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July 20, 2024

C’River Govt to Prepare 12,000 Hectares of Land for Mechanised Farming

In a bid to boost agriculture in the state, the government of Cross River, has taken a major step by signing a partnership agreement with Nigeria Agriculture Mechanisation and Equipment Leasing Company for the preparation of 12,000 hectares of land for mechanised farming. 

The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Irrigation, Johnson Ebokpo while signing the agreement papers, recently said the project would take the state agricultural production ten steps ahead of its present position. 

He said a total of 12,000 hectares of land would be prepared for farmers across the state beginning with the 2,000 hectares at Odot, in Odukpani Local Government Area of the state which would be flagged off on May 28.

His words: “The last time a scheme of this magnitude took place in the state was in 1966 when Dr Michael Okpara introduced large scale cultivation of crops like palm trees, rubber and cocoa in parts of the state. This land preparation which is the first will prepare and break 2,000 hectares of land into parcels for farmers to plant crops.”

Ebokpo listed the crops for cultivation, which included maize, cassava, rice, cowpea and cattle fodder which he said can be produced in large scale in the state.

“2000 hectares of land can yield ten thousand tonnes of maize which can load 2,500 trucks and keep the production lines of any flour or brewing industry active for three months and the maize variety we have in stock can be harvested in ninety days.”

He revealed that the target for the large scale production of crops is for market supply which can yield high income for the farmers and create employment for the teeming youths.

“This is a major step away from subsistence farming to real big time agriculture which is more beneficial to the farmer as irrigation and soft loans would be provided for them which is why we brought major finance houses to be part of the scheme.”

He commended the state governor, Senator Bassey Otu for backing the bold initiative which has been on the drawing board since 2016.

Also speaking, Dr. Ahmed Adekunle the Managing Director of NAMEL said the project would transform the landscape of Odukpani and generate revenue for the farmers and bring development to the state.

“Land is the major barrier to agricultural development but with the preparation and sharing of 2, 000 hectares of land to the farmers, which makes production cheaper, high yields would be achieved and targets met”.

He also commended the governor whom he said had engaged NAMEL for the actualisation of the scheme even before his election.

The Odot community led by Etiyin Francis Asuquo assured the Commissioner and the NAMEL team of its maximum cooperation to facilitate the success of the project.

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