Gov. Bassey inaugurates 50,000-hectare rice farm in Cross River State

In a bid to boost agriculture, Cross River State Governor, Bassey Otu has inaugurated a 50,000-hectare rice farm at Ndok in Ogoja Local Government Area of the state.

The initiative is supported by a credit scheme in which the state government allocates N150 million monthly to agricultural development initiatives.

Otu, at the inauguration on Sunday stated that with the initiative, the state government was poised to revolutionise the agricultural sector in direct collaboration with farmers.

“We are engaging with farmers groups as part of our agricultural revolution focusing initially on short-term food crops like rice and cassava.

“We are also progressing towards the development of oil palm and rubber plantations.

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“We are committed to ensuring the provision of essential resources like credit-guarantee schemes to facilitate financial assistance for dedicated farmers,’’ he said.

The governor encouraged individuals to seize the opportunity to engage in agricultural production.

Earlier, Commissioner for Agriculture and Irrigation, Mr Johnson Ebokpo said government had acquired new tractors that would be distributed to local government areas to enhance agricultural mechanisation.

He said the tractors would be managed by farmers’ cooperatives.

Ebokpo added that the initiative aimed at empowering youths while supporting small-holder farmers in scaling up their operations.

Chairman of Rice Farmers Association in the state, Mr Emmanuel Anoh, projected a minimum yield of six tonnes of rice per hectare of land.

He said the six tonnes would translate to 140 bags of 50kg rice per hectare, stressing that the significant increase would transform food availability in Nigeria.

Anoh commended Cross River government for the initiative and expressed confidence about its positive outcome.

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