President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday commissioned an automated rice seed and seedling plant in Calabar, constructed under the Gov. Ben Ayade’s led administration of Cross River State to boost the federal government agriculture revolution programme.
Buhari who spoke while commissioning the multi-million naira project, said that when we his administration came on board, the
administration launched a zero-oil economic roadmap as a way to make the country less dependent on oil, with encouragement of investment in several sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture.
President Buhari ,“I am happy that Governor Ayade keyed into that policy and has today become the reference point in our agricultural revolution effort”.
“That we are gathered here today is no doubt a determination woven through to precision and a glowing testament to the fact that the policy is working.
In his words Buhari said, “Indeed, this factory speaks loudly about the giant strides we are making in agriculture as a country.
The president added, “This monumental project for which we are gathered here today underscores this position. The factory, said to be the first in Africa, is an automated plant with a capacity to produce high yielding vitaminised and disease resistant rice seedlings.”
Buhari stressed that with the rice plant, Ayade has indeed shown that he has the capacity to lead the state adding that seedlings from the factory will improve rice yield from the current national average of 3 to 4 tons per hectare to about 9 to 10 tons per hectare which according to the president will help to do away with import and boost foreign exchange for the country.
The president urged relevant Federal Government Agencies such as the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through its anchor borrower’s programme, to partner with the Cross River state Government in the area of supply of seedlings to farmers in the state to boost rice production.
Buhari commended Gov. Ayade for the initiative adding that besides creating employment opportunities for the unemployed, the factory will be a veritable platform for income generation for the state.
In his words, the president said, “I am told that the factory has the capacity to meet both foreign and domestic demands. This will go a long way in placing Nigeria on the global rice production map.
President Buhari charged other state government in the country to emulate the virtues of Gov. Ayade who keyed into the federal
government’s agricultural revolution programme.
“It is therefore, my hope and expectation that other states that are yet to fully take advantage of the zero-oil economic roadmap of the federal government will take a cue from Cross River State.”
The president thanked the governor Ayade for embarking on several agricultural investments such as the ongoing construction of
ultramodern rice mill in Ogoja, the cotton farm in Yala, the cocoa processing plant in Ikom and the Banana plantation in Odukpani, the feed mill and yellow maize farm in Obubra as well as the ultramodern poultry farm for export of frozen chicken amongst others stressing that with the investments, it is clear that Cross River has found a pathway on how to decouple itself from over reliance on federal allocation.
”It is evident also that by conceiving projects such as this, Governor Ayade has a keen eye for tomorrow; focusing on projects that
are building a new economic base for the state rather than projects with short term benefits for the purpose of making cheap political gains. I salute the governor vision”. Ayade said.
Responding, Gov. Ben Ayade lauded the president for acknowledging his strides adding that his Agric policy was improving the state economy and that despite its meagre federal allocation his administration pays salaries as at when due.
President Buhari also commissioned navy referral hospital, hundred unit housing scheme, six patrol boat from bought from Fran
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