Calabar — As many as 160,000 rice farmers in Cross River State will enjoy substantial support and funding from the government in the next three years.
As part of the support, the farmers will receive farm inputs including fertilisers, equipment as well as clearing of forest, preparing the land, leveling the land, and providing the seedlings.
Governor Ben Ayade disclosed this when he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) for the supply of multi- billion Naira rice seeds to farmers in Nigeria.
Ayade reiterated his commitment to ending unemployment in the state through Agro-industrialisation policy of his administration.
The governor said his government intends to produce 1000 millionaires from rice production, adding that "Once Nigeria is able to feed Africa, hunger will reduce, and poverty will reduce."
To succeed in empowering local farmers, Ayade said they need the support of CBN, "We need the support of RIFAN and CBN. CBN has a major role to play in ensuring peace and stability in this country through food security.
"Agriculture is one of the major means to knock out unemployment. Today, we are signing a multi- billion Naira contract for the supply of rice seedlings to rice farmer."
RIFAN National President, Alhaji Aminu Muhammad Goronyo signed on behalf of the association. The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Okon Nyong Owuna signed for the state while CBN representative, Tony Ifechukwu signed on behalf of the apex bank.