By John Adie, Calabar
Cross River state governor, Sir Ben Ayade has explained that a new vista in agricultural value chain is unfolding in the state with his government’s emphasis in Agro- Industrialisation.
He made the explanation while fielding questions from newsmen after a tour of the Cross River Seeds and Seedlings Factory Calabar at the weekend.
The governor disclosed that his government has embarked on massive agro- industrial transformation never before seen in Nigeria.
According to him, to aid this pioneering efforts at large-scale mechanized agro-industrialisation, the state government has taken delivery of state of the art Agriculture machines from John Deere of the United States of America.
“Cross River has embarked on massive Agro- Industrialisation transformation which is the only way to go and it is the first level of Industrialization.
“In industrial revolution, it must be agro- industrial because it is the only system that guarantees massive recruitment of people, massive production and ultimate beneficiation of raw materials which means you take raw materials like cocoa and process it until you get chocolate”, the governor said.
Sir Ayade expressed his desire to get Cross River youths gainfully employed through Agro-industrialisation, saying 90 percent of the industries he has established in the state are agro- based.
“Obviously, there is no way that all the industries I have set up, 90 percent of them agro-based, will function without the appropriate industrial farms.
“For example, the Garment Factory will require cotton, the instant noodles factory which is rice based will require rice, the poultry farm requires maize and soya beans, the cocoa processing factory requires cocoa, the toothpick factory requires organic bamboo and the list goes on.”
The Cross River state number one citizen stressed that the state was on the verge of replicating the 1876 agro-industrial revolution in Europe targeted at achieving self sustainance.
“The agro-industrial revolution which started in 1876 in Britain is about to start in Nigeria and Cross River state is leading Africa towards our own self sustainance in terms of the entire agricultural value chain.
“If I dont clear new lands and start massive creation of job opportunities for young men and women through the instrumentality of Industrial agriculture, then I will have those factories and I will be looking for raw materials. So, I have to partner with world’s number one company company known for agricultural equipment, John Deere of US.”
The governor maintained that Cross River was irrevocably committed to modernizing farming saying the practise is one of the quick win ways to attract people into agriculture.
“We have taken delivery of four major equipment out of the total order of 32.Cross River state is introducing a new thinking consistent with first world practice that farmers don’t have responsibility for agricultural infrastructure.Agricultural infrastructure is the responsibility of government.Farmers are only to nurture and tender their farmers while the responsibility of infrastructure and utility become that of government.
“If you have to sweat in Cross River, you don’t sweat because you are tilling the soil, you sweat because of pleasure because machines will be doing your job.”
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