NATURAL RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT

Posted by on 1/30/2003 1:35:49 PM
Post Comment NATURAL RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT Nigeria

Kaduna State is endowed with a wide range of natural resources which are awaiting development/investment on large commercial scale. The natural resource potentials are grouped into agriculture/forestry and livestock, and minerals.

Agriculture, Forestry and other Basic Activities: The agriculture and forest resources are enormous. On the gentle rolling high plains, the tropical ferruginous soils have been intensively used for cereal and cotton cultivation. Although the soils are poor because of leaching and poor cover management, but with good conservation and land management practices it is capable of supporting calciumrich annual grass for livestock develop ment.

In the north of latitude 10N, the soil is good for production of large quantities of cotton lint and seed for which Soba, Makarfi, Kudan, lkara, Kubau, Kauru and Lere LGAs are known. Yam and maize have successfully been producing high yields with the use of fertiliser in recent times, especially in Igabi, Giwa and Bimin Gwari LGAs. In the well watered southeastern part, the rich darker soils are used for cultivating cereals, cassava, rice and the famous Southern Kaduna ginger ("Chitta" in Hausa).

In the fadamas, the dark grey clay soils (vertisols) have become highly valued and are focused on for intensive agricultural activities especially dur ing the dry season. Large areas of such fadamas are being used for economically valuable market gardening for growing tomatoes, chillies, sweet pepper, okra, onion, Irish potato and sugar cane using traditional "shadoof" irrigation (in the flood plains/fadama of Galma and Tubo basins).

Presently, the traditional irrigation scheme is too small and laborious to cope with the rate of expan sion and agricultural development of the fadama lands. The State Government is intensifying feasi bility studies and seeking interested industrialists and agroallied companies to invest in the area. In April 1993, the State Government approved the commissioning of pilot schemes for sugar process ing industry in Makarfi, Kudan, lkara and Kubau LGAs using the sugar cane grown under irrigation and rain systems.

Recently, grapevine growing has been intro duced and has gained wide acceptance on small but intensively cultivated farms. A few large scale vineyards have also been established on the lower Galma valley near Zaria. Small farm holdings of ten to fifteen vines produce between 200 and 300 kg. That these small farms produce mainly for local markets, in Kaduna, Kano, Plateau and the Federal Capital Territory, suggests that the state has con siderable potential for vineyard development. Except in some favourable localities along the riverine areas and in the southern LGAs, there is limited forest resources.

Much of the woody shrubs in the northern parts have been felled for fuel wood. Because of the annual bush fires during the long dry season, the grass straw traditionally used for roofing in the rural areas are becoming scarce. In the south, there are good stands of hard tropical trees such as mahogany and raffia palm bushes.

These are still being exploited for building construction. State and local governments are embarking on improving the vegetation cover in the state by planting fastgrowing and drought resistant trees in large plantations, called Forest Reserves. Despite a substantial fraction of the state's annual budget being allocated to the development of agriculture, productivity is still comparatively low.

This is partly because of the shyness of the State Government in getting involved in commercial agriculture and partly because of the many different arms of the Ministry that make demands on the limited financial resources. So, like the Federal Government, Kaduna State has concentrated on encouraging farmers, by providing certain capital intensive infrastructure (e.g. irrigation, earth dams like in the Tubo valley), supplying them with improved seeds and subsidising farm inputs.

Since most farmers lack the capital and are not ready to take risks, only a handful of individuals (mostly retired military officers and top civil servants) have involved themselves in mediumscale commercial agriculture. Even so, majority only grow grains (especially maize and beans) to meet local market demands or use it for personal small livestock breeding. An entrepreneur, UAC Farms, in the late 1980s, started investing in commercial grain farming at Kidandan, some 90km east of Zaria along Birnin Gwari Road.

However, the venture is now produc ing improved seeds for farmers, mainly maize, sorghum and rice. Certainly, with increasing demands for cereals, livestock feeds and as raw materials for breweries; and presently, because it is practically nonexistent in the state, commercial agriculutre in grains on a large scale will be highly profitable.

Despite the present poor rangeland conserva tion and management practices, Kaduna State has the potentials to produce large quantities and good quality livestock for consumption in the state and for interstate trade. Indeed, the area bounded by parallel 1030' and longitude 800' westward, possess es development potential for excellent range land to support largescale livestock production. The National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) at Shika near Zaria also offers good vet erinary/technical advice and services.

There is good infrastructure already established for good takeoff of beef, mutton, pork, poultry and dairy products in large quantities for national markets. Furthermore, based on the livestock rearing habits, love for it as food, and a probably large market for pork in the area and many southern states, there is need for a good piggery industry in the southern Kaduna area.

Livestock: Livestock resources in the state are still on a small scale, and are used mainly to raise cash during emergencies or meet demands during religious festivals. Based on the 1991 live stock survey in urban Zaria and its rural fringe alone, there were over 16,000 heads of cattle (zebu), about 180,000 goats,138,000 sheep and rams, 10,000 pigs, 55,000 rabbits and over 880,000 birds (poultry, mainly chicken, kept in commercial farm pens and on traditional freerange in compounds).

In the southern parts, pig rearing is dominant. The number of pigs in the area is not known. However, considering the urban livestock surveys in Zaria and Kaduna in 1991, most of the pigs are kept and owned by people from Jama'a, Sanga, Zango Kataf, Jaba, Kachia and Kagarko LGAs.

Minerals: In Birnin Gwari LGA, the graphite, kyanite and rutile reported to be in large quantities are good sources of raw materials for pencils and welding electrodes and ceramic industries. Even the ease to mine magnetite/haematite in the same locality is still being exploited locally for making local iron implements; but it has the potential to support small to medium furnace for productioh of iron billets that can in turn be used in small scale industries. Also, some broad river valleys in the north western quadrant are rich sources of sand and granite rocks (for crushing) and clay (especially) kaolinite that are already being exploited in the building industry.

Existing Industries: Almost all the industries in Kaduna State are located in Zaria and Kaduna urban centres. Indeed, all the heavy manufacturing industrial establishments are concentrated in Kaduna alone. Certainly, the locations are influ enced by government policy and probably market. For example, the high concentration of textile manufacturing industries in Kaduna with just two in Zaria, and none in Soba, Maigana or Saminaka which are cottonproducing towns, illustrate the strong governmental control.

Also, the Federal Government's decisions in the mid1970s to locate a petroleum refinery and an automobile assembly plant (PAN) in the city, further widened its industrial growth base and increased the agglomeration in Makera/Tudun Wada, Kakuri, along Kachia Road. Other major manufacturing industries in the city include Super Phosphate Fertiliser Company Ltd., National Oil and Chemical Company Ltd and Petro chemical Company Ltd. Again, all these are Federal Government Parastatals.

Appendix I shows the range of existing heavy industries in Kaduna State. There are other small to medium scale industries too numerous to list but are very important in providing potable equipment for rural dwellers'use (e,g in old "Panteka" market, construc tion of metal doors, windows and frames, boxes; grinding stones, huller machines; Kitchen wares, oxplough blade, planters, shellers, etc. may be found). Certainly, there is need to encourage loca tion of other industries outside Kaduna urban cen tre in the future.

Local Sourcing of Raw Materials: Some cul tivated crops require special mention for their potentials as sources of raw materials in some localities of the state. Sugar cane, grown in the flat fadamas, has been discussed. Its production is still in small individual farmers' plots of 1 hectare along the Galma and Tubo valleys.

There are two varieties, the white and brown. However, the brown variety has gained more popularity recently because it gives higher yield per hectare. On aver age, an individual farmer harvests 1215 tonnes of the cane per year which sells for between N10,000.00 and N15,000.00.

Apart from its use as a refreshment among the local people, some quan tity is being used for making local candy ("Alawa" in Hausa) and brown sugar ("MazarKwoila" in Hausa) in Makarfi and lkara LGAs in the Galma river sys tem. Ginger, a spicy rhizome plant grown in the local government areas south of latitude 1000'N, was a major national export up till the onset of heavy petroleum exportation in the mid 1960s.

High pro duction from the state made Nigeria a world pro ducer of ginger since the 1930s. Although export has declined, production in large tonnage has not abated. A market survey carried out in Kwoi district, a major producing area, estimates that up to 460 tonnes are produced annually in Jaba LGA alone.

Another agricultural commodity that is already an industrial raw material is tobacco leaf, grown mainly in Soba LGA since the 1930s. The success of a tobacco pilot farm project at Maigana, gave the district the lead in becoming a major national tobac coproducing area with a curing centre.

A training school was established for local farmers in 1986 and is located at Tashar Iche for Fifteen -thirty students at any one time/season. Besides, a factory with current labour force of over 3,500 is located in Zaria. The company manufactures several brands of cigarettes running into several million sticks annually. Cotton is also an important agricultural product that has high development potentialities.

The trial of a crossbreed of the local variety, the Gossypium hirsutum and the 26J (N.A) at Zaria during the first decade of the last century, gave Kaduna State a long history of its production. By the mid1930s, cotton production from northern Nigeria, mainly centred in Zaria, increased and now produced over 98 percent of the total cotton lint demands. With the establishment of ginneries, the Cotton Agricultural Processing Company (former BCGA), cotton seed is processed for oil and livestock feeds.

However, as yet, there are only two textile manu facturing industries in Zaria (Tarpaulin Manufacturing). Certainly, the establishment of other light textile industries or cotton yarn will fur ther stimulate cotton production in Soba, Igabi, Giwa and Zaria LGAs.




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