Abia State is blessed with enormous mineral resources. The proper exploitation of these miner- als has obvious economic and development implications. The types, location and potential uses of these minerals are shown in Table 1.2.
Agriculture is the major occupation of the people of Abia State. This is induced by the rich soil which stretches from the northern to the south- ern parts of the state. Subsistence farming is prevalent and about 70 per cent of the population is engaged in it.
A few farmers also produce on a large scale. Farming in the state is determined by the seasonal distribution of rainfall. Some farmers now use irrigation methods. The main food crops grown are yam, cassava, rice, cocoyam and maize while the cash crops include oil-palm, rubber, cocoa, banana and various types of fruits (See Table 1.3)
Modern poultry has been introduced and is practised by a good number of people, hence there is adequate supply of eggs and other poultry prod- ucts in the state. The Golden Chicken project at Ogwe in Ukwa Local Government Area is a modern mechanised poultry farm.
There are three agricultural zones in Abia State: Aba, Umuahia and Bende. In the Aba and Umuahia agricultural zones, such cash crops as palm pro- duce, cocoa and rubber are produced, while food crops such as yam, cassava, rice, plantain, banana, maize and cocoyam are produced in large quanti- ties.
The Bende agricultural zone is a major pro- ducer of rice and yam. Fishing is also carried out by people who live along the Imo River. Large areas of forest can be found in all the Local Government Areas. They provide raw materials for the pulp and paper industry.
It is the policy of the Abia State Government to encourage the development of industrial activities in the state. Large-scale industrial establishments located in Abia include; Nigerian Breweries, Aba; Golden Guinea Breweries, Umuahia; Aba Textile Mills, International Glass Industry (IGI), Aba and Modern Ceramics, Umuahia.
Several medium scale industries abound in parts of the state which produce such items as plastic wares, textiles, food processing and machine tool fabrication. Aba is not only the major commercial centre of the State, but also one of the commercial nerve centres of the eastern states.
According to the Blueprint for Abia State development, the state has the potential to attract investment in the following manufacturing projects:
(i) Agro-allied industries:
- Cassava starch and flour
- Fruit and vegetable canning.
- Cotton Socks
- Fishing nets
- Mosquito nets
(iii) Industrial Minerals/Quarrying:
- Glass industry
- Table ware
- Aggregate plant (Stone crushing plant).
(iv) Plastic Industry:
- Plastics manufacture
- Bottles, flask, cans, tubes, bags tiles.
(v) Chemical Industry:
- Self-Adhesive Tape
- Pulp and paper.
To quicken the pace of industrial development, the state government has been ready to embark upon direct industrial establishments and also enter into joint ventures with entrepreneurs in the private sector.
Efforts to industrialise the state are equally being augmented by the private sector. Thus, three main categories of industries - public, partnership and private are found in the state.