by crossriverwatch admin
The Cross River State government expects to create twenty thousand jobs from its oil palm estates located in Akamkpa, Ibiaye, Nsadop and Akpabuyo which have been handed over to Wilmer and Dansa Holdings before the exit of the Senator Liyel Imoke administration.
Commissioner for Agriculture Mr. James Aniyom who stated this while speaking at a media parley in Calabar on Monday said the new operators of the estates, apart from cultivating high yield palm trees in these estates, are to build oil mills to produce high quality palm oil for export and local consumption.
The Agriculture Commissioner added there are about one hundred and fourteen registered farmers in the state. To boost their capacity, he said, the state government in collaboration with the World Bank has so far handed $1.848 USD as grants to farmers in the Commercial Agriculture initiative.
The grant, he noted, is to enable the beneficiaries cultivate oil palm, rice and cocoa value chain.
“Cross River State ranks first in the production of oil palm and comes second in the production of cocoa in the country while rice is a cash crop for many families so to boost their ability, we have provided the farmers who cultivate these crops a World Bank grant to the tune of over 1. 8 billion dollars in our Commercial Agricultural scheme”, the Commissioner said.
He explained the ministry was also working on an agricultural scheme, Project AWAKE, which is gender sensitive with the bulk of the beneficiaries being women.
Since women constitute a significant percentage of those in agricultural sector in the state, “Project Awake will give grants to about four hundred women groups, comprising ten women each, which totals of four thousand to empower them to cultivate and market agricultural products so that the lot of the average family in the state is improved”.
Mr Aniyom added that a World Bank of eight hundred million naira is available for major processors of coca and rice in the state to enable value to be added to these products to enhance their market value.
“We have $2 million USD as grants to major processors of rice and cocoa in the state and incidentally majority of players in this sector in the state are Youngman who are only assisting buyers who come from outside the state so we want to identify those who can build plants that can process these two agric products.”
In addition to funding the establishment of new rice and cocoa processing plants, the Commissioner said the comatose Bansara Rice Mill in Ogoja would soon be revived by a private investor who has commenced negotiation with the State Government so that rice from Ogoja, Ukele and other parts of the state would be processed there.
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