By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
ABUJA — The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, NIRSAL, has taken steps to crash food prices in the country.
The agency said, yesterday, that this would be achieved through an innovative transportation system designed to tackle the bottlenecks in the national haulage system of agricultural products.
It said that the model known as, Secured Agricultural Commodity Route, SACR, was currently undergoing a comprehensive and rigorous process of internal testing before its formal deployment.
The initial route would cut across the eleven states in the Lakaji corridor including Katsina, Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Kwara, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Lagos and is expected to take three months to implement starting from August 2018.
NIRSAL explained that the SACR has been built around four complementary components, namely: Agro Runner; Secured Commodity Aggregation Zones; Specialised Haulage System; and Dedicated Commodity Route.
The agro runner would enable farmers to 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.
Secured Commodity Aggregation Zones have been designated for specified produce aggregation. There will be tax and regulatory checks on haulage vehicles that will operate in these zones.
The Specialised Haulage Services would work with Logistic companies whose specialized vehicles are tailored to transport agricultural commodities around the country.
The haulage services would include the crating system that reduce wastage of fresh fruits and vegetables, live fish haulage tanks, etc.
Under the Dedicated Commodity Route, the route would be designated for commodity haulage and all security agents would be informed of the movement of the specialized trucks so as to facilitate movement and timely delivery.
The agency said that to make it successful, the model would rely both on the functionality and adoption rate of these components, as well as, the synergy between the relevant stakeholders to ensure commodities move efficiently from production areas to commodity/consumer markets.
Partnership of critical actors and target beneficiaries such as Transport Unions (i.e. NURTW, NARTO), Agro Dealers, Produce Aggregators, Retailers, Smallholder Farmers, Logistic service providers, State and Local Governments, it said remained critical.