By Akpan Etukudo Asare
To consolidate on his agricultural investments and to actualise his promise of flooding Nigerian markets with locally produced rice, Gov Ben Ayade of Cross River State has imported heavy duty automated rice seedlings equipment.
The 27 containers of the automated equipment have arrived the Ayade industrial park in Calabar, and will be ready for installation soon.
Receiving the equipment, project manager of the park, Patrick O’brian disclosed that already, contractors from Taiwan are on their way to Calabar for full installation of the machines.
The equipment included the transplanting and harvesting machines, sorter of various types, rice hullers, graders, cleaners and destoners, packing scales, among others.
O’brian said during the installation, there is going to be a huge training process for the local engineers and skilled labours, adding that there is also going to be opportunities for everyone seeking to work in the industrial city.
According to him, “very soon, Cross River State government will be supplying the whole country the new automated and vitaminised rice seedlings,” explaining that the “citizens need not to go outside the state to buy rice for their local consumption as the Rice Mill in Ogoja will produce more than what they need.
Continuing, he revealed: “We have received 27 containers of various equipment. We will require a minimum of one month of training of personnel for all this equipment. So there will be opportunities here for everybody.
“Very soon, the mill in Ogoja will be supplying Cross River and other neighbouring states with made in Cross River rice. We don’t have to go anywhere for rice any more. From the concept we have on ground, our people will be working, earning and feeding themselves, so we will be self sufficient. The concept is the first of its kind in Nigeria.
“This factory will produce the seedlings and they will be taken to farms for direct planting.”