Agriculture opportunities in Cross River State abound for investors interested in Agricultural production, Agro processing and marketing, export processing in an atmosphere of favorable economic policy.
- Profitable investment opportunity in plantation agriculture.
- Availability of 1.8million hectares of untapped agricultural land with rainfall from March to November.
- Obudu Ranch area and surrounding land can support a minimum of 20,000 herds of cattle. The area is also good for production of lettuce, Irish potatoes, apple and cabbage.
- Deep sea fishing for shrimps and fish along the coastal areas.
- Handlings and packaging of fruits and vegetables
Opportunities in Oil Palm Processing Plants/Refineries: Palm Oil is the most versatile amongst the commonly used vegetable oils.
Cocoa processing plants: Currently, there are no Cocoa Processing Plants in the State. So, there are significant opportunities for those in the food industry to invest in Cocoa Processing Plants for export.
The State is the second largest producer of Cocoa in Nigeria with production in excess of 80,000 Metric Tons a year. This has been made possible by the favourable ecological and climatic conditions, especially in the Central Senatorial District, where the highest concentration of Cocoa farms exist. Also cocoa is grown in some parts of the Northern and Southern Senatorial Districts of the State.
The Ministry's plan is to substantially increase the production of cocoa across the State through the engagement of the private sector in establishing commercial farms in the State.
Cocoa Processing plants
Currently, there are no Cocoa Processing Plants in the state. So, there are significant opportunities for those in the food industry to invest in Cocoa Processing Plants for export.
Rice has for long become one of the staple crops grown in the State. The tropical environment coupled with our rich soils has supported the cultivation of swamp rice in the low land areas. The Northern part of the State supports the cultivation of both upland and low land varieties. The hybrid varieties popular in the State are Faro, Mass and Nerica 57. The State currently cultivates between 2,000 to 2,500 hectares of swamp rice. In a good quality yield, we have an average of 6,000 metric tonnes of rice per annum.
Best Practices: Mechanization, Irrigation and Agro-chemicals
Cassava is a tuber crop that is widely cultivated in the State and grows in all the 18 Local Government Areas of the State. In the State, Cassava is mainly produced by peasant farmers with holding between 0.2 and 1 Hectares. The Presidential Initiative on Cassava, 2007-2009 produced few commercial farms. However, Cross River State ranks among the highest Cassava producing States in Nigeria. An average production of 16.58 tonnes and 19.92 tonnes per hectare was recorded in 2009 and 2010 respectively and an annual production of 5943.53 and 6030.22 metric tonnes in the same period.
Cassava Processing Plants
Cassava is a multifaceted crop that has both food and industrial applications. In Nigeria and in some parts of Africa, cassava is a staple food. Nigeria is the world's largest producer of cassava and Cross River State is one of the largest producers of cassava in Nigeria. In Nigeria, most of the produced cassava is used in making different kinds of cassava flour for consumption. These includes: Garri, Fufu and Tapioca.
For non-food application, cassava can be used in the manufacturing of Cassava Starch, Pellets and Chips for animal consumption. Also, it can be used for bio fuel and for making particleboards.
Best Practices: Well tilled land, Good/improved planting material, Proper weed management, Proper pest control, Harvest when tubers are less fibrous i.e. between Eight (8) - Twelve (12) months , and Process within twenty (24) hours for good quality finished product.
The State is the largest producer of Oil Palm in Nigeria, presently about 250,000 hectares are under wild groove while 15,000 hectares and 20,149 hectares are planted by the small holders and Estates respectively. Processing capacity is currently very low because most of the mills in the State are obsolete with low efficiencies. Sometimes, palm kernel crackers and crushers are unavailable, resulting in the under-utilization of by-products from oil palm processing.
The State has succeeded in attracting investment from the following International and Local Companies:
Wilmar International Limited
A Singaporean Company, which is today the leading agri-business group in Asia and by market capitalization, it is ranked amongst the top companies in the Singapore Exchange. The Company has acquired oil palm plantations in excess of 30,000 hectares in the State and also green field for Oil Palm cultivation under the name, Biase Plantation Limited.
Calabar Oil Palm Estate (Real Oil)
Calabar Oil Palm Estate, now known as Real Oil Plantations Limited is an indigenous company that has invested in Oil Palm plantation in the State. They also have a large processing plant for oil palm and palm kernel oil.
IBAD Farms PLC
IBAD Farms Limited also has an Oil Palm Plantation in the State. The company has a large processing mill for production of palm oil and palm kernel oil. The farm is about 10,000 hectares of which almost 45% has been cultivated.
Investment Opportunities in Oil Palm Processing Plants/Refineries
Palm Oil is the most versatile amongst the commonly used vegetable oils. It can be used for the following:
Food: It can be used as cooking oil, cooking fat (margarine and shortening) and can be used to make vegetable fat, confectionery fat, Coffee Creamers and imitation dairy products.
Non-Food Application: It can be used in the manufacturing of soap and as feedstock in the Oleo chemicals industry for the production of Fatty Acid, Methyl Esters, Fatty Amines, Fatty Alcohols and Glycerin.
Cross River State is the 3rd largest producer of Rubber in the Country. The tropical rainforest, lowland well drained soils and distributed rainfall of about 2,000mm/year or more provide very favorable conditions for the plant to thrive. Presently, about 21,545 hectares of land is under rubber cultivation in the State. The major companies cultivating Rubber in the state are:
PAMOL Nigeria Limited.
ROYAL INTERNATIONAL FARMS
Which are cultivating about 13,855 hectares, while the remaining 7,690 hectares belong to the small holders.
Most of the plants are over aged about 35-40 years with latex yield of about 1.0 - 1.5 MT/Ha.
Poultry and Livestock
In Cross River State, the earnings from Livestock as a source of income and food are enormous. Most people who raise Livestock do so in conjunction with other crops. Currently, it is estimated that there are about 1 million sheep/goats 1.2milliom birds, 250,000 pigs in the State and are all raised in small holdings.
This sub-sector is complimented with adequate veterinary services from Government for effective treatment and control of animal disease. Certification of meat for human consumption is also carried out by Government officials in Abattoirs/slaughter houses located all over the State.
The Poultry industry is another area in the State that has great potentials for investors. The environment, availability of manpower and ready markets for the end products are all factors that enable the farmers carry on business successfully.
Currently, there are about 5,500 poultry farmers/stakeholders in the business who are involved in raising broilers, layers, the distribution of day old chicks and other inputs. There are five major live-bird markets in the state with no processing factory. Standard feed mills are also lacking in the state.
Cross River State has immense potential in marine fishing from its vast coastal territory. In the last year, we have seen a significant increase in the number of fish farms in the State. However, majority of our fisher folks are still involved in artisanal fishing, which is characterized by low technology, lack of modern fishing equipment and low finance for expansion.
Government policy is to encourage Aquaculture, fish farming. The strategy is to increase fisheries production through the provision of technical support to fish farmers and encourage establishment of fish farms through private sector participation. The awareness created in the last four (4) year has led to the establishment of over 400 fish farms across the State through the use of earthen ponds, concrete tanks, wooden vats and fibre-glass tanks.
In order to increase production, we will also continue to expand opportunities for our fishermen by providing soft loans for them to acquire outboard engines and other modern fishing equipment to enable them increase their productivity. Our policy would also encourage the private sector to invest in this sub-sector by establishing fish processing plants in the State for local and international markets.
The climate, vegetation and soil support the cultivation of Plantain/Banana across the State. Although the crop grows in virtually all the Local Government Areas, the highest concentration is found in eight Local Government Areas of Akamkpa, Odukpani, Biase, Yakurr, Etung, Ikom, Boki and Obubra. Cultivation is mostly done by small holders, with average farm sizes of about 4 ha/family and yield of approximately 1,050 bunches/ha.
Apart from being a source of food and income, the crop also provides shade to young cocoa seedling in Cocoa Plantations.
Pineapple is a tropical plant, which is widely grown in the State. The fruit may be consumed fresh, canned, juiced and in some cases found in a number of foodstuffs like in dessert, fruit salad, jam, yogurt and ice cream.
The State has huge potential for the production of fruit concentrates for juices and is currently partnering with investors who are investing in the Fruit Juice Processing Plants.
Dansa Farms Plc has established an 80 metric tonnes per day Pineapple Concentrate Plant in the state that would start production soon and they plan to cultivate 5,000 hectares of pineapple by 2015.