Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state, South-South Nigeria has flagged off the 2019 wet season rice farming in Calabar, the capital city of the state.
Professor Ayade said that the vitamized rice seedling, which is being produced at the first Rice Seedling Plant in Africa, would be distributed through the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, to more than 500 trained farmers.
Ayade said “we have trained over 500 hundred rice farmers in Cross River to effectively engage in mechanized farming. The farmers now know how to use technology for agriculture and plant the seedlings, which can be harvested in 3 months”.
He expressed appreciation to the Nigerian government and the Central Bank of Nigeria for supporting the State with 10.8 billion Naira and patronizing the Rice Seedling Plant.
“Let us appreciate this initiative of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, for working hard with the President to recognize me as a serious, dedicated farmer. This has made it possible for Cross River to embark on massive agricultural projects that would diversify our economy,” he stated.
Ayade urged politicians, civil servants and the teeming unemployed to actively participate in agriculture as alternate source of income rather than depend on white collar jobs.
The Guest of Honour, Godwin Emefiele, The governor of CBN said that the intervention of the Nigerian Government in Agriculture is primarily to reduce importation of commodities such as rice, maize and others, which the nation is endowed with potentials to cultivate on a commercial scale.
Emefiele, who was represented by the Cross River Branch Controller of CBN, Chucks Sokari, noted with satisfaction the extent of agricultural production across the value chains of commercial crops.
The CBN boss said “I am impressed with the agricultural strides in Cross River State. I believe that the Forex Basket of Nigeria is potentially going to be available in Cross River because the Governor is driving Agriculture, making the State at the forefront of promoting Agriculture.
So, it is good news to the Central Bank to have this kind of occasion and that people are becoming involved in Agriculture. This is the hallmark if you want to reduce imports and sustain steady foreign exchange.”.
Emefiele urged those farmers, who benefitted from the anchor borrowers revolving loans to payback on a single digit interest so others can access such facility.
The 2019 wet season rice farming featured goodwill messages from the National President of RIFAN, Aminu Mohammed Goranyo and others.