Economic Climate: Taraba is a highly resourceful state with ample investment opportuni ties, especially in the areas of agriculture, agro allied industries and tourism. Much of the available resources are either grossly underutilised or com pletely unexplored.This is as a result of a complex of interacting factors including weak infrastructure base, low level of technology, weak economic organisation and low level of indigenous entrepreneurship.
The economy of the state is basically agricultural. More than seventy per cent of the state's land area of 61368.6 sq.km is known to be arable, and suitable for largescale mechanised agriculture, which the state needs seriously. The over 1.94 mil lion people in Taraba State, who are currently served by only very few smallscale and cottage industries, constitute a potential market for any manufacturing outfit that may be established in the state.
Industrial Potentials: A sound industrial poli cy is an essential prerequisite for any meaningful industrial development of the state. In recognition of the important role of industrialisation in the over all development of the state's economy, and the gross lack of large scale industrial enterprises in the state, the Taraba State government has articulated an industrial development strategy aimed at creat ing a conducive atmosphere for sound industrial development.
Highlights of the strategy include: Developing industrial layouts fully provid ed with basic infrastructure, like roads, water and electricity supply in Jalingo, Wukari and Gembu (on the Mambilla Plateau); Providing land and consultancy services to investors; Providing incometax relief and pioneer status to investors; Promoting the export of basic raw materials as well as manufactured products; Promoting investment on agrobased and agroallied industries, either through the joint efforts of the Federal and State Government, or with the private sector; and Establishing an investment company to identify and promote investments in rele vant and viable sectors.
In the effort to encourage and enhance the level of economic development in the state, some key projects for which raw materials can be sourced locally have been identified for promotion by Taraba Investments and Properties Pie, taking into cognisance the availability and location of the essential raw materials in the state. These include cereals, fruit juice processing, dairy/butter, bone mill and tannery.
Others are the production of paper, toilet tissue and starch as well as cattle fattening. Already some important industrial concerns have been established in the state. These include the Nigerian Beverages Production Company, with its Tea Factory at Chicory on the Mambilla Plateau; Lau Tomato Industry (now collapsed), the Baissa Timber Development Company (now grounded) and Wukari Flour Mills (in the doldrums). There are other cottage industries like the VIVA Animal Feeds Mill at Zing, but most of these are currently also epileptic.
While much is expected from agriculture as the basis for the state's industrialisation, the state has a very good potential, for the development of its tourism industry. However, as is the case with other industrial sectors, government alone can not start and sustain a welldeveloped tourism industry with out some degree of private sector participation. Government, however, has a duty to provide the requisite environment for private sector participation.