The governor of Cross River State, Senator Ben Ayade has said that the ultra-modern rice mill which is under construction in Ogoja local government area will produce its first wholly bagged rice by the end of December 2017.
Speaking with journalists at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar, the governor who was returning from overseas trip said payment for the equipment had already been made and “we are awaiting delivery by end of October while installation will commence as soon as the equipment arrives.”
“Part of my itinerary was to inspect the manufacturing process of the rice mill which is the most sophisticated and digitalised facility you can ever find. It is the latest technology in rice processing in the world today. Hopefully, Cross River State will have its own home grown, milled and ready-for-consumption rice by December,” he added.
Ayade also stressed that his administration would focus majorly on agriculture, solid minerals and to a lesser extent oil and gas.
“In Cross River State we had seen this coming, which was why we set up food bank, cotton cultivation with the focus to support our garment factory as a strategy for backward integration. We must find any means to earn money other than oil and gas,” he said.
The governor, who lauded the federal government’s aggressive agricultural policy, also disclosed some other aspects of investments which the state got approval from its partners.
“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,” said the governor and called 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 stressed.
Ayade further said the government would introduce the Israeli farming system in which everyone owns a farm while government harvests and processes the 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,” he said.