By Uka Ejin
The total live animal trade between Northern and Southern Nigeria stood at N950 billion per annum, the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has said.
The Managing Director of NIRSAL, Mr. Abdulhameed Aliyu, made this known on Thursday at the flag off of transportation of cattle from Zamfara State to Lagos by rail.
NIRSAL was established by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Aliyu stated that animal trade between Lagos and North East accounted for N324 billion per annum of the total animal trade between Northern and Southern Nigeria.
\’This does not include the North-South East cattle trade or the trade in small ruminants (sheep and goats),\’ he added.
The NIRSAL boss explained that the operational transportation of cattle from Zamfara State to Lagos by rail was embarked upon to sustain the volume of trade between the North and South of Nigeria.
According to him,15 wagons of 500 cattle left Gusau, Zamfara State for Lagos.
\’The flag-off signals the beginning of the Livestock Transportation Component of NIRSAL Farm to Market Scheme which aims to link livestock breeders in the north to markets in the south in a safe, cost effective and profitable manner using the rail system.
\’The historic journey will take 48 hours and will see more cattle being transported from the North to the South under more comfortable conditions, the final stop is at Oko-Oba in Lagos.
“What we have witnessed today is the culmination of rigorous and consistent effort to demonstrate that agriculture in Nigeria can be innovative and business oriented. The transportation component launched today is only the first part,\’ he stated.
Aliyu remarked that the next phase of NIRSAL’s effort for the commercial development of the livestock value chain would include the creation of business models and specific financing products for the ranching and trading components of the value chain.
The strategy, according to him, is to mainstream all the actors into regular and sustainable relationships with structured finance and structured markets.
He added that this would include the transportation of carcass and cut beef in refrigerated containers.
Under the National Farm to Market Scheme, agricultural producers and consumers across the country will be linked through a low cost and efficient transportation.
The scheme is projected to reduce the cost of transporting cattle from the north to the south by over 20 per cent, minimize injury and death of cattle while in transit, and also preserve 100 per cent of their value so that livestock breeders can get good price for their produce at the destination markets.
The Managing Director, Connect Rail Services, Mr. Edeme Kelikume, said the potential of rail in boosting exchange between the north and the south was immense.
\’As logistics providers, we are excited at the magnitude of this scheme and the massive impact it is going to have on the economy,\’ Kelikume said.