By Our Correspondent
The management team of Thai-African Corporation Limited, a leading rice producer in Thailand arrived Calabar, Cross River State Capital for the commencement of the development of a Rice City.
The project is estimated to cost over $4 million. Cited along the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Bypass, construction of the Rice City Is expected to take at least six months.
The Managing Director of Thai-Africa Corporation, Mrs. Pantipa Dhanagom, who was conducted round the project site affirmed that the scheme will be a rice seedling center with the best rice seeds to be grown in the area.
“It will become a training center and a one-stop service which will also cater for out-growers in Nigeria and other African countries,” Dhanagom said.
On the choice of the project site, the MD said: “The land is suitable and it is also the best location because it is right on the highway and similar to the one His Excellency (Governor Ben Ayade) inspected in Thailand.”
Commenting on the development, Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade said the initiative was to complement Federal government’s efforts on agriculture.
“Cross River State wants to take the lead because it has excess land suitable for rice and we want to make sure that we bring in technology that will assist our people in making rice more productive. It is going to be a special kind of vitaminized rice that will help children grow faster with good retentive memory.”
Ayade who lauded Thailand for the choice of Cross River as a location for the Rice City, said: “It is a warm embrace between Thailand and Africa, as we are going to train our people on how to use the machines. It is going to be a place where all seedlings in Africa will be coming out from.”
The governor further revealed that the project will not act as a rice seedling center alone, but a training school with a refectory and accommodation for young people who want to be specialists in rice production, as well as certification for skilled personnel.
Disclosing that the Rice City will be extended to Bansara in the Northern Senatorial District of the state, Obubra and Itigidi in the central as well as Nassarawa community in Calabar, Ayade said “as a government policy, every government official must own a rice farm.”
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