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NATURAL RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT
Posted to the web: 1/29/2003 11:58:42 AM
 
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Agriculture and Forestry:

Crop production in Bayelsa State is limited by the fact that much of the terrain is swampy and extensive areas of land are flooded for most of the year. In spite of these con- straints, food crops grown in the state include yam, cocoyam, banana, pineapple and plantain, but the shortage of agricultural land consequent on the ecological circumstances and environmental degra- dation constrain commercial production of the crops.

Cash crops grown in the state include coconut, pears, oil palm and raffia palm. The potentialities for the development of these crops to feed local industries are very good. Technology should be developed to reclaim land from man- grove swamps in oder to cultivate food, especially lowland rice and the cash crops identified above on a large, commercial scale.

Various species of tropical trees grow in both the mangrove and fresh water swamps. Rubber is an important cash crop in the drier northern part of the state. Several timber species provide material for canoe building which is an important industry since canoes are the only means of transportation in much of the state. There is need to exploit the state's forest products for paper and pulp, timber, canoe and boat building, tooth picks etc., but exploitation is problematic because of poor access roads.

Fishing is the major occupation of Bayelsa peo- ple because of the abundant creeks, lagoons, rivers and swamps within which commercial fishing is practised. Over 200 species of fish can be found in the waters within and around the state. Fish oil extraction is a common economic activity through- out all the LGAs of the state, and the coastal areas abound in sea foods such as fish, oysters, crabs, lobsters, periwinkle et cetera. There are also sea animals such as Hippopotamus, manatee, crocodile etc in the seas, rivers and streams that criss-cross the state.

Minerals:

Bayelsa State has the largest crude oil reserve in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. The state produces over 40 per cent of the country's on-shore crude oil and vast quantities of associated gas. It also has large deposits of clay. Indeed the resources of the state are abundant but they have not been fully explored, exploited and utilised.

Local Sourcing of Raw Materials:

Bayelsa State has been described as a state that holds good for future economic and industrial development. Given the state resource profile, it is evident that a wide range of raw materials can be sourced locally for the establishment of low, medium and large scales industries in the state.

 

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