Agro export campaign amid logistics weaknesses

The recent campaign by the Federal Government of Nigeria to drive agricultural export is being threatened by logistics weaknesses. The worsening state of vital infrastructures needed to aid export has continued to impact negatively on the cost of logistics.

It costs an exporter more to transport a commodity within the country than it costs to transport the same commodity to Europe.

The absence of intermodal transportation system has meant overreliance and too much pressure on the only viable means of transportation – deplorable roads. Farmers suffer serious post-harvest loss due to poor storage facilities.

Agro commodities worth billions of naira are currently rotting away in various warehouses in the country as port processes become increasingly cumbersome. The state of the roads to Apapa and Tin Can, Nigeria’s two major ports, is taking its toll.

In 2010, Nasarawa State exported about 118 metric tonnes of yam to the United States and recorded a post-harvest loss of 40 percent due to logistics problems.

The lack of effective infrastructural facilities to drive competitiveness and boost agro production is partly the reason Nigeria’s products are not competing favourably at the global market.

Farmers continue to experience low levels of agricultural productivity due to infrastructural deficit across the country, which shrinks their profit and impacts on their capacity to increase productivity. Less productivity on the part of farmers means less available commodities for export, as well as higher prices for local consumers.

But the agricultural export campaign has failed to address the issue of logistics, a very critical factor for the success of any export business globally.

Nigeria can only reach the targets for economic diversification and food security and realise its export potential through agriculture when its products can compete favourably with other products in the international market, say experts. The provision of critical infrastructure is a sine-qua-non in this process.

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