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Cross River hands over land for rice cultivation to investor

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Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade

Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade

Partners Swedish firm to boost export earnings

In a bid to improve in Agriculture food production, Cross River State Government has provided 1000 hectares of land for rice cultivation in Bansara.

The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural resources, Prof. Anthony Eneji, stated this at the weekend in the groundbreaking and handing over of Bansara Rice Farm in Ogoja Local Council Area, to Paul B Nigeria Plc.

Meanwhile, the state government is to partner a Swedish firm- Greenland Resources, to cultivate 1.5 metric tones pulp mill in the state to boost the country’s export earnings by $1.2 billion yearly.

Eneji, who represented the State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade, at the ceremony, said the ministry is committed to partnering with investors.

He said the drive is to increase food production and to put an end to youth unemployment in the State.

The commissioner stressed that the governor “has promised that his government will continue to provide the enabling environment for all willing and capable investors, while they provide the funds and entrepreneurship to drive the investment for the benefits of the people”.

He praised the commitment of the investor for showing an unparalleled interest in the rice project at Bansara and its surrounding communities.

He assured that the rice project, when fully in place, would address youth restiveness and urban migration through anticipated massive employment components.

On his part, the Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development, John Inyang, assured the people of Bansara of his Ministry’s commitment to the success of the rice project.

In his remark, the Chairman of PAUL B Nigeria Plc, Paul Enidom, promised to work hand in hand with the community for the overall interest of their welfare.

Speaking on behalf of the community, Peter Ali, thanked the Governor for choosing Bansara communities for the rice project and promised the co-operation of the people towards the success of the project.

Ayade announced the plans when he received a team of Greenland resources, saying that the move is part of the state’s efforts aimed at changing its economic landscape and “we are ready to fast-track the documentation process to ensure that you get the facilities you are seeking.”

The Governor, who charged his commissioners to ensure necessary support for the speedy commencement of the project, gave the assurance that his administration will support its speedy execution, as the creation of more than 14,000 jobs would be a huge relief for government.

“We will do all we can as a government to support you. We are excited about your project. I know what comes out of this. 14,000 jobs is a huge relief for me as a government because it means 1.4 million people feeding from 14,000, given the African brotherhood and love for each other,” he said.

Leader of the team and President of the firm, Torbjorn Johansson, said they needed degraded land to establish the pulp mill and assured that the stablishment of the mill will not have any adverse effect on the state’s eco system.

He said: “The mill has no forest of interest for its establishment and deforestation of natural forest is out of question” but explained that the choice of Cross River for the mill which will create about 14,500 jobs was owing to its peace and security.

“After travelling round the world, his team found the state to be second to none in terms of peace and security. This country has a big population, great workforce and the security in Cross River is the best. We have been travelling round the world to find a place to site the firm and were very close to giving up, but the Sweden Embassy in Nigeria advised us to come to Calabar, so we are here and it is nice to see the investor-friendly Governor Ben Ayade.”


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