By Jonathan Ugbal
The Chairman of the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Bayelsa State, Mr. Ezekiel Ogbianko has said that the panacea to poverty and unemployment in the Niger Delta region lies in Governors emulating the strides made in the agro sector by their colleague in Cross River, Senator Ben Ayade.
Ogbianko made this known in a telephone interview with CrossRiverWatch where he also confirmed the receipt of rice seedlings from the seedlings multiplication center in Calabar.
“What the Cross River State Governor is doing is a very good development. He is chasing unemployment out of the State because rice is one of the biggest thing he is doing.
“If all the Governors in the south south can emulate what the governor of Calabar is doing, poverty will be a ‘bye bye’ for Niger Delta. If the other Governors are doing what he is doing, then what is known as poverty will be out of the Niger Delta,” Ogbianko said.
To prove the arrival of the seedlings, Ogbianko sent images of the seedlings being unwrapped as well as laid out in the field.
“The seedlings you see on the ground are the ones from Calabar. They were in the nursery and we are transplanting them,” he said.
When asked about the variety, he averred that there were several varieties being used in the Anchor Borrowers Scheme, adding that: “It is until we mill the rice that I will really know the variety they brought to us.”
The Cross River State Government had last week, announced the order of N3 billion worth of rice seedlings from its automated rice seedlings and seed manufacturing center by the Federal Government to support its anchor borrowers program.
Governor Ayade was pictured loading the rice seedlings which undergo a fertigation process (a Taiwanese technology that feeds seeds with the necessary nutrients in a nursery and prepare them for transportation; an age long challenge for rice production).
The plant was commissioned in 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari almost two years after Vice President Yemi Osimbajo performed the groundbreaking ceremony.
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