Cross River State Government has taken a giant stride to build a massive rice project expected to fetch the state N70 billion annually.
The State Governor, Ben Ayade made this known at the inspection and test run of the project at Ayade Industrial Park, Calabar.
Ayade expressed hope that there will soon be a boom in the state’s economy with the Rice City project, stating that the project was the first of its kind and ultimately the largest in the African continent.
The governor said he was particularly happy that the state was on the path of economic independence even “After we lost our oil wells unjustly. We now have an investment that needs federal patronage.”
He emphasized on the need for the local market to grow by enjoining the government at different levels to support and patronize the Rice City, saying that the seedlings are natural and free from chemical extracts.
The governor said the idea for such a scheme was borne out of the need to make Cross River an independent state, free from over dependence on federal allocation.
“When I told Cross Riverians that my ambition was to restructure the state from over dependence on federal allocation, I truly meant it, because, with projects like this, we are going to generate more revenue for the state. We are partnering the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure that most of the seedlings are acquired from here,” Ayade said.
The governor hinted: “The rice seedlings that will be produced from the factory will be called ‘Cala 77’ because it is very natural and totally organic.”
He explained that the project was wholly local content with no foreign input, adding that the factory can effectively run 24 hours per day.