By Nicholas Alifa
The logistics business is arguably one of the most critical sectors in agribusiness.
Just like many other developing countries, Nigeria’s agricultural value chain is majorly informal, comprising of smallholders in rural areas who produce at a very small quantity, and middlemen who purchase, and aggregate these products which are then sold to the end users.
In addition, due to the extreme different wide varieties of vegetation distribution across the nation – the mangrove and swamp rain forest in the south and west, Guinea and Sahel Savannah in the north, and the Montane vegetation in some parts of middle belt – what can be produced at one part of the country may not grow very well at the other. Consequently, there is a need for different distribution systems to accommodate the variances.
Largely, the transportation and logistics systems play a major role in the value chains as the product will have to pass through different handlers before it can get to the final consumers.
However, the only functional transport system that can effectively cater to the distribution chains of agricultural products in Nigeria is the road transport system. Thus, if we must have an effective supply chain that can cut down the cost of logistics for agricultural products, reduce food loss along the chain, and ensure faster delivery of the products, then our road industry must not only be effective but thoroughly efficient.
Unfortunately, though one of the biggest industries in Nigeria that’s critical for agricultural revolution, our road transport industry is one of the most poorly coordinated.
Hence, an idea, technology or policy that can cause a massive disruption in the Nigerian road transport industry, and offer a more coordinated, efficient and effective system will not only make a profitable business venture but will also cause a major revolution in the food and agricultural sector. It will aid reduction in food loss along the supply chain, time of delivery, logistics and enhance overall availability of safe, sufficient, nutritious and affordable food.
Emerging startups like Kobo360 which are pioneering the use of digital systems to improve logistics should be supported by the government.