There are several enticing and potentially lucrative investment potentials in Bongo District, especially in the agricultural sector. Agriculture is the main economic activity of the people in the Bongo District, accounting for 81.7% of the labour force. The soils are rich in phosphate, enabling high productity levels to be attained in production of crops such as millet, sorghum, rice maize, groundnuts, cowpeas, Bambara beans and vegetables.
Vea is the site of a large irrigation dam in the Bongo District, covering a gross area of 850 hectares. Approximately 2000 small-scale farmers are eligible to farm in the project area. The main irrigated crops are tomatoes, onions, beans, paddy rice, groundnuts, sorghum and millet. The predominant agricultural technology in use involves cutlasses. The use of bullock ploughs is still widespread in the farms.
It is estimated that 1,200 bullocks are currently in use in the district. The use of tractors and ox-drawn ridges is gaining grounds although these are expensive and therefore beyond the means of most farmers on a cash and carry basis. This creates opportunities for investors willing to sell such equipment to farmers on a hire purchase or lease basis. Food processing remains rudimentary particularly in the rural communities. Sorghum, millet, maize and rice are pounded in mortars or milled on grinding stones.
A better alternative is the use of corn-mills but these are very few in the district and are restricted to only a few communities. Again such equipment can be supplied by private investors, preferably on instalmental payment basis which would attract wide patronage. Oil extraction from groundnut and shea butter is also done through rudimentary methods.
However corn mills and a machine known as the “Grinder” are used for commercial oil extraction. Storage facilities are insufficient in the district, which means that post harvest losses constitute a major factor in less than optimal food supply levels. Farm produce continues to be stored in household barns, which provide very little protection against pets. Commercial storage facilities, installed by private investors, therefore have large and potentially lucrative prospects. Almost all households in the district keep one form of livestock or the other. The major livestock reared are cattle, sheep, goats, fowls and guinea fowls.
The terrain is good for livestock rearing and the skills required abound among the populace, creating a good arena for investors to establish relatively large commercial livestock rearing operations. Bongo District has no large scale manufacturing industries. There are, however, many small-scale manufacturing enterprises located in the district capital and the surrounding settlements. Manufacturing activities include shea butter production, weaning food manufacture, pito brewing, dawadawa manufacturing and leather works. These industries are able to draw on the abundant supply of raw materials locally, widespread expertise among the populace and the competitive advantages conferred by Bongo District’s relatively low cost operating environment.