Cross River State Government has concluded plans to host the Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari who will visit the state within the first quarter of the year to commission a rice project to be called Ayade premium quality rice cultivated by the governor of the state. Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River State disclosed this at the unveiling of the quality premium rice in Calabar.
The Governor urged Cross riverians particularly those in government to be involved in the cultivation of rice crop so as to key into the federal government effort to ensure that there was food security in the country. The Governor who also charged top civil servants,political appointees to get involved in the cultivation of agricultural produce saying that that was the only way to augument what the civil servants earn as wage.
The reality is that what we earn cannot sustain us as a people saying that he cannot understand why Nigeria as a nation spend about N400bn annually on the importation of rice when the country is so endowed with human and land resource adding that situation leads to capital flight.
The Governor stated urged Nigerians and Africans at large to aggressively go into crop production to bring about food security. He said, “Africans must learn how to trust themselves on what they even produce. How can a country which has a population of about one hundred and seventy people have only one percent of its population as farmers producing food in penury”. I am looking at aggregate concept where we can begin to look at what we will be exporting when once our deep see project kick-off.
Ayade who went further to give reasons on why the rice was named after him said, “I didn’t want the rice to be name after me, but you see it was those working with me who insisted that the rice be name after me.” “I am not really targeting money but will do everything to ensure that I recoup the loan I got from the central bank of Nigeria to do the rice project. “Please crossriverians do me a favor and to cook only Ayade rice in your houses.” The Governor appealed.
The governor stated that it was on the basis of his encouragement for local content produce that he took side with the officers and men of the Nigerian customs who seized foreign rice possessed by some politicians in the state who had purchased foreign rice to take to their constituencies but were intercepted by men of the customs services adding that when the politicians called on him to prevail on the customs to release the bags of rice to them and he bluntly refused. The governor said,you could have bought any brand of Nigeria rice if not from Cross River You c ould have bought rice from Ebonyi state which was also a local rice produced in Nigeria instead of purchasing rice produced out of the country.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Special Assistant on Rice project in the State,Mr. Godwin Akwaji state with the unveiling of the rice, the governor has proof to the people that he is a person is always out to fulfil whatever promises made. Akwaji a former banker turned politician stated that in the next two to three years Cross River State will become a major producer of rice which will not only feed residents of the state but will be produce in a quantity that can be exported to attract foreign exchange.
Akwaji said that the Ayade rice was an organic rice because it has a quality which can compete favorably in the international market adding that with the ultra modern rice processing machine set up by the governor Cross River would soon become the food basket of the nation and urged all stakeholders to put their hands on deck in the fight against hunger and poverty led by the governor.
“I charged all Crossriverians in the fight against hunger and support the governor who is out to make hunger be a thing of the past”. Akwaji said. Also speaking the state deputy Governor professor Ivar Esu eulogized Ayade’s stride saying that he he is shocked that Ayade is one make who wants to do every thing and he is accomplishing every thing that he had wanted to accomplished. Esu stated,”He said it in the exco meeting that every body in the exco should go into rice cultivation and today he has led by example.”