NATURAL RESOURCES AND POTENTIAL FOR DEVELOPMENTPost Comment NATURAL RESOURCES AND POTENTIAL FOR DEVELOPMENT Nigeria
Agriculture: Agriculture is the mainstay of the state's economy. Yobe State is endowed with vast agricultural and livestock development potentials. The state also possesses one of the richest fishing grounds in the northeastern region of the country. Farming, fishing and livestock rearing are, there fore, the most important agricultural practices employing about 245,478 people, representing 26.6 percent of the total labour force of the state. The agricultural produce of the state include maize, millet, rice, wheat, sorghum, gum arable, cotton, groundnut, beans etcetera. These crops are raised both for subsistence and cash economy by the farmers.
Subsistence Crops: Maize is a widespread grain, cultivated in most parts of the state (except in few areas like Machina, Yusufari and Yunusari Local Government Areas where the duration and the quantity of rain is not adequate to support its growth). It is harvested fresh or dry. Fresh cobs are boiled or roasted, but the dry seeds are floured and used for maize meal. Millet can be grown under drier conditions; therefore, it is produced all over the state.
Rice and wheat are grown in the main river , valleys, in Bade, Nguru and Geidam areas. Tomatoes, onions, pepper, carrots etc. are some of the crops grown in market gardens. These are mostly grown around the main urban centres for easy disposal since they are highly perishable.
Cash Crops: Groundnut is grown virtually all over the state. The wide plains of the state, with suitable annual rainfall and a sandy soil, make cultivation easy. Nguru is a major collecting and railing centre. The establishment of Nguru Oil Mills in the sixties, testifies to the abundance of groundnut in the state. In fact, the rail line extension from Kano to Nguru was primarily because of the exploitation of groundnut.
Gum arabic of high grade is also available in commercial quantities especially in Damaturu, Nguru, Jakusko and Bursari local government areas. Yobe State produces over 80 per cent of the total national output of gum arabic. However, most of the gum arabic is exported. Equally produced in commercial quantities is cotton. Cotton is nrown in the wetter narts of the state at Gujba, Fika, Nangere and Fune local government areas.
Yobe is one of the leading livestock production areas in Nigeria. The animals reared include cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, horses and camels. Accurate statistics do not exist, so it is very difficult to say how much of each is found in the state. The animals are reared for food or for their products (which are either exported or used in local craft industries) or as beasts of burden. Cattle, for example, is important for meat, dairy produce, hides and skins, bones and horns and as a source of agricultural labour.
The dormant Nigeria Food Company at Nguru and the Neital Shoe Factory at Maiduguri were established in the former Borno State in response to the abundant livestock in the area. It is to be noted that one of the largest cattle markets in West Africa is located in Potiskum town, the headquarters of Potiskum local government area.
Mineral Resources: Yobe State is richly endowed with a wide range of mineral resources. The following minerals are found in commercial quantities: Trauna/potash, kaolinite, gypsum, gravel and silica sand, limestone, diatomite and mineral water spring. Trauna, which is a basic raw material for soap production, is found in commercial quantities in the northern part of the state in Yusufari, Yunusari, Nguru, Bade, Bursari and Geidam local government areas.
A large potash market exists in Gashua town, the headquarters of Bade local government area. Kaolinite, consisting of hydrous-aluminium silicate and derived from the weathering of feldspar and other aluminium silicate materials, is also of economic importance in the state. Large deposits of high grade kaolinite have been discovered at Bade, Jakusko, Gujba, Nangere, Fika, Geidam and Nguru areas.
It serves as a source of raw materials for ceramic industries, and is locally used for pottery and brick making. It also serves as part of the raw materials for paper industries.Gypsum is found in commercial quantities in Fika, Fune and Gujba local government areas. It is estimated that Yobe state has a deposit of 140 million tons of gypsum. Limestone and diatomite, both important in the manufacture of cement, are also found in commercial quantities in Jujube, Fune and Fika. Gravel, sand and quartz and other products of deep chemical weathering are used everywhere for various construction purposes.
These are found and used all over the state. The mineral water springs found in Gujba and Gulani areas are important sources of fresh water supply. The Dofarga spring has an annual water yield capacity of about 326,000,000 cubic litres thus satisfying the World Health Organisation (WHO) requirement (National Population Commission, 1992).
Existing Industries: The existing industries in Yobe can be classified into the traditional local craft and the modem factory industries. The major local crafts industries include leather works, pottery and weaving.
(a) Leather Works: The main centres are Potiskum, Nguru, Gashua, Damaturu and Fika. The raw materials are locally sourced from the abundant livestock population in the area. They include hides and skins, and dyestuff. The main products are shoes, handbags, purses, saddles, puffs, belts, et cetera.
Pottery: This is found all over the state, supplying the utensils needed in the homes. The raw material is mainly clay.
Weaving: The most important centres are Bade, Karasuwa, Geidam and Bursari. A special grass that grows around oasis and swampy river valleys is the chief raw material. Mats of different sizes are the main products. The major modern factories in the state including the folowing:
Nguru Oil Mills: Groundnut and cotton seeds are processed for the production of edible oil, animals feeds, cake, industrial fats and butter. The commercial avail ability of these raw materials in the state justifies the establishment of the Nguru Oil Mills Limited, Nguru.
Nigerian Food Company Limited, Nguru: Yobe State is one of the leading states in terms of livestock production in the country. In fact, one of the largest cattle markets in West Africa is located at Potiskum town, the headquarters of Potiskum LGA. The commercial availability of livestock in the state informed the establishment of the company.
Yobe Flour and Feed Mills Company Limited: Located in Potiskum, the com pany sets out to process millet, maize and sorghum into flour, grits and animal feeds. Wheat is another essential raw material that can support the establish ment of an industrial venture for the production of flour, malt, baking powder, bread, macaroni and sphagetti. The raw material is cultivated in abundance along the Nguru Wetlands as well as in Fika and Bade LGAs.
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