By Jonathan Ugbal
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has commended the contributions of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State to the success of the federal government’s effort at diversifying the country’s economy through agriculture.
President Buhari gave commendation in his broadcast speech to the country to mark its 57th independence anniversary where he commended 10 other governors for making similar contributions.
“With respect to the economy, the Government has remained pro-active in its diversification policy.
“The Federal Government’s agricultural Anchor Borrowers Programme, which I launched in November 2015, has been an outstanding success.
“These initiatives have been undertaken in close collaboration with the states.
“I wish to commend the efforts of the Governors of Kebbi, Lagos, Ebonyi and Jigawa States for their support to the rice and fertilizer revolutions.
“Equally commendable are contributions of the Governors of Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Cross River, Benue, Ogun, Kaduna and Plateau States for their support for the Presidential initiative for palm oil, rubber, cashew, cassava, potatoes and other crops.”
Mr. Buhari also said the agro sector has received a “divine intervention” due to the amount of rainfall recorded in 2016 and 2017.
The Cross River State Government is currently pursuing agro initiatives in Rice, Banana and Cocoa with several multi billion Naira projects earmarked by the administration of Mr. Ayade to ensure a full value chain for these crops.
However, as at press time, CrossRiverWatch could not verify if the state has launched any initiative on Rubber, Palm Oil, Cashew, Potatoes and other crops as mentioned by Mr. Buhari.
The Cassava program initiated by the administration of former Governor Liyel Imoke has grinded to a halt.
But, sources in the Ministry of Agriculture say the soil in parts of northern and central Cross River support Cashew, Potatoes, Rubber and Palm crops.
While the southern parts are more suited for Palm and Rubber with the population of the trees in the rubber plantation in the south seriously decimated due to logging activities and poor management.
The state’s palm oil plantation in Biased was leased out to an investor; Wilmar while the estate in Borum has been seriously affected by a political tussle over ownership with two aides in Mr. Ayade’s administration fingered.