Cross River targets 15,000 hectares moringa plantation
By Eyo Charles
Fifteen thousand hectares of moringa tree crop farms are to be established in Ogoja, Yala, Boki, Biase and Etung Local Government Areas of Cross River State.
The planting will take effect in the next nine months upon completion of necessary documentation and government protocols.
A ‘UK Global Company’ which interfaced with the state government last week is to establish the farms.
There’s a proposal by the company to additionally establish 7,500 barrels per day (BDP) Biodiesel refinery where they will rely on the Moringa tree crop farms for production.
The “seed cake” from the biodiesel will be used as an alternative fertiliser source for other farm crops according to the project’s development Consultant, Prof. Ebigwai Joseph.
He was accompanied by Mr Alsiddiq Ahmed Omer, the company’s Project director and funder to the meeting with Governor Bassey Otu.
He disclosed this to journalists at the end of the meeting in Calabar.
He explained that the five LGAs were selected due to the previous test samples carried out to ascertain that the soil can fully support the moringa tree cultivation.
“Funds for compensation processes shall be provided after the enumeration and valuation of the land,” he assured.
Governor Bassey Edet Otu commended the group and expressed his enthusiastic endorsement of the proposed initiative.
He assured them of political support to ensure the project’s success.
Otu instructed two commissioners, those for lands and justice, Dr Francis Ekpenyong and Ededem Ani respectively to avail the land space to the team, and to steer the legal processes required to allocate the required hectares of land.
He encouraged the team to commence the processes of obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals from the Federal Government.
“However, we shall not hesitate to revoke the land(s) if after nine months you are unable to meet the specified obligations in your proposal,” Otu warned them.
Commissioner for Agriculture and Irrigation Development, Johnson Ebokpo, expressed satisfaction with the team’s readiness and approach to the intended project.
Ebokpo called for immediate constitution of a technical team to drive the process in order to meet up with the set timeline being nine months to actualise the commencement and kick off period of the said project.
He was optimistic of the economic gaps the project will bridge when fully operational.