By Jonathan Ugbal
The Cross River State Government says the ultra modern rice mill project situated in Ogoja local government area will b completed before the end of the year.
The state’s commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Professor Anthony Eneji told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the project which includes a rice farm will serve as a production point for the Thai Africa Rice City located in the southern port city of Calabar, the state capital located about 300 kilometers away from the mill.
“We are looking at owning our own product; that is, we raise our own rice seedlings and produce our own rice.
“Already, we are setting up a rice mill project at Ogoja; work is currently ongoing there and very soon, it will be completed.
“We think we can develop our own special rice seedlings through the rice city so we can produce seeds for our needs and sell to other states,” Eneji said.
The Governor, Benedict Ayade had performed the groundbreaking for the rice mill in November 2016 during a tour of the central and northern senatorial districts of the state which ended with a retreat for all appointees of Government.
The mill is estimated to cost NGN3billion with the finances expected to be sourced from a Central Bank of Nigeria loan. A superviso at the site told CrossRiverWatch in February that 22 acres have been allocated for the project with clearing completed so far.
And, Mr. Eneji says its completion will make the state one of the largest producers of rice. He said a special laboratory included in the rice city project where research and development on rice will be carried out.
“Most of what is today known as Abakaliki Rice is produced in Cross River by our people, but because we do not have a functional rice mill; they take our paddy rice to Ebonyi State and call it Abakaliki Rice.
“All that will soon stop as soon as we complete the rice mill. The mill will accommodate farmers from the northern part of the state as well as some farmers from the Central Senatorial Zone,” he said.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo had last month performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the Thai Africa Rice City project during a two-day working visit to the state.
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