The Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade says the investment in development of Calabar Rice City will yield five thousand job opportunities in agriculture and related fields.
This is as the Thai-African Corporation Limited commences development of Calabar Rice City.
Professor Ayade was speaking shortly after inspecting ongoing construction of company’s project in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, Southern Nigeria.
According to the Governor, “when the project, designed as a luxury with African-like architecture, hostels to accommodate students on research and training on genetics of rice, finally takes off, the cluster, which also houses the garment factory and the pharmaceutical company, will provide between 5,000 to 10,000 jobs.”
The Governor said the project would focus on use of innovative tool to growing special seedlings.
Professor Ayade stated that, “the Rice City will produce more disease and pest resistance species, while increasing yield per hectare. With the improved technology, which comes by way of almost full automation, it will help produce seedlings that are already germinated in 18 days, matured, properly prepared and ready for use at farms.”
Professor Ayade hinted that three core investors would be procuring from the Rice City in Calabar and taking the specie to Bansara, Ogoja Local Government Area in the Northern Senatorial District, Abi Local Government Area and Obubra Local Government Area in the Central and Odukpani Local Government Area in the South.
He maintained that, “it does not stop anybody from Ghana and Ivory Coast to come and get from here because this will be the first.”
While expressing concern over the extent of capital flight due to importation of rice into the country, Ayade assured that, “with the technology and innovation that is coming and with the rapid production of seedlings we are doing, we are definitely going to take up about 50 percent of the market share of rice.”
He further disclosed that Sanyo, a company from China, would be responsible for growing rice, noting “they are going to be customers to Thai- African.”
The Business Development Director of Thai-African Corporation Limited, Ms Pantipa Dhanagom disclosed that the team of technical expertise was ready to start the full implementation.
“We are ready for the implementation of the seedling and training centre with two or three technologies to be integrated. So, it will be a new concept of rice farming, not the old style,” Ms Dhanagom said.
She added that the production technology which is competitive will reduce the cost of production as it is safe, sustainable and friendly to the climate.