Cross River State Rice City project will roll out its first batch of seedling between December this year and January next year.
The state governor, Professor Ben Ayade, made this known during his inspection of the project site along with a consortium from Thailand and Taiwan.
According to him, the factory would produce fresh seeds that were vitaminized and prepared to grow as soon as they were done
His words: “Recently, our farmers complained that most of their seeds could not germinate and we tried to carry out a research to know why the seeds could not kick off.
“Now we have come to a point where we understand clearly that some of their seeds have been under cool storage for too long, lost their capacity to germinate. So, what we have to do is to build the first ever seeds and seedlings factory in Africa, in partnership with a consortium from Thailand and Taiwan, working with the Irish design and construction team.”
The governor added that “in the next CBN Anchor Borrowers programme in the rice value chain, Cross River State will be a major input of seed supplier as our seeds will be young and refreshed because the younger the seeds, the higher the chances of germination.”
He stated too that the rice mill in Ogoja at the Northern Senatorial District of the state had a vitaminization plant that would introduce vitamins into the rice so that when kids eat, they would grow taller, healthier and knowledgeable.
“You will see a new technique of rice planting, you will no longer see anybody hold a hoe, all you will see is technology-driven…
“Even in the farm, you will sit on a tractor and drive in a swamp, there is a tractorisation and mechanization unit that will support farmers so that they don’t toil anymore but from their pockets.”
The governor said the location of the factory close to the airport was to make it accessible for customers.
The governor added that provision had been made for its expansion through a huge landmass.
He said there was also a training school for rice value chain where people from the neighbouring countries would be trained on rice manufacturing, rice growth and engineering.
While appealing to the people of his state to embark on agricultural project, he commended President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting his state in the agricultural sector.
“We must go into agriculture with technology because there is no young graduate that is going to carry a hoe and a matchet to clear and do tilling any more,” he said.