Government News Source|10 December 2019
Cross River State Governor Sir Ben Ayade has disclosed his administration's commitment to boosting agriculture in the state through mechanised farming.
The governor made the disclosure at the weekend while taking part in the harvesting of rice at his private farm in Obanliku local government area of the state.
He identified Agro-industrialisation as the only antidote against unemployment in the country.
Ayade who described farming as the surest way to poverty alleviation thanked president Buhari for creating the enabling environment for those interested in going into farming as a full scale profession.
His words: "As a professor with very strong background in private business before going into private business and then politics, President's Buhari's policy focus on agriculture was very clear to me and I took advantage of it and kinetically crystallized it to the product of what you see here today, the Ayade farms.
"We are encouraging young men and women to go into agriculture and take advantage of the modern agricultural techniques my administration has put in place to enable them enjoy themselves while earning a living."
Continuing Ayade said, " Cross River State government has made the whole process easy for you, right from the process of seed cultivation, seed quality with emphasis on ensuring that we have a high yield seed by setting up the first vitaminised rice seedlings centre in Africa, and to complement it, we have a technical partnership in place with John Deere so we also provide tractorisation and mechanisation support services. we are also building an ultra modern rice mill in Ogoja that is about 85% complete. "
The governor explained that Cross River state is pioneering Agro- Industrialisation because his administration clearly understood the need for Nigeria to create an economy outside oil.
"When President Buhari came into office one of his critical focus was finding and creating a new Nigeria beyond oil, we had to have a road map that created a new prosperity agenda for Nigeria beyond oil therefore, because we are an agrarian state with a huge population agro-industrial revolution is the right way to go to create jobs and engage our teeming youths.
What I have done about farming is to make it exciting and pleasant, we have a very sophisticated harvester here that has the ability to separate the rice seeds by taking out the seeds that are not fit and separating them into two different parts in the harvester. It is a very sophisticated technology with an air condition system so there's nothing stopping a graduate from going into digital farming", Ayade said
The Governor used the opportunity to announce a modification to the annual Calabar Carnival starting from next year.According to him, from next year, the yearly international tourism Fiesta will have a new segment called " The Agro cultural carnival"
"Next year we are going to have a twist, we are going to have a carnival called the "Agro-Cultural Festival", which means every local government will showcase their farm produce and we are going to have full beneficiation plans", the governor stated.