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C’River partners with research institutes to drive agriculture

The Cross River State Government entered collaborative agreements with the Lake Chad Institute of Research and the Ahmadu Bello University Institute of Research to boost agricultural productivity in the state.

This partnership aims to provide improved seeds for various crops such as maize, wheat, and cowpeas.

Governor Bassey Otu, who witnessed the signing of the partnership done in his office, between the State Commissioner for Agriculture and the representatives of the two institutions, emphasised the importance of agriculture, stating that it is the state’s main focus.

The government is committed to subsidising all factors of production and has conducted soil mapping to optimise crop cultivation, he said.

Adding that government initiatives like Project GROW aim to provide farmers with access to finance, ensuring sustainable and profitable agricultural practices in the state.

Governor Otu highlighted measures taken in preparation for the launch of the different Agriculture value chains in the State.

“We try to focus on Agriculture in a way and manner that is sustainable and ensures that risk is reduced to the barest minimum. We have carried out and completed the soil mapping of our State to know the soil texture of each location and what crop will have a better yield in each soil type to ensure maximum yield in crop cultivation.

“In the state, we have created project GROW, one of the missing links has been access to finance for farmers and off-takers. We created a platform where we pay N150m every month. We are trying to make sure all the value chains have access to funds to own the farms and increase their production.

“Our focus on commercial agriculture is very clear, and we cannot be growing seeds or buying seeds. It is in line with this that we are collaborating with you. You are tested and proven with results in other climes.”

The governor assured them of the State’s support acknowledging the rich land and water resources available in the State.

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Speaking earlier, the Executive Director of Lake Chad Research Institute, Alhaji Baba Gana Kabir said the state is making history within the Southern region in Agriculture.

“Cross River is making history, what we are doing here today is unprecedented, we have collaborations in North East and North West. This is the first of its kind in the southern part of Nigeria.”

He said the Institute has been involved in research of several varieties of crops with proven records in the Northern parts of the country.

“One of our core mandates is the genetic improvement of several crops, some of these crops are maize, cowpea, sorghum, ground nut, cotton, sunflower and others. We are both involved in the genetic improvement of both food and medicinal crops.

“We have varieties that can do very well in almost all ecologies, for instance, 3 ecologies in Nigeria support wheat and one of them is the Obudu plateau. We also have over 50 varieties of maize and cowpeas.”

Considering the current economic reality in the country, Kabir emphasised the need to prioritise agriculture as the mainstay for the country’s economic recovery.

“If you look at the economy of the country, companies are collapsing, agriculture should be considered as the mainstay for the economic recovery of the country.”

This collaboration is expected to accelerate agriculture productivity, contribute to food security and drive economic growth in the State.

The commissioner for Agriculture and Irrigation, Johnson Ebekpo Jnr who signed on behalf of Cross River State assures that the state will fulfil her part in the partnership in other to derive greater benefits.

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