The Coordinator, Research and Strategy of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Bello Abdullahi Abba has said that Lagos State alone consumes about 8000 cattle and small ruminants valued at N1.6 billion daily.
Bello made this disclosure in a press released he issued and signed Thursday in continuation of the recently launched project to transport cattle by rail from the north to the south which was facilitated by the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), at the second cattle train of fifteen wagons that left Nguru, Yobe state for Oko-Oba, Lagos yesterday.
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Speaking on the development, the Managing Director of NIRSAL, Mr. Aliyu Abbati Abdulhameed said the initiative is a practical demonstration of NIRSAL’s mandate to provide guarantees so that banks can be encouraged to finance impactful projects along the agric value chain.
“I am really excited at the progress that we are making on this project which is designed to maximize the current value of the North-South livestock trade, estimated at N950 billion to about N1.8Trn per annum. NIRSAL will execute this project, first, by fixing, end-end, the entire trade livestock value chain through upgrading the performance of its 3 components comprising Breeding, Trading and Logistics then guaranteeing the flow of affordable commercial finance to identified actors and enterprises within the “fixed” value chain.”
“What Nigerians are witnessing through the livestock Rail Transport component is actually one part of the bigger picture of the commercial livestock value chain upgrade being executed by NIRSAL”.
Ultimately, the objective is to provide cattle breeders in the north, an alternative low cost and safe rail transport linkage to markets and their trading counterparts in the south. This will also eliminate the all too frequent menace of Herdsmen and Farmer clashes across the country.
He stated that, beyond its general economic benefits to the entire country, the flag off of the Nguru-Lagos cattle transport route will help to catalyze the revival of the North East economy after the devastation caused by the insurgency.
The journey is estimated to last two days compared to the five to six days it normally takes to cover the distance by road.
According to Edeme Kelikume, MD, Connect Rail Services, regular bi-weekly movement of cattle by trains carrying at least 1,000 cattle from the north to markets in the south is scheduled to begin soon.
“Our plan is to ensure that we take this transport solution to all states in the north with functional railway services so that those who deal in cattle will enjoy the cost and associated benefits that it offers. For instance, this service reduces cost of transport by over 50%, ensures quicker access to markets and greater value for cattle upon arrival”.
The ultimate plan, according to Mr Abdulhameed, is to enable the movement of meat in the form of carcasses in chilled containers as is done in the developed world.