Cross River State governor, Prof. Benedict Ayade yesterday disclosed that agriculture is the state’s top priority since the loss of her 76 oil wells to a neighboring state and that it occupies over 70% of the state policy trust.
The governor disclosed this during the Agribusiness Finance and Investment Summit organized by the USAID-funded global hunger and food security initiative, ‘Feed The Future’
The governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Okon Owuna lauded USAID for choosing Cross River State as one of its activity focal states and called on “Cross Riverians to support government’s agro policy in order to eradicate poverty from the state.”
Ayade noted emphatically that for Cross River to be adjudged the second cocoa-producing state in the country is a sign that agriculture business is striving in the state.
He urged all farmers in the state to arise and take advantage of the partnership opportunity with USAID at their doorstep, adding “the doors of ministry of agriculture in the state are wide open for all farmers.”
The USAID’s Activity Chief of Party and Managing Director, Dr. Adam P. Saffer in his remarks at the summit tagged “Agribusiness Finance and Investment Summit: Challenges, Opportunities and Solutions” said it will provide a platform for agribusiness stakeholders to present, discuss and prioritize the key challenges and opportunities for Cross River to realize its massive earning and employment potential in the agribusiness sector.
According to him the five-year programme of USAID has an investment fund of $15.7million for 7 focal states including Cross River State. Other states are Benue, Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi, Delta and Ebonyi.
The activity, Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment is implemented by “Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA).
He noted that key lessons learned and opportunities highlighted during the event will be turned into actionable item to achieve the shared goals of the activity in the state.
The feed the future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity aims to strengthen the enabling environment for agribusiness finance and investment with a focus on the following five key value chains: rice, cowpea, soy, maize, and aquaculture.
The USAID’s Activity Chief of Party and Managing Director maintained that the Agribusiness investment will address the constraints the hamper the overall agricultural business environment of Nigeria and improve the levels of agriculture-related investment.
Also speaking at the summit, the Chairman Debt Management Commission, Barr. Chris Agara, called for multiple linkages and collaboration for the dissemination of agricultural produce to eradicate hunger in the land.
He lauded the American People for helping Nigerians to think outside the box and expressed his intention to collaborate with USAID to ensure that all loans collected are paid back in due time.