By Efa Sunday, Government House Correspondent
The Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele today jointly flagged off wet season rice farming and other Agricultural value chains in Calabar.
The official ceremony was carried out on the 32, 000 square kilometer site of the State’s rice farm at the Ayade Industrial park.
At the occasion, Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, represented by Branch Controller, Calabar, Mr. Chuks Sokari, commended Governor Ayade’s foresight to diversify the State’s economy by involving in mechanized rice and other agricultural products farming.
His word, “The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria is very interested in anything that has to do with Agriculture in this country. As you are aware, on the 3rd of June, 2019, the Governor was sworn-in for the second term of office, and we know the intrigues that went on before the swearing-in and before the confirmation, and what brought about the activities and commitment, the resoluteness of the Governor to Agriculture and other intervention has created the hallmarks for which the entire world recognise what our able governor had done.”
Speaking on CBN’s decision to boast foreign exchange, Sokari continued, “When the Governor came in 2014 and reeled out his policies which exempted forty-one items from the foreign exchange list for assessment, it wasn’t a particularly popular decision, but then he was resolute, committed and saw the greater picture, even before others could understand, and today it is a celebration of excellence when it comes to dismissing our import reduction related to such commodities as rice.”
Meanwhile, in a goodwill messages delivered by President of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Aminu Goranyo and Chairman of CSS Farms and Training Centre, Mr. John Kennedy, they thanked Mr. Ayade for creating massive employment opportunities for Nigerians, even as they appealed to all farmers to return loans taken, “so as to enable others have access.”
On his part, Project Manager Ben Ayade reiterated his intention of decoupling the State from Federal allocation through massive industrial revolution, charging everyone to own parcels of land for agricultural use.
He said, “We are sitting in Calachika which is going to be the biggest poultry slaughter house in Africa, doing six thousand birds per hour. Where am I going to get the maize, suya beans if we are all wearing tie and going to office? Where am I going to get the maize to support this factory? Already we have the soil, land, fertility, capacity and financial support for you. It doesn’t make any sense for me to set up this factory and go looking for raw materials.
“If I have to get my cotton from India and China to facilitate the Garment factory, it means I have failed in all these I am doing to decouple Cross River State from Federal allocation. The oy way we can be industrialized is by Agro-industrial revolution. I am pleading with everyone of you, if you don’t have a farm, you are being and doing a disservice to all the industries I have set up.
“Let’s prove to Nigeria that we are really the best. Let’s take this Agric and teach Nigeria a lesson so that Cross River State will be a shinning example. Let’s do a balance between the green collar job and the white collar job.” He said.
On President Buhari Agro funding, Mr. Ayade retorted, “let me appreciate this Agricultural funding that president Buhari has put in place, and also CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, for making available on the template, the sum of 10.8 billion naira for Cross River State of which three billion naira is a contract to supply Seedling to all Rice Farmers in the Southern part of Nigeria.”
He encouraged Cross Riverians and Nigerians at large to have multiple sources of income, adding that “any man or woman who has only one source of income, has already prepared his or her roadmap to failure.”
The event was graced with the presence of all past Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries, former Aides, Members of State House of Assembly, and a dance presentation on ‘One Nigeria’ by dancers from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.