Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has said that the state is in need of large quantities of maize and soya beans to feed at least 24,000 chickens produced daily by poultries he has set up in the state.
Speaking during the 2019 Africa Industrialization Day (AID), organised by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Calabar, Ayade said he had launched a massive agro-revolution in the state through the establishment of an array of agro based factories.
“Today, Cross River State has factories that will be producing 24,000 frozen chicken per day. As such, we need a huge quantity of maize and soya beans for feed production and we need suppliers. More than this, we shall also cultivate large maize and soya beans farms, “ he said.
He said the need for both farm produce will create an agricultural value chain that will create more employment.
“We will cultivate new farmlands to support the cultivation of maize and soya beans and in the process create jobs and link people to farms and the industries,” he said.
He said his administration embarked on agro-industrial revolution through value-chain addition to agricultural processes.
“Today, we have the garment factory employing over 3,000 people with women constituting 85% of that workforce. We have a philosophy of going from farm to fabric. So our cotton farm in Yala Local Government Area in partnership with Arewa Textiles is helping to create the raw materials that we require in order to have our own knitting and our own fabrics that we can turn into garments.
“That is agro-industrial revolution. “We have the Cross River State noodles factory, which depends mostly on rice, because the use of wheat has been found to have high level of gluten. Today in Cross River State, we have a feed mill,’’ he said.
According to him, “agro-industrial revolution is now the first step to take. It is indeed, only agro-industrial revolution that allows you to industrialise, revolutionise your economy and yet carry the people along, because the essence of industrialisation is to create social harmony.
Today in Ogoja, we have the first vitaminised rice mill in Africa. Here in Calabar, we have the first seedling factory in Africa; we also have the cocoa processing plant that goes from cocoa bean to chocolate bar – the very first in Africa.”
Ayade urged African countries to undertake agro-industrial revolution if they must shake off the ugly tag of under-development and backwardness.