The governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade has expressed optimism that the state’s economy will record a giant leap with the expected generation of over N70 billion yearly from its Rice City project.
Speaking during the trial run of the project at Ayade Industrial Park, Calabar, the governor said the project is the largest and the first of its kind in Africa.
He said the Rice City is one of the signature projects of his administration and will be ready for commercial activities in June.
Ayade said the seedlings are natural and stressed that it is time other states and the federal government started patronizing the facility.
Ayade said the project is the outcome of his administration’s determination to free the state from over dependence on federal allocation.
“When I told Cross Riverians that my ambition was to restructure the state from over dependence on federal allocation, I truly meant it because with projects like this we are going to generate more revenue for the state…we are partnering with the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure that most of the seedlings are acquired from here. After we lost our oil wells unjustly, we now have an investment that needs federal patronage,” he said.
He reiterated that if the state enjoys full federal patronage, the Rice City will achieve a yearly turnover of 70 to 100billion Naira.
He therefore called on the federal government to procure rice seedlings from the state because “we have no competitor”.
“The project is wholly local content with no foreign impute; the factory can produce for 24 hours per day. The project is the biggest rice seedling factory in Africa with a perfect automated irrigation method. It will employ over 500 workers when operational.
Some state governors have already indicated interest to place demands. The rice seedlings that will be produced from the factory will be called “Cala 77” because it is very natural and totally organic,” said Ayade.