President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated Africa’s first automated rice seed and seedling factory in Cross River.
The president did this on Tuesday during a visit to the state.
According to Ben Ayade, governor of the state, the factory will produce high yield, disease resistant and vitaminized seedlings with a potential of generating N50 billion.
Speaking at the event on Tuesday, Buhari commended the governor for keying into the federal government’s zero oil agenda.
“This is a way of making our country less dependent on oil while encouraging investments in other sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture,” he said.
“I am happy that Governor Ayade keyed into that policy and has today become one of the reference points in our agricultural revolution efforts. Our gathering here today is a testament to the fact that the policy is working.
Indeed, this factory speaks loudly about the giant strides we are making in agriculture. What we expect is that seedlings from this factory will improve rice production from three to four tons per hectare to about nine tons to ensure sufficiency in the country and doing away with import and save foreign exchange for Nigeria.
The factory is also targeted at creating employment opportunities for the unemployed. I have no doubt that it will be a source of income generation for Cross River state.
“I, therefore, enjoin relevant federal government agencies like the ministry of agriculture and the Central Bank of Nigeria through its Anchor Borrowers programme to partner with Cross River in the area of supply of seedlings to our farmers.”