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An examination of linkages in the sawn wood sector of the Nigerian forest industry: Policy implications for natural resource-based development

Olawale Oladipo Adejuwon

Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2018, vol. 128, issue C, 74-83

Abstract: Proponents of natural resource-based development have argued that backward, forward and lateral linkages around natural resources can bring about structural change. However, there are very few studies on the development potential of natural resources in developing countries, specifically on non-petroleum related industries. This study examines linkages in the sawn wood sector of the Nigerian forest industry, in particular the saw mill and artisanal metal fabrication sectors which represent forward and backward linkages. Using a qualitative approach to obtain a detailed historical perspective, the study reveals that foreign inputs were gradually replaced by local inputs through the spontaneous efforts of artisans using the Doing, Utilising and Interacting (DUI) mode of learning and innovation to fabricate band saws and accoutrements used by the saw millers. Furthermore, problem solving skills have been acquired by the artisans over the years through the fabrication of these machines and interacting with the production activities of the millers. Export of machines by the artisans to regional low technology demanding countries were revealed. In addition, evidence of lateral linkages in form of movement of the fabricators to the manufacturing sector was also reported. While the sector shows promise for structural change, advances in technological competence of the sector is however being curtailed by a lack of access of the artisans to Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) based modes of learning and innovation and a vibrant iron and steel industry. In addition, production activities are being limited by an inadequate supply of timber due to the country's rapidly degrading forests. This in turn has restricted learning and competence building opportunities. For the industry to attain its full development potential, policy recommendations include revitalising the country's iron and steel sector, commencing the award of degrees in wood products engineering, fostering linkages between the artisans and formal knowledge infrastructure, initiating proper sustainable forest management practices and providing relevant physical infrastructure.

Keywords: Resource-based development; Structural change; Mature clusters; Sawn wood sector; Linkages; Nigeria (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2017.10.022

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