• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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Cross River moves to boost Nigeria’s rice production with 50,000 hectares farm

Cross River moves to boost Nigeria’s rice production with 50,000 hectares farm

Prompted by the mission to support Federal Government’s initiative on rice production, Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State has initiated a large-scale rice cultivation project, spanning 50,000 hectares.

The endeavour is supported by a credit scheme in which the State allocates N150 million monthly towards agricultural development plan of Bassey Otu-led Administration in the State.

BusinessDay reports that the official ceremony marking the commencement of the project took place over the weekend in Ndok Community in Ogoja Local Government Area of Cross River State.

Read also: Otu ll boost business community, economic growth in Cross River MEDA

Governor Otu affirmed his Administration’s unwavering dedication to revolutionising the agricultural sector.

He emphasized the direct collaboration with rice farmers to cultivate the extensive 50,000 hectares.

He said, “We are engaging with groups of farmers, as part of our agricultural revolution, focusing initially on short-term cash crops like rice, cocoa, and cassava. We are also progressing towards the development of oil palm and rubber plantations.”

Acknowledging the critical importance of food and energy security, Governor Otu also assured farmers of the Government’s full support.

“We are committed to working along with every farmer, and ensuring the provision of essential resources. I extend this assurance to the traditional leaders. I emphasize our long-term commitment to this course.

“A credit-guarantee scheme has been established to facilitate financial assistance for dedicated farmers”, he added.

The governor said that the scheme is independent of Government, underlining the monthly allocation of N150 million towards the initiative.

He encouraged individuals to use the opportunity to enhance productivity, emphasizing the need for proactive engagement in agriculture.

Governor Otu urged individuals to take action, rather than passively waiting for sustenance, while he noted that there were abundant resources bestowed upon the State by divine providence, adding that there is a need for industrious efforts.

The State’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Irrigation,

Earlier, Johnson Ebekpo, State Commissioner for Agriculture and Irrigation, detailed the Government’s strategic approach to agricultural development.

He emphasized the importance of clear policies to attract private sector investments, and outlined Cross River’s commitment to making agriculture the cornerstone of the economy.

Read also: Cross River suspends 31 principals for WAEC exams racketeering

“Significant investments have been made in acquiring new tractors to enhance mechanisation efforts. The tractors, being distributed across the local government areas in Cross River State, will be managed by cooperatives, comprising men and women.

“The initiative aims to empower the youths while supporting small-holder farmers in scaling up their operations”, he said.

A rice-cluster farmer, Madam Agatha, while also speaking, expressed gratitude to Governor Otu for the initiative, and she highlighted the underutilization of the State’s rice mill due to productivity constraints, while emphasising the potentials for increased production.

Emmanuel Anoh, Chairman, Rice Farmers Association, Cross River State Chapter, projected a minimum rice yield of 6 tonnes per hectare, translating to 140 bags of 50kg rice per hectare, while stressing that the significant increase in production capacity was poised to transform the food industry in Nigeria.

Anoh also hailed Cross River State Government’s dedicated efforts, and expressed confidence in the positive outcomes that would benefit the populace from the laudable initiatives.