From: Kazeem Biriowo, Abuja
Managing Director the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed on Wednesday disclosed that Nigeria loses $8.9 billion annually to agricultural Post-Harvest Losses (PHL).
The MD, in a statement issued in Abuja attributed the loss to poor and unsecured haulage system in the country.
Speaking during a meeting with private and public sector stakeholders to developing Secured Agricultural Commodity Transport Corridor (SAT-C), Abdulhameed explained that the SAT-C is meant to check PHL in the nation.
According to him, it is the NIRSAL’s innovative system for fixing the key challenges facing the transportation of agricultural produce and products across the country
NIRSAL’s objective for developing and proposing the SAT-C model is to address the bottlenecks in the movement of agricultural produce, and consequently reduce wastages resulting from late evacuation of particularly perishable produce from the farms.
The statement reads: “The implementation of SAT-C is envisaged to reduce the prices of food commodities, enhance food security and increase the contribution of the Agriculture Sector to Nigeria’s GDP.”
He charged stakeholders to “Take ownership of the model and make vibrant contributions to the realization of a secured haulage system for Nigeria as it will stem the tide of post-harvest losses which the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute estimated to be $8.9 billion annually.”
According to Abdulhameed, 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 the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Alhaji Musibau Azeez, representing the Minister, on behalf of the minister, pledged that FMARD will support with the right policies that will enable the emergence and operation of private sector haulage businesses.
Other speakers at the opening phase of the technical session include Attahiru Maccido, Commissioner of Agriculture for Kebbi State, representatives of the Corps Marshal of the FRSC and the Commandant General of the NSCDC, as well as heads of private sector businesses and agricultural cooperatives.