Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade has reiterated his committment to disentangle the state from over dependence on oil-induced federal allocation by investing heavily on agriculture as alternative to oil. The governor spoke at the weekend when he led a team of South African farm experts on irrigation, agronomy, hydro and solar electricity to Ochong in Obubra Local Government Area of the state on a site inspection for the establishment of a feed mill and soya bean farm.
Decked in a brown combat short, camouflage polo and bowla hat to underscore the importance of the inspection, Ayade who also had the Ambassador for Food Security in Africa, Dr Brylyne Chitsunge, on his entourage, said his administration intends to establish a yellow maize farm which will be the biggest in Africa.
“We are putting a yellow maize farm alongside Soya bean farm for a feed mill. We made a choice of this land as an administration as we are setting up a poultry farm to increase the protein intake of Nigerians and to focus on agriculture as an alternative to oil,” the governor disclosed.
According to him, “this will deal with issues of food security considering the increasing population of Africa, for if we do not do something about agriculture and our protein intake, definitely, the younger generation coming will be in trouble.”
Chitsunge lauded the governor for taking agriculture to a higher pedestal, assuring that her office will support the state’s initiative while ensuring that “anything you do in Cross River will be replicated in the entire nation and indeed Africa.”
Dale Van Den of Aardway Chansbury Farm in South Africa, who was also on the inspection team, expressed joy at visit to Cross River and promised a robust partnership, saying “together we are going to strive for the best. We have the expertise, so as we go forward, we will do the soil analysis, investigate and check the climate as well as other possibilities involved for massive production in this land.”
Others, including an irrigation expert, Luan Marais of Senter 360, South Africa and Electrical Engineer , Koos Mostery, said: “The gesture by the governor will create jobs for the teeming unemployed youths.”
Head of Local Government Administration for Obubra, Chief Barry Alamo Inyang, lauded Ayade for the maize farm and feed mill.