With the pressure on federal allocation owing to the fall in global price and the focus on agriculture to rebuild the economy, Cross River Government has started regenerating its cocoa and oil palm estates as it looks to create over 20,000 jobs this year.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Anthony Eneji, said that beside cocoa and oil palm, the jobs would also come through rice and rubber production.
Eneji said in addition to regenerating the ailing cocoa and oil palm estates, the state has also procured 10,000 hectares of land for rice production.
“We are bringing in improved cocoa hybrid that matures between 18 months and two years.
“We are going to distribute them to our farmers and give them the technical knowhow to raise them.
“Already we are raising oil palm seedlings in large numbers to support the ageing oil palm plantations in the various palm estates across the state,’’ said the commissioner.
Eneji said that the state government would start massive rice production, and had commenced the process of securing 10,000 hectares of land for the project.
“We are also into rice production already, with a large partnership coming from China with equipment and finance.
“In all, we are looking at creating not less than 20,000 jobs this year alone when all these programmes fully come on stream.
“It will even be more than that because it is going to be a value chain, starting from production, processing and marketing,” he said.
Eneji said that the state government had the plan to allow the people to drive the economy, adding that this will create an alternative source of revenue for the state.
He said that the state government was already resuscitating the rubber plantations in the state with the view to making them more productive.
The commissioner said that the state had plans to produce not less than 500,000 metric tons of cocoa yearly and be the highest cocoa producing state in the country.