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Governor Otu Inaugurates Land Clearing, Plans to Invest N6 Billion in Food Security

By Grace Samuel

Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State has launched an ambitious land-clearing project aimed at developing 12,000 hectares for arable crop cultivation.

This initiative, part of a broader strategy to enhance food security and stimulate economic growth, involves a substantial investment of six billion naira in collaboration with the Nigerian Agricultural Mechanization and Equipment Leasing Company (NAMEL).

The crops targeted for cultivation include rice, maize, cassava, wheat, coffee, and cowpea. At the launch event held in Efeidem community, Odukpani Local Government Area, Governor Otu highlighted the central role of agriculture in his administration’s agenda, alongside priorities in health, education, and wealth creation.

“This project will lift over 4,000 people out of unemployment and create unprecedented wealth. Cross River will no longer be seen as a poor state,” Governor Otu declared.

“We are not here to take your land but to empower you to make money. This is a win-win for everyone involved in the value chain.”

Governor Otu underscored the ‘People First’ philosophy of his administration, emphasizing community well-being as essential for the state’s development.

He urged residents of Odukpani to engage earnestly with the agribusiness project and promised technical support to ensure high yields.

In addition, Governor Otu announced a comprehensive statewide soil investigation and mapping exercise, aimed at paving the way for economic prosperity through agriculture.

Honorable Johnson Ebokpo, Commissioner for Agriculture and Irrigation Development, commended the Governor’s vision and commitment to transformative initiatives.

Ebokpo remarked that the administration’s focus on land preparation would unlock Cross River’s agrarian potential, positioning the state as a national leader in food security and wealth creation.

This initiative forms part of Project Grow, a public-private partnership designed to empower 100,000 agribusiness MSMEs and smallholder farmers, with a particular focus on youth and women across the state’s 18 LGAs. Project Grow aims to enhance key agricultural value chains such as rice, maize, aquaculture, cassava, and animal fodder.

Dennis Ikpali, the coordinator of Project Grow, emphasized that the initiative is market-driven and intended to attract private sector investments in agriculture.

The event was marked by goodwill messages from financial institutions, agro-industry leaders, research institutions, and other stakeholders, all lauding Governor Otu for making agriculture a cornerstone of the state’s economic development.


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