GOVERNOR OTU FLAGS OFF 12,000 HECTARES LAND DEVELOPMENT, ASSURES FULL AGRO-COMMERCIALISATION. 

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By. Ovat Lawrence.

Agriculture has historically played a sustainable role in Nigeria’s GDP and continues to support 95% of our livelihood. The Cross River State Government, under the leadership of His Excellency, Senator Prince Bassey Edet Otu, has initiated the development of 12,000 hectares of land for full-scale agricultural commercialisation.

 

The flag-off ceremony for the first phase, covering 2,000 hectares, was held at Efedem Community. This land was generously donated by the Ekpene, Ibiaobong Eki, Efedem, Otong Ediong, and Ekim Ebebit communities. During the event, Governor Otu emphasized the historical significance of agriculture and its enduring impact.

 

“For those who know me, my goal has always been to create prosperity and ensure everyone is happy. In this administration, we pledge to focus on food security, energy security, and the general safety of lives and properties,” the Governor stated.

 

Governor Otu highlighted that while agriculture was once the mainstay of the eastern region’s economy, reliance on oil caused a shift. “Today, we are implementing agricultural reforms unseen in the last 50 years, capable of lifting four thousand families out of poverty and unemployment,” he added.

The project, estimated to cost 6 billion naira, aims to create wealth, improve living standards, and alleviate poverty. Governor Otu assured the communities that the government is not confiscating land but empowering them through value chains that create economic opportunities, resulting in a win-win situation. He highlighted the administration’s top-notch agribusiness policies under ‘Project Grow.’

 

Her Excellency, Rev. Mrs. Eyoanwan Bassey Otu, the First Lady of Cross River State, advocated for the inclusion of women and youth in the project, emphasizing their crucial role in its success. She stated, “12,000 hectares of land benefiting 12,000 families will significantly improve living standards.” She also presented certificates to the host communities’ allottees.

 

Commissioner for Agriculture and Irrigation Development, Hon. Johnson Andiambey Ebokpo, noted that the project was the result of careful planning by Governor Otu. “We are witnessing the outcome of meticulous planning,” he emphasized. Ebokpo solicited public support, especially from the host communities, to achieve the administration’s people-centered policies.

The event attracted investors, industry leaders, smallholder farmers, top government officials, and dignitaries nationwide. Among them, Barr. Chris Agara, CEO of A.A Universal, praised the Governor’s initiative to combat poverty and promote prosperity through agriculture. “This is just the beginning. If we can feed Nigerians, we can feed the world with our natural resources,” he remarked.

 

Mr. Dennis Ikpali, State Coordinator of ‘Project Grow,’ and the CEO of NAMEL expressed their commitment to fulfilling their mandates. Representatives from Flour Mills of Nigeria, Agricultural Research Institute, Lake Chad Research Institute, USAID, Zenith Bank, Sterling Bank, Fidelity Bank, UBA, Stanbic IBTC Bank, and Nirsal Plc also conveyed their goodwill.

In his vote of thanks, Mr. Ekpe Bassey, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation Development, appreciated the Governor’s efforts to prioritize agriculture. He thanked agricultural researchers for their commitment to cultivating the developed land with the right seeds. The event culminated in the symbolic planting of maize by the Governor and key dignitaries.

Amawu Cletus Albert Amawu

I'm a Journalist, Host/Producer of The Verdict, your voice of conscience on FAD FM 93.1, Calabar, Public Affairs Commentator, Social Change Agent.

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