Cross-River signs MOU with USAID to increase rice production

Eme Offiong, Calabar

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The Government of Cross River State has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States Agency for International Development USAID, to increase rice production in the state.

This agreement will be implemented under the Feed the Future Project.

Dr. Adam Shaffer, the Managing Director of Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture, CNFA, an international agency engaged in agricultural development and entrepreneurship initiatives, said the focus of the agency was on seven key areas such as financing, aqua-culture, agro-business and others.

In the forthcoming Public Private Sector Partnership, PPSP, on rice value chain and opportunity, we intend to bring in investors and financiers not just within Nigeria, but around the world to invest in Cross River rice and other value chains.

We will partner with you in bringing the best in terms of finance, intelligence, experience and broker relationship outside Nigeria for export potentials,” stated the Chief of Party.

Within Nigeria, there are 11 states that are the target of all our resources. 4 in the north east with a focus on the remaining seven states in which Cross River is at the top of our list.”

The Chief of Party undertook a tour of the Ayade Industrial Park where the Rice Seedling Factory, noodles factory and poultry slaughter house including the Garment Factory and soon to be commissioned Calabar Pharmaceutical Company are located.

I really have not seen such a consistency from the farm to the set up and I am looking forward to seeing the Ogoja rice mill. But, this seedling factory is state of the art and impressive, unique. I am told it is one of a kind not only in Cross River, Nigeria but Africa.”

This is a demonstration of Nigeria’s potential to feed itself and the region. We need to see the entire value chain at this level of technology. Digitized agriculture is the future,” hinted Shaffer.

Project Ready 

Governor Ben Ayade said that the concept of the industrial park and the investments in agriculture was to feed the future as well as encourage those in the value chain to adopt international best practices.

Ayade assured of the state’s capacity to deliver on the goals of Cultivating New Frontiers for Agriculture.

With the calibre of persons we have around us, we have a huge capacity and practical experience to deliver because the quality of the people truly reflects the successes factor of whatever project that has been brought.”

We believe that we are well positioned by our technology, size of land, character and decency of our people as well as integrity and love for strangers, we provide a perfect environment for CNFA to prove indeed that you are the right contractor selected to drive this process,” he added.