Cross River State governor, Senator Ben Ayade, has commended President
Muhammadu Buhari for seeking to diversify the nation’s economy by making
agriculture its main stay.
Ayade, who was speaking during the flag of Rice Borrowers Anchor Programme
of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), also lauded the efforts of the
governor of the apex bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele in this regard.
Governor Ayade said the introduction of the program marks the beginning of
the nation’s march to food sufficiency.
His words: “We must seize this opportunity to thank President Buhari for
introducing this program. We must thank him because if you follow the
roadmap, plan and vision for this initiative, you will definitely know
that this is the beginning of the emancipation of Nigerians from their
continuous dependence on imported rice.”
Governor Ayade who also lauded the CBN governor Mr Godwin Emefiele, for
the gesture reasoned that “the rice value chain initiative remains a
special ceremony that will increase rice production in Africa because
Nigeria is the epic centre of Africa.”
Worried by the huge amount spent annually to import rice into the country,
the governor said: “This is what President Buhari wants to stop because it
has the nationalistic outlook to put an end to the declining rate of the
naira to the dollar. When we stop importing rice, we will be adding value
to our naira.
“It is key that you appreciate at this point the CBN governor and in
particular, President Buhari, for it is a concept that we must support.”
According to Ayade, “the vision of trying to be self-sufficient in rice
production is critical but in Cross River State, we will add our own
dimension to it. The government of Cross River is going to set up a proper
professional food bank, the very first in Nigeria.”
Continuing, the governor disclosed that “we are going to set up a food
bank, one in each local government area, the major essence is to serve as
the catallistic financial muscle that will pick up and buy off every
single seed of rice that you will produce.”
Affirming that the state government will support CBN and the Federal
government in ensuring that farmers don’t return to the mundane way of
farming, Ayade said: “The farming we are going to do in Cross River State
is going to be special because we are known for class, style and beauty”,
adding that “we will provide an agricultural mechanism centre to provide
an industrialized support for farming.”
He reiterated the resolve of his administration to support the CBN and the
Federal government’s initiative in ensuring that farmers get all needed
support required for a good yield that will lead to the inclusion of other
farmers into the program in the nearest future.
“This conglomeration of agricultural value chain is coming in handy at a
time when we have a government that is sensitive and focusing on
agriculture, I believe that if we do this rice project successfully, the
rubber plantation will come in, the cocoa, groundnut, banana and cotton
will all come in and we have a new horizon for business men,” the governor
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