The land and climate in bayelsa support the cultivation of both food and cash crops. These includeoilpalm,rubber,cocoa,rice,plantain,banana,yam,cocoayams,coconut,cassava,sugarcane,sweet, potatoes and pineapple.The bayelsa state Government encourages investment in food production,especially the development of crops that thrive in the local environment like cassava,rice and plaintain.Investment potential in this sector includes the development,production and marketing of these agricultural resources.
RICE PRODUCTION AND CULTIVATION
Rice is a staple food and the most rapidly growing food source in Africa. It also serves over half of the world`s population. Its production is facing serious constranints, with diminishing land and water resources, hence the current globel initiative towards its sustainable production.
The Niger Delta is one of the wettest places on earth. Most of Bayelsa, which occupies the central Niger Delta, is very wet, an indication of its suitability for the cultivation of wet rice. Bayelsa has a natural and environmental advantage for profitable investment in rice production. The floodplain soils back swamp soils and the mangrove swamp which are suitable for rice cultivation constitute about 7,134,68km (52.42 per cent) of the total land cover of Bayelsa.
Investors can team up with local farmers or public agencies. The Burma rice project undertaken by Agip illustrates the viability of such parnterships. Presently, few farms in small private holdings are operational. The major private rice farms like Otuokpoti rice farm in Ogbia local government area and the Akassa rice farm in the Brass area, which were providing popular and high -demand rice for the state and itsneighbours, have lain follow for over half a decade because of financial constraints and lack of milling tools tools. The 1,200 hectare peremabiri rice project established in 1958 by the Niger Delta Development Board and inherited by the Niger Delta Basin and Rural Development Authority, has been out of use since 1992. At the moment, all rice consumed in Niger Delta states is imported. A major investment in rice production in Bayelsa State would obviously be a productive economic venture to cater for the growing need for the staple food by Nigerians, and allied industries as well as for export.
There is dearth of opultry products in Bayelsa State, even in the face of sky-rocketing demand for eggs and chicken, which are basic sources of animalprotein. At the moment, Rivers and Delta State supply poultry to the open market and catering businesses.
A great potential thus exists for the development of large-scale poultry farms in Bayelsa State. The few poultry farm taht exist are smallholdings. Large-sclae poultry farmingto produce egg and broilers, as wells as turkey farming, feed production and marketing, would certainly be lucrative and economically worthwhile investments in the state. But such business would also have to overcome the challenge of common poultry diseases like brooder pneumonia, gumboro, coccidiosis and fowl typhoid.
The agricultural base of Bayelsa State is extremely rich. Food and tree crops like cassava, plantain, sugar cana, coconut, oil palm, African mango , rubber and seasonal food crops like maize and fruits, as well as timber, which are abundant locally and can provide sources of raw materials for allied industries. This defines the need for agro-industrial development that involves the utilisation of these resources in cottage and large-scale industries to serve local needs, and also for export. Along these lines, the potentail exists for the establishment of a variety of industrirs in the state.
Food Storage and Export
This offers the opportunity to store and preserve excess production, especially for seasonal crops that are perishable over short intervals of time but are in high demand for direct consumption and as raw material input in allied industries. In the fruiting periods of seasonal crops, waste is inevitable as farmer's race against time todispose of their products. As much as this reduces threat economic valve of farmersproduce, it also diminishes morale, puts a clamp on productivity and so affects the overall local food production industry.
The bayelsa State government, in its resolve to join the international Alliance against Hunger, is interested in providing central storage facilities to cater for excess production in order to minimize losses by farmers. However, none is yet in place. Food storage and perseveration facilities would open up avenues for intense activity in crop production and increase the opportunities for exportation of crops such as plantain, banana, pineapple, orange and grains, which are readily available. With a steady source of power in the state, there are no peculiar or insurmountable challenges to this investment option.
Beverage and Fruit Drinks
The fruit drink/ juice industry can be supported by the increased production of various crops like pineapple, banana, pawpaw, African mango, cocoa, maize and cocoanut. Such industries are as yet non-existent in Bayelsa. Opportunities exist for small, medium and large-scale investors in this industry.
Cassava is the sources of garri, a stable food made of cassava flour. Almost every household in a rural area has a cassava farm. In bayelsa state, it is extensively grown in all the local government area and serves also as sources for fufu (a starch –like food), starch, tapioca and farina. it is one of the major crop which the government is interested in developing and encouraging investment in. Local farmers are already benefiting from the government's cassava commercialization programme, through the provision of planting materials available to cassava farmers.
The two major species of cassava produced in the state are bitter cassava and sweet cassava. However, the state `s Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) is encouraging farmers to plant improved varieties, which are also made available to them. With a cassava plant population of 10,000 plants per hectare, average yield of 15 -25 tonnes per hectare and an estimated land cultivation rate of about 3 hectares per season per farmer currents cassava production in the state is enough to support local need and exports. With the government's renewed effort in the cassava programme, where the local farmers receive improved species and planting materials, production is expected to accelerate. This would certainly drive the anticipated industrial revolution in cassava-based industries in the state. Basically, every aspect of the processed tuber is useful, but derived utility is always limited by exhaustive processing due to the lack of adequate modem processing facilities. Cassava is useful as a raw material for a variety of products, and its abundance would support cottage and large-scale industries throughout Bayelsa State
Palm Oil Processing
The oil palm tree is the most ubiquitous crop in this part of Nigeria. In Bayelsa State, wild groves of oil palm trees are the major source ofedible oil. Indeed, Bayelsa State is a major producer of oil palm / palm kernel in the country. Government-owned and small individual holding plantations are also avaliable. The abundance of this cash crop is a potential for investment in palm oil processing and allied industries in the state.
Palm oil association industries
Palm oil processing mills would employ modern techniques for the commercial production of palm oil, palm kernel and kernel oil from the palm fruit. In some communities in bayelsa state, the traditional methods of boiling and pounding to extract oil, and manual cracking of the nut to obtain the kernel are used. However the old screw –type hand –press device is still in use in small mills in most communities. Hence production is obviously limited. Large –scale production of palm oil requires modern tools and large capacity process in mills. The state government has stalled a 10/20 tonne /hr oil mill to take care of the processing needs of its 1000-hectare oil palm plantation in elebele, ogbia area. There is great potential for investment in oil palm production as the mill's capacity needs at least over 50,000 hectares to satisfy capacity. There is a large capacity for exportation of processed oil palm products including palm oil (edible oil), palm kernel/kernel oil. But would also be lucrative to employ them as raw materials for the production of high demand products.
Large –scale availability of palm oil and kernel is an attractive potential for investment in the production of vegetable oil, Detergents and soaps. The ban on importation of all classes of soap in the country in January 2004 creates opportunities for investment in this area, such as cream, pomade, industrial oils and industrial alcohol Crushed kernel provides feed extract for fish and poultry farming none of such industries presently exist in bayelsa state despite the large consumer market.
Coconut processing and export
Coconut is moderately grown in homesteads in most parts of bayelsa state; but most commonly in the Nembe and yenagoa area. It is also cultivated in plantations and dispersed naturally by water; hence it growns in most riverine area and beaches. The coconut fruit is consumed locally and used for export.
Rubber processingIts concentration in bayelsa state provides investment opportunities in the in the following area: the development coconut plantations; confecting industry production of coconut –flavored confectioneries; cosmetic industry, the production of cream, soaps and oils; export of processed product s/coconut fruits. By –product of coconut processing can also be used for feed in aquaculture and poultry farmer. Presently, the coconut fruit is yet to be utilized in any of these ways in bayelsa or neighbouring state.
Rubber tree is commonly found in bayelsa state, with plantation mostly based in the ogbia sagbama region. The lack of industrial demand for rubber in bayelsa state has had a negative impact on rubber cultivation. However the current situation provides opportunities for investment in: the development of rubber plantations; rubber processing factories for production latex and glue for the wood, paper, leather products and allied industries. Rubber seed oil is used in soap and paint manufacturing, for production of soaps, liquid soap and alkyd resins for paint making. Rubber seed cake is useful as protein substitute in animal rations especially in poultry.
In the meantime, latex tapped from plantations in bayelsa is sold for industrial use in rubber processing factories in the neighbouring Delta state. A local rubber factory would have a steady source of raw materials within bayelsa state.
Demand for aquaculture products has risen with increased urbanization, rising incomes and meat becoming more expensive. The worldwide shortage of white fish has caused prices to rise, making fish farmed in Bayelsa state even more competitive.
The rivers, estuaries and flood plains provide extensive vegetation and favourable conditions for shelters and nurseries for aquatic life. There has been increasing interest in developing the aquaculture sector in Cross River but investments thus far have not been of any significant scale.
Those that have invested in farming catfish and tilapia have proven successful. Government analysis suggests commercial shrimp farming also has good prospects.
Bayelsa State has a 180km coastline that holds a lot of potential for investors in fisheries. Current production is estimated at 70 000 tonnes annually but the industry needs further investment in order to reach the target of 200 000 tonnes yearly.
In an effort to diversify its oil-based economy, the Bayelsa state government in 2009 set up the Niger Delta Sea Foods Limited to jumpstart the development of the fishing industry. The company this year acquired two fishing trawlers, with a further three to follow, to help make the state a major supplier of table fish for the country. The state government has since established a fishing academy to develop the needed skills.
Some common fish available include saltwater species like bonga, sardines, shed, mackerel, jacks, and long neck croaker. Others are freshwater species such as cat fish, tilapia and zilli.
- Commercial fishing
- Canning and processing
- Development of fisheries
Water hyacinth: Hyacinth is an aquatic weed that rapidly colonizes freshwater bodies and becomes troublesome because of the way it clogs waterways and blocks sunlight. Hyacinth is rampant in Bayelsa state water bodies. In other countries, profitable ventures that also provide a means of controlling the weed have emerged. Interested investors can use hyacinth to make furniture and jewellery, in paper production, weaving, fertilizer, animal and fish feed production.
Besides the generous incentives offered by the federal government that includes pioneer status for certain sectors (tax holidays up to ten year and capital and reinvestment allowances), Bayelsa state also offers special incentives to qualifying investors. These include provision of infrastructure support, security, advisory services, waivers of fees and fast-tracking the issuance of certificates of occupancy in order to get businesses up and running quickly.