

Access financing

  • Obtain pre and post-shipment finance, insurance, guarantees and other facilities from banks, EXIM Bank, NEXIM Bank, AfEXIM Bank and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council to ease working capital needs.

Promote your ‘Made in Nigeria’ advantage

  • Tell a compelling brand story highlighting the unique advantages, quality and culture associated with your Nigerian product through packaging design, sales collateral, and thought leadership.

Izu Mgbaemena

I'm Izu Mgbaemena, a Nigerian-based writer for Naijadazz. I love sharing stories about Nigerian culture, food, music and more. As a frequent contributor to Naijadazz, I relish the opportunity to showcase the endlessly fascinating aspects of Nigerian culture to a global audience.