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AGRICULTURE ... C'River To Cultivate 62,000 Hectares of Land For rice, Others

Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River has disclosed that  about 62,000 of land are being prepared for the cultivation of rice and other crops across the 18 local government areas of the State.

Otu, who made the disclosure at a media dinner for journalists in the state on Thursday to mark the one year anniversary in Calabar, said the contract has been awarded for the procurement of 108 units of 3-wheel mini tractors for use by the small holder farmers across the state.

While noting the plan to continue to encourage these small holder farmers that had been sustaining food security in the state, he, however, stressed the need to transit to mass production through mechanised agriculture.

As part of the plan, he said, re-mapping and re-classification of state-owned land in the Southern Senatorial district for Commercial Agriculture Utilization have been carried out.

According to him, "12,000 hectares state-wide agricultural land clearing  have been inaugurated while 50,000 audacious rice revolution initiative have also been inaugurated at Ndok, Ogoja local government area of the state.

"The project is financed by a credit guarantee scheme whereby the state government will plough in N150m monthly with direct engagement of farmers groups.

"At the minimum, the expected annual yield for the 50,000 hectares is about 300,000 tons of rice at 6 tons per hectare.

"This is food crops revolution and the same initiative will be extended to cash crops like cocoa and oil palm.

"The state government has accordingly inaugurated a committee for the Value Chain Policy and Strategy Development on cocoa, oil palm and coffee.

"We have also distributed solar-powered mini irrigation pumps, mini rice milling machines, grinding machines, livestock feed etc to farmers across the state to enhance the value addition of their farm products," he stated.

Otu said rhe government will in the next few months, unveil other support packages direct to farmers in order to speed up food production across the State.

According to him, This is just a part of what Cross River State Green Economy is all about,"

"The intentional pursuit of agriculture as the mainstay of Cross River State economy arises from its sustainability.

"Besides, the comparative advantage the State has over other States of the Nation in terms of arable land and climate makes agriculture the best foot forward in combating hunger and ensuring food security."

Ndifreke Bassey, The Beagle News