The southern part of Abia State is predominantly tropical rainforest while there are high plains and hills with savannah vegetation to its north. Agriculture is important to the state’s economy and culture and approximately 70% of its labour force is engaged in it. Fishing takes place along the Imo and Aba rivers which flow through the state. Oil palms are of great commercial importance to the state, and its people also cultivate yam, corn, cashew, cassava, plantain and rice.
The most important natural resource in Abia State is crude oil; others include natural gas, limestone, kaolin, zinc, lead, gypsum, copper and industrial sand. The major industries in Abia are breweries, textiles, palm oil processing, ceramics and soap manufacturing. The traditional weaving of Akwete cloth is also an important industry in the state.
Higher education institutions in the state include the Abia State University in Uturu in the lsuikwuato LGA, and the Abia State Polytechnic in Aba. In addition, there is a staff training school at Urnunnato in the Bende LGA. The Federal University of Agriculture is located in Urnudike in the lkwuano LGA.
Other educational institutions include schools of nursing and midwifery in Abiriba, Aba and Umuahia; a school of midwifery attached to the Methodist Hospital in Amachara; the School of Health Technology in Aba; and the School of Psychiatric Nursing in Mgboko in the Obingwa LGA.
The Abia State government also runs a teacher training college and five technical colleges. There is also a College of Education in Arochukwu.
The oil palm originated in Africa and has been used for cooking and other purposes since 5000 BC. Nigeria is the world’s fifth largest producer of palm oil, the liquid extracted from the fruit of the oil palm.