Logistics experts have said that for Nigeria to improve supply chain functions and drive down costs of logistics, the country must improve port infrastructure and rail transport.

 The experts said this at the public presentation of the 2022 edition of the Nigerian Logistics and Supply Chain Industry Report and the 11th fellowship investiture and membership induction ceremony recently in Lagos.

The Vice President of the West African Fertiliser Association, Innocent Okuku, said a country cannot have food security without an effective supply chain.

While speaking on the theme ‘Supply chain disruptions and food security: Issues and Implications’, Okuku said that supply chain and food security were interwoven because farmers cannot achieve food security without an efficient supply chain system.

According to him, the country needs to ensure that farmers can access inputs and the supply chain system must be able to move the inputs both imported and locally sourced from their locations to where farmers can access them.

 Okuku emphasised that the intermodal transport system plays a crucial role in enhancing the resilience of the supply chain system, adding Nigeria solely relied on roads for the transportation of goods.

 “To improve supply chain functions, Nigeria must expand port infrastructure, and improve rail transport in order to drive down costs of logistics. Nigeria’s network of roads is not sufficient and the cost of moving farm produce by road is higher but if we have a functional rail system, the cost would be lower. We have inland waterways, but our rivers are not properly dredged to move large food items and there are a number of things that must be put in place because Nigeria has a broken supply chain system,” he said.

Earlier, the Director General of the African Centre for Supply Chain, Obiora Madu, said Nigeria needed to create resilience as its supply chain had been problematic before.

“Creating resilience is actually strengthening our supply chain. Before COVID-19, our supply chain was already problematic. The quantity of perishable food that Nigeria loses every year either because they were unable to get to where they will be sold or lack of an effective supply chain is unimaginable.

“Until we pay attention to the supply chain and build the necessary infrastructure, hunger is looming. Research has it that every year more people are becoming food insecure,” he added.

 He explained that access to transportation is critical and Nigeria did not have the infrastructure needed to achieve an effective supply chain of food items.

 According to Madu, the disruption that is happening in Nigeria is greater than what is happening in Ukraine and Russia.

“There are no good roads for transportation; there is no multi-modal mode of transport. We have inland waterways, but we do not do much on water. We are not taking advantage of our position to do cargo for landlocked countries. We should have been the hub for West and Central Africa, but we are nowhere,” he explained.

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