Water Minister lauds Ayade on agro-industrialization in Cross River


 By Emmanuel Ayade

Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Hussein Adamu, has described the Cross River State governor, Senator Ben Ayade as a trailblazer following his agro-industrialization policy aimed at ensuring food security in the country.

Adamu, who paid a courtesy call on the Governor said, "even though you are in a different political party, you have keyed very well into President Buhari's policy of providing and enhancing our food security in the country. You are a trailblazer in that aspect."

While commending the governor for the establishment of the rice seedlings and seeds multiplication factory, the minister said there exists a lot of opportunity for us to cooperate with you through the River Basin. 

“I am aware that you have graciously approved for us to take over the Songhai farms and we hope to continue to see more of this cooperation because the Cross River Basin in the state cannot be an island of its own.

“They are supposed to be working and cooperating with the state and the farmers. So there must be strong cooperation between the Cross River Basin Development Authority and the state government because at the end of the day, it is about the people. So I hope that this cooperation will continue to be strengthened," he said.

The Minister was in the state to take stock of the damage to the Cross River Basin Development Authority, CRBDA, Calabar, during the recent endSARS protest which turned violent.

“I  also want to take the opportunity to launch the 2020/2021 dry cropping season,” he disclosed.

In his remarks, Governor Ayade thanked Adamu for the visit, adding that in spite of the ugly events of the recent past, there was still reason to be optimistic about the future. 

He called for a more robust relationship between the state and the Cross River Basin Development Authority.

According to him, “there must be a relationship, there must be a partnership between the basin development authority and the state government because the land is ours, the location is ours and you are here to serve us."

On water challenges faced by Cross River State farmers, the governor cited that "I have a rice farm in Obanliku and my greatest challenge is water. So if I sit here as a governor and I am having challenges of water in my farm, so who else can farm? Cross River is doing 3000 hectares of potatoe farm for export and 2000 hectares of flower for export up the Obudu Cattle Ranch, but our greatest challenge is water.

"The main raw material for rice is water. So we have got challenges of technology, which is the irrigation methods. The basic thing is that farmers need water and that is why you have a catchment structure, that is why we have the basin development authority to bring technical expertise, bring collaboration, hand to hold us through the difficulty to ensure that we have increased yield.

"I decided to breathe life into President Muhammadu Buhari’s non-oil policy thrust. I took agriculture as one of my key components, besides the industrial components. So we procured a lot of equipments from John Deere because land clearing is a major challenge, but beyond land clearing is water supply to the farms.

"So I ask myself; how much has the Federal Ministry of Water Resources put in Cross River State in relationship to the other parts of the country, in relationship to our commitment to the presidential thrust on agriculture as an alternative to oil? What kind of support can I say we have gotten from the federal government for consistently breathing life into President Buhari's statement?

"How can we benefit from the existence and presence of the Cross River Basin Development authority? You need to address that because Cross River gives you a great opportunity to demonstrate your capacity and efficiency to deliver."

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