If you’ve ever plied some Nigerian roads, you would realize that you might require more than skills to get to certain destinations. When you speak to various truck drivers and transporters, you would hear in their stories the same plight, fears and frustrations with respect to roads in poor conditions, insecurity, and harassment from both legal and “illegal” produce tax collectors.
All these eventually lead to the often exorbitant cost of produce logistics. Worse still, these same factors ensure that it is very difficult to move food commodities from active production locations to where they are needed, adding to the high post harvest losses.
There is a direct linkage between the farm and the produce cultivated and the market. It is called transportation. There can be no sustainable flow of food produce if this link is broken, or affected in any way.
Broken supply chains has been a major challenge for not just the Nigerian farmer but also manufacturers and producers in need of these goods. Considering that the average yield of the typical smallholder famer is very low, inability of the goods to get to the intended locations on time and in good conditions compounds an already festering problem and undermines food security.
Can anything be done? And if so, what can be done? Because it is not in anybody’s interest for the status quo to be maintained.
First, more investments have to be made to support the existing logistics infrastructure. From cold trucks that can carry fresh produce, to high capacity haulage trucks; there is the need to inject increased capacity in the sector. Feeder roads to out of pocket locations must be maintained and the different produce tax required should be streamlined to eliminate the illegal collections on the roads.
To bolster the impact of logistics, post harvest handling equipment should also be deployed in strategic locations to improve the quality of produce.
At Kitovu Technology Company, we are playing our part to ensure that farmers no longer have to watch their farm produce waste due to difficulty in getting it to the desired market. We are relying on, on-farm data, on our platform to easily aggregate farm produce from our different smallholder farmers to our collection points from where we can move them to buyers. The data gives us great insight into who produces what and at what quantities, enabling us to make arrangements for logistics on time.
This enables us to take the produce off the hands of the farmers,transport them in bulk, enjoying the advantage of economics of scale. As such, we meet the demand of manufacturers and processor at best prices while helping them reduce downtimes due to difficulties in sourcing farm produce.
Data is the new backbone for agriculture and it is helping us to create a win for everyone; farmers, processors, and Kitovu alike. And in the coming days, these data would enable Africa become the food hub of the world.