- As Ayade inaugurates rice borrowers anchor programme
Bassey Inyang in Calabar
The Cross River State Governor,Professor Ben Ayade, says he is exploring avenues to increase rice production in the state, To this end, he has set up a food bank just as he commended President Muhammadu Buhari for seeking to diversify the nation’s economy by making agriculture its main stay.
Speaking during the flag-off of the Rice Borrowers Anchor Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), he also lauded the efforts of the governor of the apex bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele, in this regard.
Ayade said the introduction of the programme marks the beginning of the nation’s march to food sufficiency.
“We must seize this opportunity to thank President Buhari for introducing this programme. We must thank him because if you follow the roadmap, plan and vision for this initiative, you will definitely know that this is the beginning of the emancipation of Nigerians from their continuous dependence on imported rice,” he said.
In lauding Emefiele for the gesture, Ayade said: “The rice value chain initiative remains a special ceremony that will increase rice production in Africa because Nigeria is the epicentre of Africa.”
Apparently worried by the huge amount spent annually to import rice into the country, the governor said: “This is what President Buhari wants to stop because it has the nationalistic outlook to put an end to the declining rate of the naira to the dollar. When we stop importing rice, we will be adding value to our naira.
“It is key that you appreciate at this point the CBN governor and in particular, President Buhari, for it is a concept that we must support.”
Ayade continued: “The vision of trying to be self-sufficient in rice production is critical but in Cross River State, we will add our own dimension to it. The government of Cross River is going to set up a proper professional food bank, the very first in Nigeria.”