FG to declare Cross River as staple crops processing zone

Michael

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The Federal Government has said it would soon declare Cross River State as a staple crops processing zone (SCPZ).

Akinwumi Adesina, the minister of agriculture, said this in an interview with BusinessDay in Calabar.

The state has large expanse of land for targeted staple crops like maize, rice, oil palm, cocoa and cassava, covering a vast agrarian belt of more than 200km, and measuring far in excess of 500,000 hectares of land, from Calabar, the state capital, Calabarthrough Akamkpa, Biase, Obubra, Ikom, Etung, Boki, Ogoja, Bekwarra, Obudu and Yala.

According to the minister, the import of the SCPZ is that the ministries of water, works, transport and agriculture would build infrastructure that will enable the production and evacuation of produce from the state to the markets.

The minister spoke after having toured parts of 26,000 hectares of PZ-Wilmar oil palm plantations in Calaro, Ibiae, Kwa Falls and Eyop, from where the two multinational companies have formed an oil palm backward integration joint venture investment worth $650 million.

Adesina informed that the Federal Government through its ministry’s agricultural transformation agenda (ATA) supported Cross River’s commercial agriculture initiative with a new cassava flour processing plant, which was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC); recapitalisation of its old cocoa farms, with the distribution of improved seedlings of 3.5 million hybrid cocoa varieties; 940,000 seedlings of oil palm given to farmers free and rice which has taken the state’s production from about 3,000 metric tons in 2012 to 29,500 metric tons by Q3 2014.



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