The Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade has said that the state Rice City Project is expected to generate at least N70 billion yearly with full federal government patronage.
Ayade made the forecast during a test run of the project at the Ayade Industrial Park, Calabar on Friday.
According to him, the project will be certified ready for commercial activities in June and urged other states and the federal government to patronise the factory.
â€œWhen I told Crossriverians that my ambition was to restructure the state from over dependence on federal allocation, I truly meant it because with projects like this; we are going to generate more revenue for the state.
â€œBetween now and the next four weeks, this project will be ready for commercial production because the seedlings are natural with no chemical added.
â€œWe are partnering with the CBN through the Rice Anchor Borrowers Programme in ensuring that most of the seedlings are acquired from here.
â€œI am happy that Cross River is on the path of independence even after we lost our oil wells unjustifiably. We now have an investment that needs federal government patronage.
â€œIf we are to have the federal government patronage in full, we are looking at a yearly turnover of N70 to N100 billion.
â€œThe federal government should focus on the procurement of rice seedlings from Cross River. We should do between 40-60 per cent of the market sale because we will have no competitor,â€™â€™ he said.
Ayade explained that everything about the project was local with no foreign input, adding that the factory can produce for 24 hours per day.
He further said that the project was also going to accommodate over 500 workers, thereby urging Crossriverians to take full advantage of the project.
The governor said that the rice seedlings that would be produced from the factory would be called ‘Calas 77â€™ because it was very natural and totally organic.
â€œThis is the biggest rice seedling factory in Africa with a perfect automated irrigation method. Some state governors have indicated interest to place demands,â€™â€™ he said. (NAN)