Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has come up with a way of helping farmers in Nigeria reduce post-harvest loss. According to NIRSAL’s Head of Corporate Communication, Anne Ihugba, Secured Agricultural Commodity Route (SACR) is an innovative transportation system model designed to run on a dedicated national transportation network to deal with the challenges of moving agricultural products across the country.

In a statement explaining the objectives of the new transportation model, it was revealed that the first route is undergoing an in-depth and thorough internal testing before it will be made available for use. The route will connect 11 states in the Lagos-Kano-Jibiya (LAKAJI) corridor and is projected to be completed in the next three months, beginning from August 2018.

The LAKAJI corridor is a 1,225 km transport route that runs from the port of Lagos state in the South of Nigeria, through the commercial center of Kano state in the North, before ending in Jibiya, Katsina state which is near the Niger Republic border. States on the SACR route are Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Niger, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa and Katsina, among others.

The importance of this corridor cannot be overemphasized considering it is a link between two of Nigeria’s largest cities (Lagos and Kano) with a combined population of over 30 million people. It is also very necessary for the corridor to be fully developed due as it links the Northern part of Nigeria which has no seaport to the South bordered by the Atlantic Ocean.

SACR will be built around agro-runners, secured commodity aggregation zones, specialized haulage services and dedicated commodity routes that will all work hand in hand. With these services, farmers can call and book for their produce to be picked up at the farm-gate and transported either to the designated aggregated zones or commodity markets.

Companies that offer logistic services with specialized vehicles will be involved in the movement of these commodities to ensure timely delivery with fewer complications. NIRSAL will partner with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) to execute the transport system. Also, security companies will not be left out of the model to ensure the safety of both the goods and workers on site.

In a similar vein, collaborations with the agro-dealers, produce aggregators, retailers, smallholder farmers, logistic service providers, state and local governments will also go a long way in contributing to the success of the transport system. Other agencies working with NIRSAL to make the model a success are the Joint Tax Board, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Produce Inspectorate Services and the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service.

Minimizing post-harvest loss of food is a very one very effective way of increasing food availability and ensuring food security in Nigeria. With good management and cooperation from all the parties involved, the country will be a step closer towards attaining and sustaining national food security.

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