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‘Why C/River is allocating 12,000 hectares to smallholder farmers’

The Cross River State government has decided to allocate 12,000 hectares of land in different parts of the state to smallholder farmers to cultivate rice,…

The Cross River State government has decided to allocate 12,000 hectares of land in different parts of the state to smallholder farmers to cultivate rice, cassava, maize, cow pea, cattle fodder, among other crops.

Commissioner for Agriculture and Irrigation Development, Hon. Johnson Ebokpo, explained that the land will be partitioned into smaller portions to the farmers for their specific crops for large scale cultivation.

He made this known when the state government sealed a partnership deal with the Nigeria Agricultural, Mechanization and Equipment Leasing Company (NAMEL) to develop 12,000 hectares of land across the state.

Ebokpo said the cultivation will begin with 2,000 hectares in Odukpani Local Government Area for the first phase of the project.

He affirmed that the state is gradually transiting from subsistence to commercial agriculture.

He highlighted the benefits of the project to include: transforming the landscape of the host communities, infrastructural development and revenue generation for the state and even the local government areas.

According to him, the agreement is a significant move towards commercial agriculture by the Bassey Edet Otu-led administration.

“This strategic move demonstrates government’s commitment to revolutionising the agricultural sector and repositioning it as a commercial hub for prospective investors.

“This partnership is the first step to increasing the state’s productivity level.

“This deal is one of the major milestones achieved within one year of his administration.

Chief Executive Officer of NAMEL, Dr Ahmed Adekunle, said they will help facilitate mechanized farming in the state.

Adekunle emphasized the need to venture into large scale farming, explaining that when farm lands are contiguous, it is easy to fund, deliver extension services, invest and achieve increased productivity.

He disclosed that in a few weeks, the company will open up 500 hectares with Cross River State “Project Grow” already on ground to deploy farmers.

He said mechanisation will help address the challenge of land preparation and also improve productivity, assuring the host Communities of adequate corporate social responsibilities.

HRH Justin Asuquo assured of the communities’ cooperation, noting that “we have envisaged the benefits of the project to our community.”

 

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