Calabar— Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, has disclosed that the ultra-modern rice mill currently under construction in Ogoja Local Government Area of the state, will roll out its first wholly bagged rice by the end of December 2017.
Governor Ayade disclosed this shortly on arrival from his overseas trip at the Margaret Ekpo Int’l Airport, Calabar, yesterday.
“Part of my trip itinerary was to inspect the manufacturing process of the rice mill which is the most sophisticated and digitalized facility you can ever find. It is the latest technology in rice processing in the world today.
“Payment had already been made and we are awaiting delivery by end of October while installation will commence as soon as the equipment arrives. Hopefully, Cross River State will have its own home grown, milled and ready for consumption rice by December.”
Ayade who lauded the foresight of President Muhammadu Buhari for his aggressive agricultural policy, said “I agree with Mr. President, Buhari that we must think agriculture which is now yielding positive fruits across the country.”
Governor Ayade also explained that “Our major focus is on agriculture, solid minerals and to a lesser extent oil and gas,” adding that “In Cross River State, we saw this coming which was why we set up food bank, cotton cultivation with focus to support our garment factory as a strategy for backward integration. We must find means to earn money other than oil and gas.”
Ayade, who also enumerated other aspects of investments which the state had also received nods from partners, explained “We are also expanding into various aspects including the cultivation of corn because we are setting up a poultry farm which will require yellow maize as feeds.
“I use this opportunity to call on Cross Riverians to as a matter of urgency, start arranging for their own farms. You must own a farm because if everyone owns a hectare or two, the impact on food supply will be humongous.”
He hinted that the government intends “To introduce the Israeli farming system where everyone owns a farm and what government will do is to harvest and process those proceeds for the benefit of everyone. We need massive supply of corn and we are making arrangement to introduce modern corn farming techniques that will require all hands to be on deck as farmers to achieve this.”
“For our cocoa processing plant which is being handled by a firm in Switzerland, the manufacturing has reached 80 percent completion. I’m talking about all the equipment required for cocoa processing including dryer. We are in addition, setting aside 100 hectares of land dedicated for the cultivation of a new breed of cocoa to support the proposed cocoa processing plant as well as provide us cocoa bags in readiness for export.”