Agriculture, Forestry and Other Basic Activities: Zamfara State is blessed with large variety of crops. Nearly four million hectares of land are cultivated. This represents about 30 percent of the total land area. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy of Zamfara State and engages about 90 percent of the people. Indeed, agriculture provides foodstuff industrial raw materials and employment opportunities to the people.
Since farming is the pride of the state, the state government has continued to give priority to farming through investments such as the Zamfara Agricultural Development Project (ZADP) " financed and executed with assistance from the World Bank. This is the first of its kind in Nigeria More than N320 million has been invested in this project. This has significantly increased agricultural output. Two programmes are currently being organised under ZADP the National Fadanric Development Project (NFDP) and the Nationa Agricultural Technology Support Project (NATSP).
The NFDP aims at promoting smallscale irrigation through the development of Fadama lands This is achieved through the drilling of shallow tubewells and supply of water pumps to tap under ground water for irrigation, as well as the construction of access roads, storage facilities, amongs , others. The NATSP has multiple objectives. These include creating an enabling and supportive environment for extension workers, strengthening adaptive research for the state extension officers, as well as the promotion of farmland, forest, soil and water management.
In addition to the ZADP, the state had benefited tremendously from another
World Bank-Assisted Project (when the state was part of the old Sokoto State)
under the Sokoto Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (SARDA) Furthermore,
the multimillion Naira Bakolor Irrigation Project (BIP) located in the state
has brought into cultivation over 30,000 hectares of land.
Crops grown in the BIP include rice, wheat tomatoes and other food and cash crops. These investments in agriculture ensure year round farming in the state, inspite of adverse climatic conditions. Livestock production is also a vibrant agricultural subsector in the economy of the state.
The state has a livestock population of nearly six million comprising over one million cattle; 857,000 sheep over two million goats; 1.7million poultry; and abou 18,000, 21,000 and 46,000 horses, camels and donkeys respectively. There are 16 forest reserves, one game reserve, two lakes and one reservoir with an estimated surface area of 8,000 ha. Given the ecological problem of desertification, particularly in the northern parts of the state, forestry activities, factors are quite important.
For example, the pro duction of seedlings, establishment of plantations provision
of extension services, establishment of woodlots, amenity planting, watershed
planting roadside planting and soil conservation are the major forestry activities.
Thus, four nurseries wen established at K/Namoda, Bungudu, Anka and Gwalli.
Out of 300,000 seedlings targeted in 1997 addition, about 141 shelterbelts have been established in the state to encourage 14,000 farm families to participate in the afforestation programme is proposed that about 2.5 million seedlings are to be produced, and to protect about 2,600 ha of marginal lands. The Zamfara State Environmental Protection Agency and several forestry projects are at the fore front of afforestation programmes in the State.
Local Sourcing Of Raw Materials: The existing industries in the state such as the Zamfara Textile Mill, the Gusau Oil Mill and the Gusau Sweet Factory all source their raw materials locally. For example, the Zamfara Textile Mill as well as th( over 30 cotton ginneries in the state, obtain their raw materials from the large cotton farms which can be found all over the state.
Similarly, the Gusau Oil Mill is based on the widespread groundnut farm which can be found in virtually all the LGAs in the state. Given the state's potentials in agro and mineral based industries. It isevident that both the existing and potential industries in the state will be able to source for their raw materials locally.