Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, has said seed money has been earmarked by his administration to encourage massive cultivation of cassava across the state.
Wike made the disclosure at the inauguration of the Rivers State Cassava Processing Plant at Afam town in Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state, yesterday.
The governor, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, said: “The other day, I went to see one of my friends. I went to his farm of over 56 hectares of land. He is trying to cultivate cassava and I was very impressed.
“And I told him that government will identify and verify those genuinely involved and are registered as cassava producers. Apply to us that you want to farm one hectare of land for only cassava.
“Government will give them seed money to continue farming cassava so that there will be no problem of cassava supply to this plant.”
He solicited more loan from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to consolidate on the visible gain that had been made already in boosting agriculture in the state.
Wike also commended Shell Petroleum and Development Company, SPDC, and the Dutch government for their courage to partner the state government to actualise the project, saying: “The government will make sure that we do not own more than 10 percent of equity shares. This will enable the company run profitably, make revenue, pay taxes and create employment.”
Inaugurating the facility, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, said: “On behalf of over 15,000 registered farmers in this state and others in neighbouring states, I thank you for this project. Rivers State Government has become pacesetter in this collective effort of making agriculture work in Nigeria.”
Also, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, said most manufacturing companies today that import either glucose, starch or any other cassava by-products would be happy to source their demands from this new plant.