Uche Usim, Abuja
The Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has vowed to tackle post-harvest losses in the agribusiness sub-sector which the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute estimates to be $8.9 billion annually.
To this end, it has created the Secured Agricultural-Commodity Transport Corridor (SAT-C), an initiative meant to tackle the ineffective supply chain mechanism and transport system that have resulted in the huge losses.
Speaking at a press briefing, in Abuja, to announce stakeholders plan to develop a joint framework for implementation of a robust agricultural haulage system, the Managing Director of NIRSAL, Abdullhameed Aliyu said: “there is an urgent need to have commodity routes that link states and have minimal interference when the goods are labeled.
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“What we have now are not effective enough. There is also the issue of poor storage facilities. There is a challenge of poor packaging and unstructured market aggregation system across states.
“We need to deal with all these. We’ve a universe of risks and NIRSAL has mitigation mechanism and so we want to ensure haulage crisis tackled,” he explained.
He enjoined participants to take ownership of the model and make vibrant contributions to the realization of a secured haulage system for Nigeria.
The NIRSAL boss noted that the joint framework to be arrived at 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 Nigeria which is enough reason for big, bold steps to be taken in the Agriculture Sector in line with President Buhari’s “Eat what we grow and grow what we eat” mantra.
In a positive response to Mr. Abdulhameed’s call for stakeholder involvement in the SAT-C model, the Director, Agricultural Business Processing, Marketing and Investment at FMARD, Alh. Musibau Azeez, representing the Minister, thanked NIRSAL for the initiative to develop a model and invite relevant stakeholders to own and implement it.
On behalf of the Minister, he pledged that FMARD will support with the right policies that will enable the emergence and operation of private sector haulage businesses.
In attendance at the session which held at NIRSAL’s head office in Abuja were high-ranking representatives from the Federal Ministries of Agriculture & Rural Development, Trade & Investment and Transport; Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC).
Also present were representatives of 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 and others. These participants are expected to produce a joint framework and policy advocacy strategy for SAT-C.