NATURAL RESOURCES AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Posted by on 2/5/2003 10:53:18 AM
Post Comment NATURAL RESOURCES AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Nigeria

TheAugust27, 1991 state creation exercise vir tually laid Kwara State bare of its hitherto abundant and welldeveloped material and human resources. Nevertheless, it still has some minerals yet to be commercialised and, more importantly, its unique climatic location between the forest to the south and the Savannah to the north gives the state the poten tial to produce crops like cocoa, kolanuts, oil palm, sugarcane, yam, cassava, plantain, maize, guinea corn millet, rice, beans, cowpeas, vegetables and livestock. It also has great potentials for fishing in its rivers, e.g. the Niger and Asa Rivers.

Agriculture, Forestry And Fishing: Succes sive governments in the State have continued to emphasize the benefits of modernised agriculture and have often provided subsidies either in terms of land clearance, insecticides, pesticides and fertiliz ers in order to improve yield per hectare.

The peo ple of Kwara State have always responded very positively to these opportunities. Several thousand tonnes of fertilizer are sold at highly subsidised rates to local farmers, annually, while the Agricultural Land Development Company also hires out tractors to small landholders at highly sub sidised rates. Moreover, each local government area has some three to five tractors for a similar purpose. Farmers in the state also benefit from the State's Agricultural Credit Scheme.

Besides, government has a school to train extension workers and any other farmer interested in aspects of general agriculture, irrigation engi neering, livestock husbandry and management and forestry. Again, the Agricultural Development Project has done a lot in providing extension services and infrastructure assistance. Indeed, apart from the activities of small farmers, some large scale farms also exist and these include the Kupa Farms, Abiola Farms, Greenland Farms, Valley Foods and Chrisleb Farms, all of which are rapidly turning Kwara State into the "food basket" of the nation.

However, forestry is so far not yet a major activ ity in Kwara State, other than employing it as a means of preventing erosion and possible desertifi cation. The state has about 4,000 hectares under high forest regeneration, another 4,000 hectares under Savannah regeneration and some lands devoted to nurseries, e.g. Agba Nursery with over 200,000 seedlings and the Amusement Park, both located at llorin.

To these efforts must be added the tree planting campaign in communities all over the state, by government as a means of breaking or reducing the effects of windstorms. Fishing is a major occupation of the Nupe peo ple who live along the banks of the River Niger in Edu and Patigi LGAs, especially around Lafiagi and Patigi townships. Elsewhere, fishing is done along the Asa River, particularly at llorin and Afon. Boats are sold at subsidised rates to professional fisher men.

Minerals: Solid minerals in Kwara State include marble, granite, clay, kaolin, feldspar, gold, mice, quartzite, laterite and talc. Their locations and uses are shown in Table 23.2.

Industrial Potentialities and Development: Being mainly an agricultural environment and also lacking in any worthwhile minerals to date, the major strategy of successive State Administrations has been to encourage private enterprises to invest in the state on a small, medium or large scale, to complement those that are either wholly govern mentowned or those in which it has acquired shares.

The major industries in the state include Kwara Furniture Manufacturing Company Limited, llorin, Gateway Insurance Co. Ltd., llorin, Kwara Hotels Ltd., llorin; Patigi Rice Mill, Patigi; ljagbo Breweries Ltd. ljagbo; Kwara Paper Converters Ltd., Erinlie; The Nigerian Sugar Company, Ltd., Bacita; Nigerian Yeast and Alcohol Manufacturing Co., Bacita; Savannah Precast Concrete and Terrazo Co. Ltd., llorin; United Foam Products, Nig. Ltd., llorin; Oro Bicycle Industry, Oro; and the Prospect Textile Mill Ltd., llorin, amongst others.

Thus, through the combined efforts of both Government and the private sector, Kwara State currently has numerous sizeable industries, produc ing essentially consumer goods. Indeed, the fact that they all employ almost entirely Nigerians, as well as produce some of the basic needs of the people make them particularly significant in the landscape of Kwara State.

The State also has a large number of smallscale industries in both urban and rural areas and these include pottery, beads making and local clay lanterns at llorin; black soap and carved stools making at OdoOwa; leather works at Ajasselpo; local soap making at llofa; mortar and pestle making at Lafiagi and Patigi; tie and dye at Offa; camp construction at Kaiama; and blacksmithing at llorin.




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