James Emejo in Abuja
Managing Director/Chief Executive, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc), Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed on Wednesday unveiled another innovative measure to de-risk the agricultural sector by developing a framework for the Secured Agricultural Commodity Transport Corridor (SAT-C) to plug about $9 billion leakage in the entire post-harvest system.
Essentially, the aim of the project is to fix key constraints confronting the transportation of agricultural produce and products across the country, working with both private and public sector stakeholders.
This, will consequently reduce wastages resulting from late evacuation of particularly perishable produce from the farms.
It’s estimated that about 70 per cent of farm food at are lost annually to inefficient transport system, causing huge economic waste to both farmers and the country at large.
Speaking at the opening of the technical session on SAT-C, the NIRSAL boss said the target was to cut such losses to less than 10 per cent.
He said: “You can imagine what a $9 billion loss- if we save it- can do to the lives of poor producers in the rural areas: it means the net gain will come back to their pockets.
“It means consumers will buy food at lower price because inefficiencies would have been removed.”
According to him, the initiative will leverage on the positive moves by the federal government in bringing the railway into action-as well as construction of major roads linking the northern and southern parts of the country.
Abdulhameed, added that the implementation of SAT-C would reduce the prices of food commodities, enhance food security and increase the contribution of agriculture to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said the proposed framework would promote a model that manages the interests of all stakeholders while the federal government works on developing the necessary alternative transport infrastructure that will enhance seamless movement of produce around the country.
He pledged NIRSAL’s technical and financial support for the session throughout its duration, noting that Nigeria’s estimated population of 200 million people provides a captive market for agricultural products in the country- and urging bold steps in the sector in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s “Eat what we grow and grow what we eat” mantra.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh commended the SAT-C model and pledged support with the right policies that will enable the emergence and operation of private sector haulage businesses.
NIRSAL’s Head, Corporate Communications, Anne Ihugba, explained that the project was hinged on four major components including secured commodity aggregation zones which are designated areas for the aggregation of specific crops; Agro runner, whereby farmers can call “uberised” haulage service providers for the evacuation of their produce; Haulage services that will link aggregation zones to industrial and consumer markets as well as dedicated commodity routes.
The critical stakeholders include the Joint Tax Board (JTB), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), UNDP, FEDex Express among others.