Agriculture and Forestry: The major occupa tion of the people is farming,
both of export and food crops. Arable farming in the state engages considerable
migrant labour. The land tenure sys tem, originally communal in nature, has
long given way to individual tenure. This has considerably constrained access
to land for agricultural and industrial purposes. For this reason, migrant tenant
farmers are able to secure land on which they grow annual food crops, albeit
on a temporary basis.
The food crops are diverse, ranging from yam, rice, maize, beans and cassava
to vegetables. The farming practice is still predominantly rotational bush fallow,
except in areas around urban concentrations where a combination of farmyard
manure and fertilizers permit continuous cultivation. Osun State has considerable
hectarage of citrus fruits, especially oranges. These citrus farms are largely
owned by private individuals.
Cocoa is the main export crop grown in the state. Indeed, Osun State is second
only to Ondo in terms of cocoa production. Thus, bright prospects exist for
cocoabased industries. The farmers also earn considerable income from exports
of cocoa beans. Indeed, farmers in the state benefited from the SAP cocoa boom
of 19861990, when the price of cocoa increased astronomically, even when cocoa
was more or less still being grown on exist ing hectarages.
The high demand for cocoa beans, and the consequent hike in the price per
tonne, has been attributed to the role of foreign business inter ests in Nigeria,
who created that opportunity in order to repatriate their accumulated earnings
out side the country. This view is supported by the shortlived nature of the
boom and the fact that world cocoa prices had in fact been slumping instead
of increasing, even while the boom lasted.
The boom was, therefore, a local phenomenon. Osun State has considerable cover
of secondary forest, in addition to the forest reserves and plantations found
in the southern part of the state. As a result, lumbering is an important activity.
Saw mills are scattered all over the state and especially the major urban centres
in the lower half of the state, to utilize the forest resources. Aside from
timber, the forest resources are also utilized for fire wood. The rich timber
resources of the state pro vide a veritable material base for furniture industries.
Industrial Development: Osun State is yet, not highly industrialised,
but can boast of a few large industrial concerns. Among these are the International
Breweries Ltd, in llesa, and Cocoa Products Ltd in Ede, which together employ
over 500 workers. Considerable presence of the federal government can be felt
in the state with the setting up a steel rolling mill and a machine tools factory
These two ventures are large scale, employing over 1,000 workers. Cottage industries
are scattered in many parts of the state. With respect to mineral based cottage
industries, there are fifty seven soap making units,one cream making unit, three
leather work units, seven textile units, thirteen tie and dye units, more than
200,111 weaving industry units, five carving units, one ceramics making unit,
fiftythree raffia works units, seven cane works, twelve foundry works, 157 goldsmithing
and brick moulding.
The making of black native soap is widely practised by rural women in the
state. Tie and dye activity is undertaken only in a few areas notably Ede, Ola
Oluwa, Osogbo, Okuku and Awo, but it is a pre dominantly male activity. Gold
and black smithing, is another important mineralbased cottage industry that
is practised by men in the state.
Other notable industrial ventures in the state are the Adeniran Steel and
Wire Industries, Rainbow Paints, Abiobe Plastics and Flexible Packages in llesa;
Adeyera Industrial Company for Metal Fabrication and Plastic production in lfe,
and Foam and Metal Smelting factory in Ejigbo.
It is also important to note specific cottage industries in the area. Soap
making, weaving, knitting, chalk production, block and concrete works, among
others are, tor exam ple, scattered all over the major and medium sized cities
in the state. With regard to agrobased cottage industries, the state fares well
in respect of oil palm and cas sava processing, of which there are more than
400 of each unit in the state.
Largely the preserve of women, the more important areas noted for these palm
and cassava processing activities are lfe, Ejigbo and lkire. Local gin processing,
introduced by migrants, is another activity undertaken in the state. In all,
there are many of such units, in the state with the highest concentration in
OriAde and Obokun Local Government Areas.
Local Sourcing of Raw Materials: Being an agricultural state, great
potentials exist tor industries of the agroallied variety. Indeed, existing
industries in the state depend on local resources.
The cocoa industries purchase part of the produce from local cocoa farmers
while the International Breweries Ltd, uses local sorghum, among other materials.
Being a noted grower of citrus fruits, pro cessing industries are also assured
of adequate supply for their requirements .
PROSPECT FOR THE FUTURE Osun State has bright prospects in terms of
economic opportunities. Being blessed with resources and a people known tor
their enterprise, the state has great potentials tor growth in economic activities.
Further, being a highly urbanized state, a large market exists tor potential
economic ven tures.
Other advantages enjoyed include, a fairly good infrastructural base, nearness
to other large markets in the country and the location in the state of some
federal owned industries, notably steel rolling mill and machine tools in Osogbo
which have high linkage potentials.