The Cross River Government is replicating the 1876 agro-industrial revolution in Europe with a view to achieving self-sustenance in the state.
Fielding questions from newsmen after a tour of the Cross River Rice Seeds and Seedlings Factory in Calabar at the weekend, Ayade stated: “ The agro-industrial revolution which started in 1876 in Britain is about to start in Nigeria and Cross River State is leading Africa towards our own self-sustenance in terms of the entire agricultural value chain.
“If I do not clear new lands and start massive creation of job opportunities for young men and women through the instrumentality of industrial agriculture, then I will have those factories, and I will be looking for raw materials. So, I have to partner with world’s number one company known for agricultural equipment, John Deere of the United States.”
He maintained that the state was committed to modernising farming, noting that such move was one of the quick wins to attract people into agriculture.
The governor continued: “We have taken delivery of four major equipment out of the total order of 32. Cross River State is introducing a new thinking consistent with first world practice that farmers do not have responsibility for agricultural infrastructure.
“Agricultural infrastructure is the responsibility of government and farmers are only to tend their farms while the responsibility of infrastructure and utility becomes that of government.
“If you have to sweat in Cross River, you do not sweat because you are tilling the soil, you sweat because of pleasure, as machines will be doing your job.”
To aid these pioneering efforts at large-scale agro-industrialisation, Ayade disclosed that the state government had taken delivery of state-of-the art machines from the American firm.
“In industrial revolution, it must be agro-industrial because it is the only system that guarantees massive recruitment of people, production and ultimate beneficiaries of raw materials which mean you take raw materials like cocoa and process it until you get chocolate,” he added.
The governor expressed his desire to get the youths gainfully employed through agro-industrialisation, noting that 90 per cent of the industries he had established in the state were agro-based.