Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State says his administration has secured a private sector investment of $15 million for the Ayip Eku Oil Palm Estate in Akamkpa Local Government Area of the state.
Mr Otu said this when he spoke in Calabar at a media briefing on Friday to mark his 100 days in office.
He said his administration plans to leverage the state’s comparative advantage in agriculture to provide the needed employment opportunities and also to guarantee food security.
The governor said that in addition to the oil palm investment, the government had also developed a six-year N30 billion agriculture guarantee fund for rice, maize, fisheries and livestock farmers.
He said that 100 hectares of cassava would be cultivated within the next year while the government had commenced planting 3.5 million hybrid oil palm seedlings in 13 locations across the state.
“In order to ascertain with precision, the soil texture for specific crops in the different zones of the state, the government has commenced the state-wide digital soil fertility mapping.
“This is to ensure that all we are doing will translate to greater yields of different crops.”
Continuing, the governor said, “In agric-related human capital development, the state has sponsored its indigenes to participate in a cassava-bio value chain conference in Asaba-Delta for the subsequent establishment of a cassava-biofuel factory in the state, as well as a workshop on sustainable oil palm economy,” he said.
“Similarly, 50 starter-rice growers have been given free rice seedlings, fertiliser and pesticides, while 30 starter-livestock farmers have been assisted with day-old chicks and feeds.
“The objective is to leverage the multiplier effect of agriculture on employment and growth of the state’s Gross Domestic Product,” he said.
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