Benue State Food basket of the nation

Nigeria is a country blessed with abundance of resources and investment opportunities. Resources are widely distributed among the 36 states not leaving the capital city behind. Among these abundance of resources and investment opportunities, Benue state have been spotted as a land of unlimited opportunities especially in agriculture. No wonder the state has been nick named “the food basket of the nation.” But, aside from the agricultural potential of this state. There are other opportunities that can be harnessed which you will discover if you keep on reading.

Benue State is one of the north central states in Nigeria. It is inhabited predominantly by the Tiv, Idoma and Igede people. The capital of Benue State is Makurdi. Benue State is named after the Benue River and was formed from the former Benue-Plateau State in 1976, along with Igala and some part of Kwara State. The state is populated by several ethnic groups: Tiv, Idoma, Igede, Etulo, Abakpa, Jukun, Hausa, Igbo, Akweya and Nyifon. The Tiv are occupying fourteen local government areas with the Etulo and Jukun , with the Idoma, Igede, Igbo, Akweya and Nyifon occupying nine.

Most of the Tiv people are farmers while the inhabitants of the riverine areas engage in fishing as their primary occupation. The people of the state are famous for their cheerful and hospitable disposition as well as rich cultural heritage. The people are believed to be loving and accommodating. The people are also very intelligent and creative. The most common languages in Benue state are English, Idoma and Tiv.

Investment opportunities in Benue State avail themselves in three major sectors which are: agriculture, tourism and mineral resources. These are just the major sector excluding other opportunities present in the state like air-condition sales and repair (if you’ve been to Benue state before, you will understand that it is one of the hottest states in Nigeria), Unisex Salon and beauty shop, pharmacy store and boutique based on the influx of people in the state especially foreigners that engage in commercial activities.

Major sectors of investment opportunities

1. Agricultural potential 

  • Farming Business:

Benue state been nick named “the food basket of the nation” is not just a hype but a reality. Based on the climate and soil, the cultivation of various crops in large quantities is very favorable. Major Crops grown include but not limited to yam, cassava, rice, maize, sorghum, soya bean, beni-seed, groundnut, sugar cane, sweet potato, ginger, millet and beans. Tree Crops being Oil palm, cashew, coconut, oranges, banana, plantain, coffee and kolanut and vegetables like tomatoes, pepper, pumpkin, okro, spinach and pineapples. Melon, Fruits and a host of other crops are also cultivated in abundance and of different species.

The main income generator for this state is agriculture. Even the state is proud to host the largest yam market in West Africa called the Zaki-biam yam market where the influx of foreigners is surprising. Benue state is the most preferred place for food merchants since they’re guaranteed to get agric produce at a cheaper rate there. Yam and cassava being among the food products consumed regularly in most homes in Nigeria, is a very lucrative farming business to start in Benue state. Another aspect of opportunities in this state is the purchase and lease of farm land which is very cheap and affordable at least for the purpose you would want to use it for.

Zaki Biam Yam Market
Zaki Biam Yam Market, Benue State, Nigeria.
Zaki Biam Yam Market
Zaki Biam Yam Market, Benue State, Nigeria.

Livestock farming of Goats, sheep, pigs, poultry, cattle can also be considered. With fishing being another prospective business in this state, this potential is made possible by vast freshwater resources made up of inland lakes, River Benue and River Katsina-Ala and their tributaries. Note that River Benue is the second largest river in Nigeria.

  • Food Processing:

Setting up your own food processing business in Benue state is an endeavor that will definitely yield amazing profit based on the availability of the raw materials in large quantities as well as the availability of cheap labour. This is one of the problem that needs to be solved as identified by experiecingnaija team during our visit to Benue state. Especially fruits were seen wasting in their large quantities based on non-availability of a food processing industry and storage facilities that could maximize the opportunities present in the areas.

  • Sales and servicing of agricultural tools and machineries:

This is also another opportunity an investor can maximize in Benue state. Although, most farmers in this state have not embrace mechanized farming but surely will embrace such if they want to increase their production and business in general.

2. Tourism Potential

Benue state is a land of rivers, hills and other several tourist attraction sites. Benue State is full of immense tourism potentials. Some of the exciting places to visit in Benue State are:

  • Benue Hills

Geographically located in the middle belt of the country, a major makeup of Benue state’s tourist sites and attraction are its hilly terrains. Two of its most famous are the Ushongo hill and Leiv Mountain.

In Ushongo Local government Area are a collection of hills which gives the area a beautiful hilly landscape. The biggest of them is known as the Ushongo hill. It is the pride of the Ushongo people and a monument of the Usman Dan-fodio war. At the top of the hill, a picnic is held every yuletide season where locals and visitors make merry with music and food.

Ushongo-Hills-Benue-State-Nigeria
Ushongo-Hills-Benue-State-Nigeria.

Leiv Mountain popularly known as the Ikyogen hill is located in Mbabegh Ikyogen, Kwande local government area of Benue state. The lush green leiv mountain used to be a habitat for monkeys and a grazing ranch for cattles but overtime it has become deserted. During the unrest in Cameroon, the hill served as a temporary camp for the Cameroonian refugees but even long after the camp was relocated, this tourist site and attraction never regained its lost glory. Locals who live around however still find hiking on Leiv Mountain recreational.

Leiv-Mountain-Benue-State-Nigeria
Leiv Mountain, Benue State, Nigeria.

No doubt, the Benue hills feature some of the country’s most beautiful scenery and nature. A perfect location for exploring and adventurous hiking for indigenes and tourist alike. The views from the mountain tops are always worth the climb.

  • Enumabia Warm Spring

Nigeria is a nation rooted in ancient cultures and beliefs. Even as the western civilization penetrates the fabric of our society, there still are societies holding on to their history, culture, and myths. This is why the Enumabia Warm Spring in Orokam Local Government Area was top on our list of natural attractions to visit in Benue state. Stories about this famous spring made the Experiencing Naija team look forward to the visit all the more.

Enumabia-warm-spring-Benue-State-Nigeria
Enumabia Warm Spring, Benue State, Nigeria.

The Enumabia warm spring is a representation of the mythical beliefs of the Orokam people. Said to be mother and protector of children by the natives, folklore around the Enumabia River is that it resettled from Uture to Oko in Orokam. This was due to misuse by villagers especially women who were on their monthly menstrual cycles and deemed to be ‘unclean’. The river deity is known as ‘Enumabia Okpo’.

On getting to the town of Orokam, we were told the journey had to be completed on foot. The team was also advised by locals to avoid any use of media equipment as the deity wasn’t a big fan of pictures. In their exact words, “E no go even show if you snap am. Your camera fit even spoil”. So, with a bit of anxiety, our journey continued. The ambience of the forest with its tall trees and shed dried leaves was quite enthralling. The chirping of birds and undulating pathways gave an adventurous feel. Through the narrow path with makeshift wooden rails, we went on for a few minutes and Voila! There it was.

A beautiful cave with a high ceiling and a calm body of water flowing just beneath. It was a serene environment filled with echoes of laughter and water splashing. Some village youth played on one side of the river, while another group washed their clothes on the other side. There was a burnfire just beside the river to ward off biting insects giving the environment a camp look. It was indeed a hidden beauty and a sight to behold.

Worshippers of Enumbia Okpo gather to celebrate the Enumabia festival on a day said to be chosen by the river and communicated through their priest. On the day, sacrifices of chickens and goats are made to appease the deity. The Enumabia Okpo deity is still worshipped till today and the river a source of water for surrounding villages.

Do not be worried about capturing your visits to the Enumabia warm spring in pictures, because it turns out the environment was receptive to us and our cameras. Or maybe Enumabia Okpo just took a liking to us!

3. Mineral Resources Potential

Based on geo-physical surveys and other studies, the State is also endowed with many mineral resources, which can support many industries. Like:

  • Barites: This mineral resource is useful in oil drilling, production of glass and chemicals. It can be found in Gboko, Guma, Gwer, Makurdi and Ushongo Local Government areas.
  • Kaolin: This mineral resource is useful in the production of paper plastics, filter in plants, paints and so on. It can be found in Apa, Ogbadibo, Okpokwu and Vandeikya Local Government areas.
  • Brick clay: This mineral resource is useful for pottery products, production of building bricks, tiles etc. It is found in Buruku, Gwer, Makurdi and Otukpo Local Government Areas.
  • Lead/Zinc: This is mineral resource is useful for auto battery production, paint alloys etc. It is found in Ado, Gboko, Guma, Katsina-Ala and Vandeikya Local Government areas.
  • Coal: This is mineral resource is useful for energy/fuel, chemicals etc. It is found in Ogbadibo and Okpokwu Local Government areas.
  • Gypsum: This is mineral resource is useful for the production of cement, fertilizer etc. It is found in Apa, Gboko, Gwer, Konshisha, Otukpo and Ushongo Local Government Areas.
  • Salt: Deposits of salt can be found in commercial quantities throughout the Benue State.

No doubt, among other states endowed in Nigeria, Benue state is a land full of immense opportunities and possibilities. But at the moment the state is relatively poor due to low level of capital investment and lack of entrepreneurs, few industries and most of the nonagricultural workers are civil servants. The state government has policy that encourages investors through incentive and industrial layout. There are also over 100 periodic rural markets in the state connected by seasoned earth roads for easy marketing and evacuation of goods. So, this is the right time to explore the opportunities in this great state.

 

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