NATURAL RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENTPost Comment NATURAL RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT Nigeria
Agriculture and Forestry: The major occupa tion of the people is farming, both of export and food crops. Arable farming in the state engages considerable migrant labour. The land tenure sys tem, originally communal in nature, has long given way to individual tenure. This has considerably constrained access to land for agricultural and industrial purposes. For this reason, migrant tenant farmers are able to secure land on which they grow annual food crops, albeit on a temporary basis.
The food crops are diverse, ranging from yam, rice, maize, beans and cassava to vegetables. The farming practice is still predominantly rotational bush fallow, except in areas around urban concentrations where a combination of farmyard manure and fertilizers permit continuous cultivation. Osun State has considerable hectarage of citrus fruits, especially oranges. These citrus farms are largely owned by private individuals.
Cocoa is the main export crop grown in the state. Indeed, Osun State is second only to Ondo in terms of cocoa production. Thus, bright prospects exist for cocoabased industries. The farmers also earn considerable income from exports of cocoa beans. Indeed, farmers in the state benefited from the SAP cocoa boom of 19861990, when the price of cocoa increased astronomically, even when cocoa was more or less still being grown on exist ing hectarages.
The high demand for cocoa beans, and the consequent hike in the price per tonne, has been attributed to the role of foreign business inter ests in Nigeria, who created that opportunity in order to repatriate their accumulated earnings out side the country. This view is supported by the shortlived nature of the boom and the fact that world cocoa prices had in fact been slumping instead of increasing, even while the boom lasted.
The boom was, therefore, a local phenomenon. Osun State has considerable cover of secondary forest, in addition to the forest reserves and plantations found in the southern part of the state. As a result, lumbering is an important activity. Saw mills are scattered all over the state and especially the major urban centres in the lower half of the state, to utilize the forest resources. Aside from timber, the forest resources are also utilized for fire wood. The rich timber resources of the state pro vide a veritable material base for furniture industries.
Industrial Development: Osun State is yet, not highly industrialised, but can boast of a few large industrial concerns. Among these are the International Breweries Ltd, in llesa, and Cocoa Products Ltd in Ede, which together employ over 500 workers. Considerable presence of the federal government can be felt in the state with the setting up a steel rolling mill and a machine tools factory in Osogbo.
These two ventures are large scale, employing over 1,000 workers. Cottage industries are scattered in many parts of the state. With respect to mineral based cottage industries, there are fifty seven soap making units,one cream making unit, three leather work units, seven textile units, thirteen tie and dye units, more than 200,111 weaving industry units, five carving units, one ceramics making unit, fiftythree raffia works units, seven cane works, twelve foundry works, 157 goldsmithing and brick moulding.
The making of black native soap is widely practised by rural women in the state. Tie and dye activity is undertaken only in a few areas notably Ede, Ola Oluwa, Osogbo, Okuku and Awo, but it is a pre dominantly male activity. Gold and black smithing, is another important mineralbased cottage industry that is practised by men in the state.
Other notable industrial ventures in the state are the Adeniran Steel and Wire Industries, Rainbow Paints, Abiobe Plastics and Flexible Packages in llesa; Adeyera Industrial Company for Metal Fabrication and Plastic production in lfe, and Foam and Metal Smelting factory in Ejigbo.
It is also important to note specific cottage industries in the area. Soap making, weaving, knitting, chalk production, block and concrete works, among others are, tor exam ple, scattered all over the major and medium sized cities in the state. With regard to agrobased cottage industries, the state fares well in respect of oil palm and cas sava processing, of which there are more than 400 of each unit in the state.
Largely the preserve of women, the more important areas noted for these palm and cassava processing activities are lfe, Ejigbo and lkire. Local gin processing, introduced by migrants, is another activity undertaken in the state. In all, there are many of such units, in the state with the highest concentration in OriAde and Obokun Local Government Areas.
Local Sourcing of Raw Materials: Being an agricultural state, great potentials exist tor industries of the agroallied variety. Indeed, existing industries in the state depend on local resources.
The cocoa industries purchase part of the produce from local cocoa farmers while the International Breweries Ltd, uses local sorghum, among other materials. Being a noted grower of citrus fruits, pro cessing industries are also assured of adequate supply for their requirements .
PROSPECT FOR THE FUTURE Osun State has bright prospects in terms of economic opportunities. Being blessed with resources and a people known tor their enterprise, the state has great potentials tor growth in economic activities. Further, being a highly urbanized state, a large market exists tor potential economic ven tures.
Other advantages enjoyed include, a fairly good infrastructural base, nearness to other large markets in the country and the location in the state of some federal owned industries, notably steel rolling mill and machine tools in Osogbo which have high linkage potentials.
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