The Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade has set up a food bank to increase rice production in the state just as he commended President Muhammadu Buhari for seeking to diversify the nation’s economy by making agriculture its main stay.
Speaking during the flag-off of the Rice Borrowers Anchor Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ayade also lauded the efforts of the governor of the apex bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele, in this regard.
Ayade said the introduction of the programme marks the beginning of the nation’s march to food sufficiency.
“We must seize this opportunity to thank President Buhari for introducing this programme. We must thank him because if you follow the roadmap, plan and vision for this initiative, you will definitely know that this is the beginning of the emancipation of Nigerians from their continuous dependence on imported rice,” he said.
In lauding Emefiele for the gesture, Ayade said: “The rice value chain initiative remains a special ceremony that will increase rice production in Africa because Nigeria is the epicentre of Africa.”
Apparently worried by the huge amount spent annually to import rice into the country, the governor said: “This is what President Buhari wants to stop because it has the nationalistic outlook to put an end to the declining rate of the naira to the dollar. When we stop importing rice, we will be adding value to our naira.