By Akanimo Sampson
From (R) Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade, Business Development Director, Thai African Corporation Limited, Mrs. Pantipa Dhanagom and the Regional Program Coordinator & Acting Manager, Agriculture Secretariat, Asian Development Bank, Dr. Thamana Lekpricliaul, during a session with the press at the Goodluck Ebele Johnathan bypass, site for the proposed Calabar Rice City
Gov. Ayade with rice investors
IN a matter of weeks, Cross River State in Southern Nigeria, will be a major rice destination in Nigeria, for traders with eyes on quality rice. This will be so because a Memorandum of Understanding between the state government and Thai- African Corporation Limited has been sealed.
Investors from the company have since arrived Calabar , the state capital, for the construction of the much awaited Rice City. Its construction site is along Goodluck Jonathan Bypass, Calabar.
The Business Development Director of the company, Ms Pantipa Dhanagom,says she and her team, armed with adequate technical expertise, were ready to start the full implementation.
”We are ready for the implementation of the seedling and training center with two or three technologies to be integrated, so it will be a new concept of rice farming, not the old style”, she said, maintaining that the production technology which is competitive will reduce the cost of production as it is safe, sustainable, friendly to the climate, adding that it will produce good quality specie of rice.
Thje obviously excited Gvernor Ben Ayade, who received the investors said the project will focus on the use of innovative tools to grow specialized seedlings. ”The Rice City will produce more disease and pest resistant species while increasing yield per hectare”, the governor said.
Continuing, he said, ”with the improved technology which comes by way of almost full automation, it will help produce seedlings that germinate in 18 days, matured, properly prepared and ready for application directly to the farm.”
Ayade who said that three core investors will be procuring from the Rice City in Calabar, said it is also expected to get patronage from sub-Saharan African countries since it will be the first and only such center on the continent.
Giving a hint on the technology that would be deployed at the center, he said: “There will be less manual application and it is an avenue to avoid the old ways where farmers farm in vain while middle men take all the profit.
“With the technology and innovation that is coming, we are definitely going to take up about 50 percent of the market share of rice”, he said.