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SME Guide

Top 10 Thriving Businesses in Adamawa State

Adamawa is one of the largest states in northeast Nigeria, with a population of over 3 million people. The state has a growing economy centred around agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, and service sectors. Some of the top thriving businesses driving economic growth in Adamawa include:

  1. Agriculture

Agriculture is the mainstay of Adamawa’s economy, employing over 70% of the population. The sector has seen rapid growth, driven by the production of crops like maize, rice, yam, cotton, and sugarcane.

Rice Farming

Rice farming is a major agricultural business in the state. Adamawa has the ideal terrain and climate for rice cultivation. Leading rice producers include Wakil Farms, Savanna Farms, and Scopy Farms, which cultivate thousands of hectares of land for rice using modern tools and irrigation. Rice milling has also grown with mills like Wakil Rice Mill and Uba Savannah Rice Mill in Numan.

Cotton Farming

Adamawa was once Nigeria’s top cotton-producing state. After a decline, the sector is reviving through the efforts of ginneries like Mada Cotton Ginnery. Improved seed varieties are being distributed to farmers to increase yields.

Livestock Rearing

Pastoralism is a historical economic activity, with Fulani herders rearing cattle across northern Adamawa. Milk, meat, and hides support the leather industry. Notable cattle markets exist in Mubi, Song, and Numan.

Cash Crops

Sugarcane farming and processing into sugar is a key agribusiness around Numan town. Companies like Savannah Sugar Company support outgrower schemes. Other cash crops like soybeans and sesame are also gaining prominence.

  1. Solid Minerals

Adamawa is endowed with substantial deposits of solid minerals, especially bentonite, gypsum, magnesite, kaolin, and barite. Mining companies are harnessing these resources to supply raw materials for industries.

Bentonite Mining

Adamawa has over 100 million metric tonnes of bentonite, a type of clay used in oil drilling. Key players like Afrika Minerals and the Raw Materials Research Institute are mining this mineral and exporting it globally.

Gypsum Mining

Gypsum used to make cement and plasterboards is extensively mined in the Gurin area by companies like RAK Unity Petroleum and Gurin Gypsum Mining.

Barite Mining

Adamawa’s Mayo Belwa area has huge barite reserves used in drilling fluids. Nexen Mining and G & S Investments mine barite, with Nexen doubling its production in 2020.

  1. Manufacturing

Adamawa has a fast-developing manufacturing sector consisting of agro-processing plants, cement factories, plastic companies, and more.


Food processing companies are adding value to Adamawa’s farm outputs. ASB Foods makes tomato paste, fruit juices, and baked goods, while A.Y. Umar Mills processes rice, maize, and groundnut oil.

Plastic Manufacturing

Northeast Plastics produces PVC pipes, bottles, toys, and household items with a production capacity of over 10,000 tonnes per year. Poly Products makes plastic furniture and storage containers.

Cement Manufacturing

Key cement makers include Dangote Cement, which runs a 3 million metric tonnes per year plant at Guyuk, and BUA Cement, which is commissioning a new 3 million metric tonnes plant in the state.

  1. Services Sector

The services sector, comprising trade, education, hospitality, transport, real estate, and personal services, is fast-growing.


Numerous hotels have emerged in the state capital Yola, including Asa Hotels, De Five Hotel, and Jimeta Hotels, to serve business travellers and tourists. More restaurants are also opening up.

Private Schools and Universities

Over 50 private nursery, primary, and secondary schools operate across the state, offering quality education. The American University of Nigeria (AUN) in Yola is the largest private university with modern facilities.

Real Estate

Real estate is thriving in Yola, Jimeta, and other towns. Omnia Property & Investment Company, Tafida Homes, and Mikaino Property are leading real estate developers in the state.

Transport and Logistics

Transport companies like Karewa Express provide inter-state luxury bus services. Alheri Engineering offers haulage services to businesses. Yola Airport upgrades have boosted air travel and cargo.

  1. Information and Communications Technology

Adamawa’s ICT sector is evolving fast, driven by the 3G/4G rollout by major providers like MTN, Airtel, and Globacom. The state-run Adamawa ICT Agency is also promoting tech adoption.

Telecom Services

MTN and Airtel have the widest mobile network coverage. Telecom outlets and agent banking points have mushroomed. Value-added services like mobile payments are gaining users.

Digital Enterprises

Technology startups are emerging, providing solutions in areas like agriculture, education, e-commerce, and digital media. Notable startups include Asajobs, Soukplace, and AdamawaGIS.

ICT training centres

Both public and private ICT training institutes exist, imparting digital skills to youth. Modibbo Adama University has a robust computer science department and software development courses.

  1. Commerce and Shopping

Yola, Jimeta, Mubi, and Hong are seeing the rapid development of modern shopping malls, retail stores, and markets.

Departmental Stores

Shoprite opened its first outlet in the state in Jimeta in 2019. Other stores like Everyday Supermarket and Kara Modern Market also offer a quality grocery shopping experience.

Building Materials

Yola Shopping Complex, Tafawa Balewa Modern Market, and Jimeta Building Materials Market are major hubs for household goods, hardware, and construction supplies for individuals and real estate developers.

Electronic Dealers

Numerous mobile phone and electronics shops have emerged across towns to serve rising middle-class demand. Olu Comet, New Crystal Links, and Al-Amin Telecom are leading gadget retailers.

  1. Financial Services

Banks, insurance companies, and fintechs are driving financial inclusion in the state. Leading players include:


The top commercial banks in Adamawa are Zenith, Access, UBA, First Bank, and Unity Bank, with many branches across towns. They finance trade, agriculture, and real estate and offer mobile banking.

Insurance Firms

Insurance penetration is rising fast. Key firms include Leadway, AIICO Insurance, Cornerstone, and Axa Mansard, which provide life, auto, and agricultural policies.


Startups like PayFellow, KlickPay, and OneFinance enable affordable digital financial services, online lending, and payments for individuals and businesses.

  1. Automotive Industry

Car Dealerships

Elizade Motors, Dana Motors, and BMI Motors have showrooms selling new and used cars from brands like Toyota, Honda, and Mercedes. Car repairs and maintenance garages have also grown.

  1. Entertainment and Tourism

Adamawa has vibrant entertainment scenes and budding tourism sites.

Film Industry

The state’s film industry is rising, with studios producing movies and music to serve local demand. Notable studios are Ambboyz Filmz, Hollat Films, and Shinaka Studios.

Malls and Recreation

Modern malls like Carina Shopping Mall and Terabay Shopping Mall offer movie theatres, gaming arcades, and fun spots. New amusement parks have also opened.

Hotels and Resorts

Hotels like the Gotel Binta Hotel in Yola provide conferencing for corporate events and weddings. Wiki Warm Springs luxury resort offers tourists accommodation, gaming, and water sports.

  1. Logistics and Distribution

Yola is an emerging transport and logistics hub owing to its central location.


AG Leventis, Chi, and BUA Group operate large warehousing and distribution centres for serving North East markets.

Transportation Companies

EMS and UPS have opened logistics facilities in Yola to offer courier services. Overseas cargo companies provide international freight forwarding.


Adamawa State has strong economic potential driven by natural resources, a hardworking youthful population, and its strategic location. More progress can happen with improvements in power, security, and infrastructure. The growth of the highlighted, thriving businesses makes the state an attractive investment destination.

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