Mr Adegoke said Cross River had the potential in massive land and forest for cocoa farming, coupled with the youthful population cultivating the crop.
The fund is from the $15 million allocated to the FCTA under the World Bank-supported COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (FCT CARES) programme.
His aide listed drought, the high cost of fertiliser, flooding, and insecurity as other factors pushing up local rice prices.
France has escalated its alert status for avian influenza from “moderate’’ to “high’’, nationwide.
The federal government says about 50 million of the country’s 80 million hectares of arable land remain uncultivated.
The council urged the companies to do the needful and refrain from cutting corners to augment the government’s efforts on food sufficiency in Nigeria.
“The farmer’s verification is to identify those that have the potential and they must be in clusters and close to rivers,’’ he said.
The statement said that the pact is expected to bring about an increase in productivity, yield and earnings of the farmers.
They were tried and convicted of kidnapping Abubakar Ahmad in 2022, collecting N1 million as ransom before releasing him. Mr Ahmad was held hostage for 20 days.
According to Mr Kunde, the herders-farmers violence has so far destroyed property and farmlands worth over N425 billion in eight local governments.