Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele has applauded Governor Ben Ayade’s agricultural revolution programme, saying it has made Cross River State a force to be reckoned with.
Emefiele gave the recommendation during the flag off of the 2019 wet season rice farming programme in Calabar, Cross River State.
Speaking at the Ayade Industrial Park, venue of the flag off, the CBN governor who was represented by the Calabar Branch controller, Chuks Sokari, affirmed that “the resoluteness to agriculture by Governor Ayade has created hallmarks which the entire world recognises.”
According to Emefiele, “the seriousness demonstrated by the governor in the renewed zeal to project and promote agriculture has made Cross River a leading state in the comity of states in the nation.”
Responding, Governor Ayade, urged Cross Riverians to go into aggressive farming, insisting that the only way to industrialise the state was to do a balance between the green and white collar jobs which would lead to agro industrial revolution.
“The only way we can industrialise is by agro industrial revolution. I am pleading with everyone of you, if you don’t own a farm you are doing a disservice to all the industries I have set up. Let us prove to Nigeria that we are really the best, take agriculture seriously and prove that we are a shining example,” Ayade told Cross Riverians.
While praising the agricultural initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, for making available the sum of N10.8billion for the state, Ayade assured that Cross River remains ready to partner with the Federal Government in order to drive a digital rice planting system.
“Any man or woman with only one source of money as income has already prepared his or her roadmap to failure as you cannot blame your star or God. If everyone of us here owns a farm, Cross River will not need to depend on federal allocation and that is what I want to do before I leave office, to see the state not depending on federal government”, he added.
The governor, while charging the people to, as a matter of duty, embrace farming, quipped rhetorically: “Where am I going to get the maize, soya beans and other raw materials for the factories we have set up if we are all wearing tie and going to office?
“We have the soil, the land, fertility, capacity and financial support, so let us do a balance between the green collar and white collar jobs as nothing stops me in the morning to be in the office and in midday in my farm.”
Aware of the challenges in land preparation, the governor disclosed that he has addressed the need with the procurement of all necessary equipment, “so you don’t need to go to the farm to cut grass and to fell your trees as Ayade will do it for you.”
He further disclosed that “we are also expecting three mechanisation and tractorisation centres in each senatorial district of the state as we have gotten the approval of the House of Assembly.”
He enjoined the people of the state to take advantage of the state microfinance bank and its start up capital, as well as other financial institutions partnering the state on agriculture in a bid to make farming easier.
Earlier, President, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Aminu Goranyo, applauded Ayade for his rice production initiatives admitting that the governor stands out as the first state governor to train over 1000 farmers.
In his presentation on ‘sustaining agricultural business, the Cross River model,’ the chairman CSS Farms and trading centre, Keffi, John Kennedy Opara, pointed out that, “Ayade remains a blessing to many people as God has used him to make agriculture number one in the country.”
Opara who gave Ayade a pat on the back for being the first governor to sign an MoU for the training of farmers said, “the farmers trained here have seen the future, hence Cross River will be first agricultural state in this nation,” adding that, “the future we did not work for, we cannot capture, hence we must do the needful for a sustainable agricultural revolution.”