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Agric to get N150m monthly in C/River

Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State has created a credit scheme, where his administration will be doling out N150 million every month to bolster…

Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State has created a credit scheme, where his administration will be doling out N150 million every month to bolster agricultural development initiatives.

Otu said the scheme was independent from the government.

He said a credit-guarantee scheme had been established to facilitate financial assistance for dedicated farmers.

The governor announced this over the weekend when he inaugurated a 50,000-hectare rice farming initiative in Ndok community, Ogoja Local Government Area of the state.

He said the scheme was a direct collaboration with rice farmers, where they would cultivate the extensive 50,000 hectares.

Otu said the collaboration had extended to oil palm and rubber plantations.

He said: “We are engaging with groups of farmers as part of our agricultural revolution, focusing initially on short-term cash crops like rice, cocoa and cassava.

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

Acknowledging the critical importance of food and energy security, the governor also assured farmers of the state government’s full support.

“We are committed to working along with every farmer and ensuring the provision of essential resources.

“I extend this assurance to the traditional leaders. I emphasise our long-term commitment to this course,” he said.

He encouraged individuals to seize the opportunity to enhance productivity, emphasising the need for proactive engagement in agriculture.

He urged individuals to take action, rather than passively waiting for sustenance. He noted that there were abundant resources bestowed upon the state by divine providence, adding that there was the need for industrious efforts.

The Commissioner for Agriculture and Irrigation in the state, Mr Johnson Ebekpo Jnr, earlier in his remarks, detailed the state government’s strategic approach to agricultural development.

He emphasised the importance of clear policies to attract private sector investments, and outlined Cross River’s commitment to making agriculture the cornerstone of the economy.

Ebekpo said: “Significant investments have been made in acquiring new tractors to enhance mechanisation efforts. The tractors, being distributed across the local government areas in Cross River State, will be managed by cooperatives, comprising men and women.

“The initiative aims to empower the youth, while supporting smallholder farmers in scaling up their operations.”

The chairman of the Rice Farmers Association in Cross River, Emmanuel Anoh, projected a minimum rice yield of 6 tonnes per hectare, translating to 140 bags of 50kg rice per hectare, while stressing that the significant increase in production capacity was poised to transform the food industry in Nigeria.

Anoh expressed confidence in the positive outcomes that would benefit the populace from the initiatives.

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