- Sunday, 26 January 2014
Nigeria's forestry industry is an old and tested one. Organized forestry under state policy direction made an entry in Nigerian economy in 1908 when the country's first Forestry Department was established. Even prelude to this development, Nigeria's forestry sector was, and has remained a pillar of economic production, whose fortunes has however dwindled in modern times. From 1882, when European forestry associations and groups were reportedly active in Nigerian forests various species of trees and exotic woods were introduced and methodically cultivated in Nigerian forests. The sector was responsible for nearly 2% of GDP and 8% of production in the agricultural sector between 1990 and 2000. It employed some 1.8 to 2
million people mostly part-time basis, as suppliers of fuel-wood and poles. Close to 75,000 people were directly employed in timber and plywood factories in southern Nigeria forest zones. Timber exports used to be important but were banned in 1976 in the hope of slowing down the rapid destruction of the forests.
Import of wood products reached US$177 million in 1986 and included pulp and paper products worth US$165 million and wood panels worth US$7.6 million. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) (2002) put the contribution of forestry to Nigeria’s GDP using 1984 factor cost at 1.27% in 1996; 1.24% in 1997; 1.22% in 1998; 1.2% in 1999 and 1.189% in 2000.