By Our Correspondent
The Memorandum of Understanding between Cross River government and Thai- African Corporation Limited is now in full implementation phase, as investors from the company have arrived Calabar for the construction of the Rice City.
Speaking to newsmen at the construction site along Goodluck Jonathan Bypass, the Business Development Director of the company, Ms Pantipa Dhanagom, disclosed that she and her team, armed with adequate technical expertise, were ready to start the full implementation.
Her words: “We are ready for the implementation of the seedling and training center with two or three technologies to be integrated, so it will be a new concept of rice farming, not the old style.”
She maintained that the production technology which is competitive will reduce the cost of production as it is safe, sustainable, friendly to the climate, adding that it will produce good quality specie of rice.
Receiving the investors, Cross River State governor, Senator Ben Ayade said the project will focus on the use of innovative tools to grow specialized seedlings.
In his words, “the Rice City will produce more disease and pest resistant species while increasing yield per hectare.”
According to the governor, “With the improved technology which comes by way of almost full automation, it will help produce seedlings that germinate in 18 days, matured, properly prepared and ready for application directly to the farm.”
Ayade who hinted that three core investors will be procuring from the Rice City in Calabar, said it is also expected to get patronage from sub-Saharan African countries since it will be the first and only such center on the continent.
Giving a hint on the technology that would be deployed at the center, he said: “There will be less manual application and it is an avenue to avoid the old ways where farmers farm in vain while middle men take all the profit.
“With the technology and innovation that is coming, we are definitely going to take up about 50 percent of the market share of rice.”
On the coming of Sanyo, another company from China whose main role is to grow rice in the state, the governor said: “They are going to be customers to Thai- African, “stressing that “what delayed Thai- African was the need to get the 21st century technology as well as change certain specification as agreed before, with high performance efficiency.”
On possible employment opportunities, Ayade explained that when the project, designed as a luxury with African-like architecture, model to accommodate students on research and training on genetics of rice, while advancing knowledge on agronomy, finally takes off, the cluster which also houses garment factory and the pharmaceutical company, will provide between 5000 to 10000 jobs.
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