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NATURAL RESOURCES AND POTENTIALS FOR DEVELOPMENT

Posted by on 1/30/2003 7:56:35 AM |

NATURAL RESOURCES AND POTENTIALS FOR DEVELOPMENT

Agriculture, Forestry and Other Basic Activities: Agriculture is a major industry in Ebonyi State. An estimated eightyfive per cent of the pop ulation earn their living from one form of agricultural activity or another. If the phrase 'Salt of the Nation' had not been adopted to describe the uniqueness of Ebonyi State among other states in Nigeria, another choice would have been: 'Food basket of the Nation'.

This is because Ebonyi State's agricultural productivity is one of the highest in Nigeria. The popular Abakaliki brand of rice is cultivated throughout the state.

Other food crops grown in large quantities include yam, cassava, maize, cocoyam, cowpea and groundnut. Cash crops such as oil palm, cashew, cocoa and rubber are also vigorously cultivated. The presence of large arable land, rivers and streams has made farming very attractive.

Fishing is also carried out on commercial scale, particularly along the Aboine River which crosses the northcentral parts of the state and the Cross River which passes the southern part of the state.

Livestock farming is also popular in Ebonyi State. This includes the traditional rearing of animals such as goats, pigs, chicken, cows, horses and pets. There is cattle ranching in Onicha, Ohaozara and Ishielu LGAs.

Ebonyi State government's agricultural devel opment programme is three pronged: a. Direct public participation through the establishment of agrobased indus tries, tree crop plantations, irrigation and the provision of fertilizers and seeds;

Public participation in commercial private agricultural production, operated as joint ventures in largescale crop, livestock and fish farming with farmers and other private entrepreneurs, both local and foreign; and c. Smallholder agricultural production, in which government seeks to emphasise the role of the smallholder.

Ebonyi State has eleven officiallygazetted for est reserves and many sacred grooves which pro tect the rich biodiversity in the state. The Akanto game reserve (with an area of about 450 hectares) is a protected area where endemic wildlife species are conserved.

The Ebonyi State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources has planted over 2,000 seedlings of teak at Effrum and Ovuum Ozizza reserve. The state is also participating in the forest reserve study of the Federal Government of Nigeria aimed at the development of a forestry management plan.

Mineral Resources: Ebonyi State is blessed with enormous mineral resources. Effective exploitation of these minerals will obviously accel erate the development of the state. The types, loca tion and potential uses of some of these minerals

are shown in Table 11.2. The state is blessed with the salt lakes at Uburu, Okposi and Oshiri; zinc and lead deposits at Enyiagba, as well as kaolin and limestones at Ishiagu, Afikpo and Nkalagu. The agricultural lands as well as the mineral resources of Ebonyi State offer enormous poten tials for profitable investment by local and foreign interests.

The rich agricultural and mineral poten tials have provided the raw materials base for traditional industries and crafts such as, pottery, woodwork and blacksmithing. Modern industrialisa tion will, however, be more feasible in chemical, ceramics, food processing and cement production, as well as plastic, electrical and detergent manu facture.

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Economic Climate: Enormous opportunities exist in Ebonyi State for profitable economic ven tures, by private corporate bodies and individuals seeking to invest and exploit the rich mineral resources of the state. Industrial layouts have been established in the three major towns: Abakaliki, Afikpo and Onueke.

The local governments have also zoned areas for commercial and industrial pur poses. These areas have been provided with the necessary infrastructural facilities such as roads, telecommunications facilities as well as water and power supply. The State has a handsome supply of manpower.

With a population of about 1.7 million people, skilled, semiskilled and unskilled labour is available for industrial development. In addition, the work force is disciplined and willing to work in partnership with employers of labour.

With the establishment of banks and other financial institutions all over the state, credit facili ties for industrial development can be assured. The state government is also very willing to go into part nership with prospective investors. The industrial base of Ebonyi state can be divided into three broad categories shown in Table 11.4.

Small and mediumscale industries exist in the state, producing pottery, metal works, confectioner ies, soap and detergents. The Ebonyi State gov ernment invite investors, both local and foreign, to participate in the industrialisation efforts of the state. There is a directory of potential industrial projects to guide prospective investors.

Some of the industries recommended in the investment portfo lios, based on the local availability of raw materials are production of batteries, zinc base alloys, chem icals, pesticides, fertilizers, paint and chalk. Others include electrical wires, cable, insecticides and adhesives.




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