The Economic Potentials of Omor Town – Anambra State: Boosting Food Security in Rice Production
Engr Chief Celestine Nnaemeka ACHEBE1 & Chief Amobi P. CHIAMOGU2
1Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
2Department of Public Administration, Federal Polytechnic, Oko – Anambra State
Apart from the hospitality of ndi-Omor, welcoming and making a stranger feel at home, Omor is endowed with enormous human and material resources which propel various economic activities. The enormity of these economic activities engage most natives and attract settlers from the neighbouring local governments of Anambra East and West, Oyi amongst others within the state, Enugu (Adani, Ogurugu, Ogbosu, Udi, Ezeagu, Nsukka), Kogi, Benue and beyond. Omor has direct transportation route to Onitsha which has the biggest market in West Africa. The distance from Onitsha to Omor is about 56 km and about 45 minutes’ drive when the Onitsha-Otuocha-Omor-Adani-Nsukka Highway was highly motorable. Currently, the deplorable condition of the road drags a journey to Onitsha to an hour and fifteen minutes, and 50 minutes to Awka, the capital city of Anambra state. The condition of the road affects but does not stop the attendant market to essential food crops produced in Omor.
Using the International Standard Industrial Classifications (ISIC) approach, we traced 19 economic activities in Omor. These activities were grouped into three major sectors, namely: Agricultural Sector, Industrial Sector and Service Sector. The sectors are further categorized into the following sub-headings:
- Crop production
- Livestock/Animal production
- Water supply
- Motor Vehicles an Assembly
- Trade (wholesale and Retail Trade)
- Hotel, Restaurants and Short-term accommodation)
- Road Transportation ( Transport Services)
- Information and Communication
- Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
- Professional, Science and Technical Services
- Administration and support services
- Public Administration
- Health, and Social activities
- Other Services (such as barbing, hairdressing, Tailor, Artisan, etc.)
Stemming from the above, Omor is considered the commercial hub of Ayamelum Local Government Area and one of the fastest emerging economies in Anambra State and Nigeria. Omor was the only town listed in Anambra state in the World Bank Spatial Analysis and Accenture Report 2012, as one of the Potential Project Intervention Area in rice production and Special Ecological Zone with strong processing capability.
Determining Omor Gross Domestic Product (OGDP)
Omor Gross Domestic Product (OGDP), the sum of the market values of all final goods and services produced in the economy of Omor was established through a survey carried out by a team of researcher from Omor in 2019. OGDP of 2018 expresses the worth of the output of Omor in our local currency (Naria). The OGDP of 2018 was able to:
- Measure the quantum of economic activities in Omor
- Determine the variation in economic growth and development
- Ascertain the level of linkages in Omor for planning purposes
- Identify key drivers of economic growth in Omor to aid policy formulation and implementation
Consequently, from the survey, Omor Gross Domestic Product (OGDP) was estimated at twelve billion, three hundred and forty-one million and seven thousand, seven hundred and eighty naira N12,341,007,780.00.
|Table 1: Omor Gross Domestic Product (OGDP), 2018|
|Sectors||Contribution to OGDP (N)||% Contribution|
The table above showed the various economic pillars of Omor. Agricultural sector dominated every other sector with a total of N6,352,740,000.00 representing 51.5% followed by the Service sector with a total of N4,924,396,780.00 representing 39.9%, while the Industrial sector has a total of N1,063,871,000.00 representing 8.6%.
The Survey scientifically revealed that Omor has a favourable arable land, stable and business-friendly environment for both indigenous and foreign investors to site new business and seek wealth-creating opportunities.
Contributions by Economic Activities of the Sector
Each of the 19 economic activities in Omor has a key contribution to the economic potential. The presentation of contributions by each economic activity is to further boost the confidence of potential investors.
The Agricultural Sector
|Table 2: Contributions By Economic Activities in Agriculture|
|Economic Activities||Contribution to OGDP (N)||% Contribution|
From the above table, one can see that Omor is commercially viable and sufficiently subsistence in food production. Whereas there are about 9,270 hectares of arable land for rice cultivation with average yields expectation that amounts to about two hundred and twenty thousand naira (N220,000) per hectare, the arable land for okra production is about 2,100 hectares. Farmers make an average of two hundred and seventy-three thousand, four hundred naira (N273,400) per hectare. The 800 hectares for cultivation of yam gives a farmer an average of 3,200 appreciable tubers of yam that each could be sold for five hundred naira (N500) each. About 2500 hectares are used annually for the cultivation of cassava and contribution from cassava was estimated to four hundred million naira (N400,000,000). Omor generates about two hundred and ten million naira (N210,000,000) from cocoyam production per annum. Pigeon pea (akidi-enu or fio-fio) contributes about four hundred and twenty million naira (N420,000,000)to the GDP of Omor. The production of plantain and banana gives an average of 20,000 and 25,000 bunches annually. While about twenty million naira (N20,000,000) is made from Plantain, bananas give close to fifty million naira (N50,000,000). Market garden contributes an estimated sum of ninety million naira (N90,000,000) while the production of other crops like maize, melon, potatoes, pepper etc, contributes about eighty-two million naira (N82,000,000).
Livestock production has improved tremendously with the emergence of indigenous cattle breeders. Annually, an average of 810 cattle are reared in Omor with an estimated contribution of one hundred and twenty-one million naira (N121,000,000) to the economy. Other livestock estimates include 20,000 goats, 9,000 sheep, 160 pigs, 150 dogs, fishery and other minors. The estimated contributions are three hundred million naira (N300,000,000), one hundred and thirty-five million naira (N135,000,000) and nine million, six hundred thousand naira (N9,600,000), one million, five hundred thousand naira (N1,500,000), fourteen million, five hundred thousand naira(N14,500,000) and fifty million naira(N50,000,000) respectively.
The poultry farms raise fowls/chicken, duck and turkey. Investments in poultry is a good choice as the annual contributions are estimated to four hundred and forty-five million naira (N445,000,000), sixty million naira(N60,000,000) and ninety million naira(N90,000,000) respectively.
The Industrial Sector
The larger part of industrial manufacturing is seen in rice processing. There are 52 rice mills in Omor with appreciable system capacities. The direct and indirect job provided by rice processing is estimated to 20,000.
|Table 3: Contribution By Economic Activities in Industrial Sector|
|Economic Activities||Contribution to OGDP (N )||% Contribution|
|Water supply and remediation||16,790,000.00||0.1|
|Motor vehicle and Assembly||86,505,000.00||0.7
Averages of 3595 “tins” of rice are processed daily in the rice mills. The amount generated from rice processing annually is about three hundred and sixty-six million naira (N366,000,000). Again about seventy-four million, one hundred thousand naira (N74,100,000) circulates in the hands of those who invest in rice threshing machines, and this includes the youths who are usually engaged in the services. There are 200-grain mills in Omor and they contribute one hundred and twenty-five million naira (N125,000,000) to the OGDP. The flour mills contribute ten million, five hundred thousand naira (N10,500,000). The production of mineral water and bottled water gives an estimated sum of twenty-seven million, eight hundred thousand naira (N27,800,000) annually.
The 60 welders that engage in construction make an estimated contribution of ninety-three million, nine hundred thousand naira (N93,900,000) annually while building construction generates about fifty-six million, three hundred thousand naira (N56,300,000). The artisan works that include plumbing, electrical works and carpenters contributes about two hundred and six million naira (N206,000,000) to the GDP of Omor. Water supply and remediation in Omor contributes about sixteen million, eight hundred thousand naira (N16,800,000). About 70 artisans that engage in motor vehicles like mechanics, vulcanizer, bicycle and generator repairers contribute about eighty-six million, five hundred thousand naira (N86,500,000) annually.
The Service Sector
The contribution of key distributors of alcohols and beverages in the service sector is estimated at about one hundred million, one hundred thousand naira (N100,100,000)to the OGDP. Groceries and boutiques generate an estimated sum of thirty-four million, seven hundred thousand naira (N34,700,000) while those in motor spare parts and building materials contribute about seventy-one million, six hundred thousand naira (N71,600,000) and one hundred and thirteen million, four hundred thousand naira (N113,400,000) respectively. The average contribution of those in oil and gas services is one hundred and ninety million, eight hundred thousand naira (N190,800,000).
|Table 4: Contribution By Economic Activities in Service Sector|
|Economic Activities||Contribution to OGDP (N )||% Contribution|
|Trade (Wholesale & Retail)
|Hotel, Restaurant & Short-term accommodation||310,964,000.00||2.5|
|Information and Communication||28,170,000.00||0.2|
|Arts, Entertainment and Recreational services||2,496,000.00||0.02|
|Professional, Science & Technical Services||8,440,000.00||0.1|
|Administration & Support Services||138,012,000.00||1.1|
|Health and Social Activities||869,975,000.00||7.1|
|Other Services (Barbing, hair dressing, Tailoring, etc)||159,940,000.00||1.3|
The growth and increase in the economic activities of Omor make hotel and restaurant very vital and so about three hundred and ten million, nine hundred thousand naira (N310,900,000) circulates in the hands of those in these services annually. Road transportation contributes about eight hundred and seventy-four million, five hundred thousand naira (N874,500,000). ICTs and publishing contribute estimated sum of forty-three million, seven hundred thousand naira (N43,700,000)to the OGDP. Entertainment services and administrative with supportive services contribute about two million, five hundred thousand naira (N2,500,000) and one hundred and thirty-eight million naira (N138,000,000) respectively. Professional and technical services were estimated to eight million, four hundred thousand naira (N8,400,000). Security services have been able to generate about two million naira (N2,000,000) annually while education and health services give about seventeen million, seven hundred thousand naira (N17,700,000) and eight hundred and seventy million naira (N870,000,000)respectively. Other acquired skills and services like barbing shops, tailoring and hairdressing give a surprising sum of about one hundred fifty-nine million, nine hundred thousand naira (N159,900,000).
Because of these economic activities, the people of Omor are usefully engaged all year round with the youths able to fend for themselves. Natives who settle at home make good money and lead sustainable lives like their counterparts who live and work in cities. This is considered healthy for growth and development of Omor as the fear of being attacked visiting home is not a story associated with Omor as in most other towns.
One cannot talk about economic potentials without talking about security. Because of the busy economic activities of Omor, almost everyone is contented. This is a boost to the economic potentials of Omor. But in addition, the security architecture of Omor town has played a strong role in her economic potentials. Apart from the fact that all people of Omor help by giving information for neighbourhood watch, the Omor vigilante is one of the strongest in Anambra state, people sleep with their two eyes closed. The vigilante outfit partners the Nigerian police to guarantee effective security of the residents of Omor town and their properties. More so, the security supports of Governor Willie Obiano have helped every town in Anambra State to beef up their security. Omor benefits from good work.
It is worth knowing that when a town is what it is and the leadership is not what it supposed to be, the economy dwindles. It is strongly hoped by the people of Omor that with the advent of Igwe Oranu Chris Chidume , Eze Anaukwu, Eze Igulube of Omor, a renowned industrialist and capitalist and his high calibre Royal Cabinet members, that the economic potentials of Omor town will not be in doubt for potential investors.
To further drive home the economic potentials of Omor town, community-sponsored projects are abounding. The electrification of the town in 1987 -1988 through the to early 90s was carried out by the people of Omor. The postal office was built by an age grade, so is the magistrate court. Oliokuku age grade of each quarter embarks on internal road maintenance project yearly.
Omor is potentially viable for investors. OMOR AMAKA
There is no town without challenges. Despite the promises above, Omor needs government intervention in the following areas. The sustainability of the economic activities and the expected growths can only be sustained and achieved with strategic intervention in the following areas.
- Good Road Infrastructure: The highway that links Omor to the rest of Anambra State and Enugu state, which is a federal road needs urgent rehabilitation. It should be observed that palliative works over the years could not solve the deplorable condition of the road. Good condition of the roads will boost demand and supply chain in all the economic activities established above.
- Good Healthcare Delivery System: Health is wealth is a household expression. Omor needs equipped and functional government hospitals with adequate medical personnel to make healthcare affordable to people. The state of health of the farmers may boost or mar the economic potentials of Omor in cases of endemic diseases.
- Rehabilitation of the Lower Anambra Imo River Basin Development Project in Omor: The Federal Government through the Ministry of Water Resources is requested to facilitate the resuscitation and rehabilitation of the Lower Anambra Irrigation Project (LAIP) in Omor which is one of the developed River-Basin Development projects to boost rice production.
- Commercial banks should harness the huge unbanked monies by establishing their branches in Omor realizing the enormous economic activities take place in Omor on a daily basis. There is a high pool of customers and reliable security network is guaranteed. Commercial banks and other financial institution had been adequately guided statistically that Omor is potentially better than most other towns they open up branches.
- Incentive and subventions to the farmers in Omor should not be neglected by the government and high spirited individuals. These will boost agricultural production both for commercial and subsistence purposes in Omor. Loans and grants should be given to Omor farmers to improve and increase agricultural production. Farm inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides, improved seed, hybrid of animals etc. should be provided to farmers at subsidized rates.
- Governments at all levels should collaborate with development partners like the World Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), USAID and others for the provision of modern technologies, farm inputs and Agric extension service for rice production: Agriculture is a colossal business in Omor that could foster food security which is one of the cardinal policy objectives of the government. If the farmers in Omor are granted access to modern technologies for rice production, they could move from 36,000 metric tonnes of milled rice to 100,000 metric tonnes per annum because they have the potentials and requisite farming prowess. The government is further requested to create a more reliable platform for investors to take advantage of the huge economic potentials in Omor by bringing in integrated rice processing units for fast and quality processing of paddy rice through to parboiling milling, de-stoning and packaging to boost rice production and engender food security in Nigeria. The attendant market will be enormous and will boost economic activities in Omor.
- Again the stability in electricity supply will go a long way to saving a lot in terms of power that is sacrosanct for economic activities. Regular electricity supply would go a long way in sustaining small and medium scale industries existing in Omor.
- The local government is called upon to build more markets and shopping malls in Omor. This will decongest existing ones and improve trade activities.