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NATURAL RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT

Posted by on 1/29/2003 1:45:17 PM |

NATURAL RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing: Two main forms of agriculture are prominent in the state namely, food crop production and industrial crop production. The food crops produced include rice, yam, cassava, fruits and vegetables (mangoes, pawpaw, pineapples, banana, pepper and toma toes). These crops are produced over the wide range of ecological zones within the state with the exception of the mangrove swamp and the coastal sand areas.

The industrial crops include rubber, oil palm and palm kernel. Like food crops, the indus trial crops are grown in all ecological zones with the exception of the mangrove swamp and the coastal sand areas. Rubber is the leading export crop in the state. The highest concentration of rubber is in Ethiope, Okpe and Ughelli, which together have 61,200 hectares. Other locations include Aniocha (8,400 hectares) and Ndokwa (8,800 hectares).

Annual yield per hectare averages about 180 kilo grams dry rubber on peasant farms rising to approximately 370 kilograms on plantations. Oil palm is the next leading export crop. The highest concentration of oil palm occurs in Ethiope, Isoko, Ughelli, Ndokwa, Burutu and Bomadi LGAs. There are only a few oil palm plantations.

The yield per hectare of plantation is about four times as much as the yield from wild oil palm trees, which produce the bulk of palm oil traded in the state. Among some of the programmes introduced to improve agricultural resource productivity of the state is the Tree Crop Unit. This programme is designed to aid small holder farmers to plant high yielding oil palm and rubber seedlings, with a view to raising their production.

The oil palm project is being implemented in two large nurseries located at EjemeUno in AniochaSouth Local Government Area and Mosogar in Ethiope North Local Government Area. Thirty thousand sprouted palm seeds established in the two nurseries in the State are being maintained.

The rubber project is cur rently being implemented in Abraka and Mutu nurs eries. The forestry resources of Delta State consist of timber, leaves (for wrapping kolanut), ropes and wild life. The forest contains over 500 species of timber, which attain 0.6 metres in girth at the breast height. Only eighty species are currently being har vested. Also, 80 per cent of the timber are from for est reserves white 20 per cent are from outside for est reserves.

The estimated total area of the forest reserve is 74,910 hectares distributed in various locations in the state as indicated in Table 10.2. Since the southwest and southeastern parts of the state are predominately riverine, the occupa tion of the inhabitants is fishing.

The methods of catching vary from the traditional to modern, but the majority of the fishermen use gill nets. In an effort to reduce the side ratio between fish demand and supply, the following five programmes are being executed in the state:

Fisheries Extension and Assistance to Fishermen: The programme is aimed at the dis semination of information for the improvement of fisheries production. So far, 5,000 people in regis tered fisheries cooperatives in the state are bene fiting from the scheme.

Fish Farming (Aquaculture): The aquaculture scheme is out to boost fishery production. So far, there are over eighty fishponds throughout the state. The government also maintains its own fish farms located atAgbor and Deghele to demonstrate the utility of fish farms.

Coastal Fisheries: The coastal fisheries agenda is designed to provide landing and other shore base facilities for production, handling and storage of fish caught along the state's coastal waters.

ECOWAS Fund Loan For Accelerated Fish Production: The ECOWAS project is aimed at pro viding credit to fishermen for the financing of fishing inputs to 350 fishing units or fishing families. Finally, there is the Fisheries Regulation designed at sanitising fisheries exploitation in the state, with a view towards conservation and use of approved fishing methods tor harvesting.

Mineral Resources: Delta State is rich in min erals. The Cretaceous Tertiary and Quaternary sediments, which underlay the delta structural basin, are favourable tor the formation of crude oil accumulation. With the exception of the Northeast, other parts of the state abound in crude oil resources and natural gas.

Nonmetalic (Industrial) minerals in the state consist of petroleum (crude oil), natural gas, lignite, silica sand and clay. Crude oil occurs in all the local government areas, except in the northeast of the State. The offshore locations are around Escravos and Forcados. Delta State produces about 29.98 per cent of the total oil production in Nigeria. Natural gas occurs in association with crude oil.

Estimated reserves amount to 800 million cubic metres. Of the total gas production of about 2,000 million cubic metres a month, only 12 million cubic metres are used as fuel and 11 million cubic metres are sold.' The balance is flared. Delta State is at present producing a large proportion of the Nigerian natural gas. Although lignite occurs in large commercial quantities, its exploitation is yet to commence.

Very large deposits of silica sand occur in different litho logical formations and along the beds of rivers and streams in the state. They are used in the manu facture of various kinds of glass silica, which is the most important raw material for glass production. Finally, the Tertiary and Quaternary formations con tain some layers of clay. These are particularly in abundance in Ughelli where stream clays are used for moulding in the glass factory.

Energy Resources: The energy supply in the State is derived from local thermal power stations. The thermal power station using oil and gas is located at Ughelli. It has an installed capacity of 276 megawatts, while the Ogorode hydroelectric power station, located at Sapele, has an installed capacity of 1,020 megawatts.

Water Resources: The water resources of Delta State include both surface and underground water. The surface water has a large area cover age. For instance, about thirtyfive per cent of the 16,842 sq. km. land of Delta is riverine.

Outside the riverine area, there is a high density of streams, ponds and lakes as well as a large body of ocean water, while the underground water is related to the underlying sedimentary rock formation. In many places, the underground water is so close to the surface in the southern areas that swampy con ditions prevail.

Local Sourcing of Raw Materials: The natural resource potentials of Delta State yield wide ranging agricultural and industrial mineral products, from which raw materials can be sourced locally for the establishment of industries.

For instance, agricultural raw materials for agroallied industries include: maize, yam, cassava, fruits, vegetables, rubber, oil palm, palm kernel, timber, rope, leaves, et cetera. Raw materials for heavy, medium and light industries include steel billet, carbon black polypropylene, petroleum, natural gas, bitumen, lig nite, silica sand and clay.




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