One of the greatest challenges to the growth of Agriculture in general and rice production in particular in Nigeria is its lack of appeal to the younger generation, who incidentally make up a larger percentage of its population. This is due to the old methods of farming employed in most parts of the nation. Another reason is low yield caused by poor quality of seeds.
The Ayade Rice Revolution is set to change these as the young visionary Governor of Cross River State, brings innovation into Agriculture with particular focus on the rice value chain.
The Governor has been able to achieve this through the establishment of a Rice Seed and Seedling Factory for production of quality seeds seedlings to complement commercial rice production, machines for mechanized farming and modern vitaminized rice mill in the State.
The Rice Seed and Seedling Multiplication Centre, with a research center, is not only producing high quality seeds and seedlings of stress tolerant and disease resistant rice varieties for cultivation in Cross River State, and the rest of Nigeria, but also deploying latest technology in multiplication of seeds and seedlings which are rich in nutrients, and have improved yield.
The seedlings nursery covers a total land space of more than twenty football fields and has automated tray conveyor and irrigation system that ensures the seedlings germinate effectively. The seedlings are raised on perforated trays and this area can hold more than thirty thousand trays at a time. This can cover more than fifteen hectares of rice farm when transplanted.
The Commercial Rice Production Mechanization initiative has seen the State acquire machines such as tractors, trans-planters and combined harvesters as well as modern drones for application of insecticides and herbicides. These machines are expected to take rice production from subsistence to commercial levels in the State.
The modern vitaminized rice mill is the last in the chain of innovative production and processing line and serves as the receiver of all the off-taken rice paddy produced in the State for quality processing.
The mill which has a production capacity of more than 200 metric tonnes of rice per day is located in one of the largest rice producing Local Government Areas in the State, Ogoja.
All these investments by the Digital Governor of the State have made rice farming attractive to the new generation of farmers and has the potential of deploying this huge population into productive engagement in modern commercial mechanized rice farming with high yielding rice seedlings.
This is the background upon which the CrossRice Project was birthed. The CrossRice Project is a primary rice production, processing, branding and marketing project. It is set to mobilize a new generation of farmers while also accommodating existing rice farmers to elevate rice production.
CrossRice is a project of the Cross River State Rice Company Management Board ably led by a team of competent self driven leaders. The team is committed to support the Ayade Rice Revolution by executing the vision of His Excellency, Sen. Ben Ayade to make Cross River State the leading State in rice production, processing and marketing in Nigeria.
The CrossRice project deserves the support of all stakeholders in the rice value chain to ensure its success even as it has the potential to transform the rice sector in Nigeria. It is expected that this project will not only bring food security but also prosperity to the people.
Mr. Chris Ogaidang is the immediate past Chairman, Cross River State Rice Company Management Board and writes from Calabar.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Chris Ogaidang, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
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