The Programme Manager of the Cross River State Agricultural Development Project (CRADP), Mr. Etim Eden Bassey, says that the state currently produces 8 million metric tonnes of rice, in addition to 40 million metric tonnes of cassava per hectare.
Mr. Bassey said that the tripling of the state’s rice and cassava production is as a result of its partnership with a Japanese backed group, the Sasakawa African Association.
Speaking during a meeting with officials of Sasakawa Africa as part of the 2019 media field activity, Mr. Bassey said the partnership with Sasakawa has been of immense benefit to the state and its farmers as evidenced in the production quantity of cassava and rice.
“Through the partnership and the introduction of improved farming processes, the state now produces 8 million metric tonnes of rice per hectare, as well as 40 million metric tonnes of cassava per hectare,” Mr. Bassey said.
“From 2.7 metric tonnes of rice per hectare for instance, we now produce 8 million metric tonnes per hectare for rice as well as 34 mi!lion metric tonnes of cassava.
“Good agricultural practices are key, with the Sasakawa Africa Association having supported rural farmers within local communities, and our capacity has improved, including livestock production.
“Also, before now, we went to Ibadan to source for cassava cuttings but we now have enough for local cultivation and now supply adjourning states,” he stated.
He said the initiatives put in place by the Sasakawa group aligns with the vision of state Governor Ben Ayade to ensure food security in Cross River, even as he called for sustained support.
Speaking earlier, the Country Director of Sasakawa, Prof Sari Miko, said the essence of the media field day was to provide a platform where farmers can interface with the media to highlight the progress of the partnership.
Prof Sari, who spoke through the Head of Communications, Gambo Abdulhamid, said Cross River has recorded tremendous growth in rice and cassava production as a result of its value chain development project.
He said the media field day will enable primary stakeholders (farmers) to interface with the media so as to highlight the progress that has taken place over the years.
He said the state is hosting this year’s media field day in view of the success of the project in the state as well as the high level of acceptance of Sasakawa programmes.
He added that the project started in 1999 with a primary aim of improving the income of small-hold farmers across Nigeria, with Cross River being one of the twelve benefitting states working on the SPSC 2000 Programme.