(AGENDAWATCHDOG) – In its bid to exploit the state’s comparative advantage in agriculture, with a view to boosting employment opportunities for its citizens, the Cross Rivers State Government has entered into a promising partnership with CRO-PIT Nigeria Limited, a firm that is currently providing technical and agricultural extension services, alongside IT support system to farmers in 22 states of the federation, in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
While receiving the firm in Calabar, the state capital, over the weekend, Governor Ben Ayade, restated his administration’s commitment to the industrialization of the state, citing the establishment of at least one cottage industry in each local government area of the state as proof of its intent.
The governor stressed that the state’s rich agricultural potentials, if properly harnessed, could create employment opportunities for its citizens, adding that Cross River would explore areas of partnership with the firm with a view to activating an industrial revolution that would create jobs and develop the state.
In his words: “In Cross River State, we have nearly one industry per local government area. If you spoke with my Commissioner of Agriculture he will tell you that in Obubra we have a glucose syrup factory coming up to take full beneficiation of the cassava production.
“Today in Nigeria most companies that produce soft drinks use fructose basically as their major source of sugar. So maltose, fructose, glucose syrup will all be products of our cassava-based production.
“In my own local government, Obudu, we have set up a sesame seed processing plant to process sesame seed for export to Europe. So we are tying every local government to their area of priority and that is where your mapping capability comes in because we need to do a proper soil profiling of the entire state.
“We are hoping to grow ornamental flowers, scented flowers for the production of perfume concentrate for export to France and Holland. We are also going massively into potatoe production for the export of potato just like Rwanda does to France. Potatoes grown in the Obudu cattle ranch are organic in nature, very high in terms of nutritional value with very little additives. So it will be the choice potato in France.”
CRO-PIT Nigeria Limited currently manages over 600,000 farmers around the country, with its target set at five million. It seeks to partner with the Cross River State government in the area of storage, bagging and distribution of the rice produced at the Ogoja rice mill.
The state’s commitment to the development of its agricultural potentials is buttressed by the fact that about 70% of its policy thrust is centered on agriculture, which is further emphasized by the acquisition of over 25,000 hectares of land across the Senatorial Districts, which are being prepared for cultivation.
POTENTIAL IMPACT: The partnership between the Cross Rivers State Government and CR-PIT, when fully operational, will help increase its agricultural output, create jobs and stimulate an industrial revolution in the state.