The immediate past governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke, has lauded the industrialisation strides of his successor, Governor Ben Ayade, describing the establishment of the Africa's first vitaminised rice mill in Ogoja as a phenomenal project.
Imoke, who accompanied Governor Ayade to inspect installation of equipment at the rice mill said the automated rice mill would create employment, increase rice production and make Cross River a hub for rice production in the country.
"This is a phenomenal project that speaks volume of the governor's vision, not just the vision but the timing of a project of this nature," the former governor was quoted to have said in a statement, adding that, "it makes economic sense, as it will create employment, increase rice production and make Cross River a hub for rice production in this country."
While acknowledging the, "intellectual money policy," of Ayade, the former governor said "the secret of such a gigantic project, especially when the state earns the least from the federal allocation, could only be a product of intellectual money," adding that, "I love the location and this can capture all the rice in the central and north, and ideally situated in terms of access to the market."
Continuing, Imoke said: "A lot of people feel that the Nigerian rice is not as qualitative as it ought to be, but with a mill like this, though I am not an expert but I believe that the quality of rice that will be processed here will beat local standard."
He further pointed out that: "To be able to achieve that, you need a processing park that has not just the capacity but the latest technology and what you see here is exactly that.
"It is a matter of months for this place to become a hub and you have to do the road and car park because of the volume of activity."
In his response, Ayade explained that, "this is the first vitaminised rice mill in Africa. It is the latest technology and an adoption of the most sophisticated technique, part of which is my own intellectual inputs and design."
Acknowledging the foreign expertise that went into setting up the factory, the governor said: "We have a team here from Germany who is working to make the plant run fully on solar, two megawatts of power and two megawatts of battery storage, so, day and night it will run without recourse to diesel."