Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar
Cross River State governor, Professor Ben Ayade has urged Cross River state youths to maximize the opportunities made available for them by the state government through agro industrialization platform. He said the state government has invested so much in the area of agriculture with the aim of creating employment opportunities and ensuring that Cross Riverians become self-reliant.
He said this while flagging off a one day agro industrialization summit on promoting agricultural economic development to boost food sufficiency and curb youth restiveness which was organized by the Special Assistant to the governor on agric extension services.
Ayade who was represented by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu added that the state government has been careful in focusing so much on agriculture so as to provide sufficient food for her citizens. He called on everyone to key in to that as there are enormous opportunities there. He said: “The government of Professor Ben Ayade is a government that prides itself in promoting industrialization. But if you look very carefully, you will find out that most of the industries are agro-based and most of our programmes now in the state that are being hosted by the ministry of agriculture, the World Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria are centered mainly on food value chain and agricultural value chain.
“Cocoa, rice, poultry, cassava, maize, even groundnut in the north; these are the major value chain and when you look at it for each of these value chains, there is an industry. We have the rice seed and seedling factory which is producing seedlings that can easily be transported and save farmers the drudgery of having to prepare the land and plant the seed and then nurture them to seedling before transplanting them. Now we have the factory that can produce seedlings and we have machines that can plant a seedling.
“Now we have a giant cocoa processing factory at Ikom which is 95 percent completed but, our real problem is how to feed that factory with raw materials because it will require much cocoa for the production for it to maintain its capacity. It is for you to key in and have your own farms. So I want you to use this medium that this young lady has introduced to key in. we want to see as many billionaires as possible. So the opportunity is here and I want you to seize this opportunity and grab it”.
The governor further showered encomiums to the convener of the summit for her initiative and courage to embark on the project despite that she is just a Special Assistant. He noted that she never applied for any fund from the government but was able to mobilize resources by herself to carry out the project.
In her remarks, convener of the summit, Precious Jabe Besong was pleased to have the presence of the governor at the summit. She said the summit is organized to ensure that the youths are fully engaged in agriculture as there are unlimited opportunities in the sector.