Nigeria’s export market totters on infrastructure

Nigeria is losing competitive strength in local and international markets due to inadequate cold chain facilities. Stakeholders have expressed concerns over the shortage of facilities and manpower to enhance distribution and transportation of temperature-controlled products, Daniel Essiet reports in the Nation Online. 

Despite all its arable land, Nigeria has no heavy presence in the global cut market. Nigeria’s exports of cut flowers and buds for bouquets prepared to Japan was $296.000, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade. This means a huge loss in foreign exchange.

This was the worry of logistics experts at a webinar organized by Multimix Academy, in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Transport Technology (NITT). They lamented the shortage of facilities and manpower to enhance distribution and transportation of temperature-controlled products, including horticulture, food, and pharmaceuticals.

In spite of the growth in exports, producers are confronting cold chain logistics issues. This is mainly due to the nation’s infrastructure. From inadequate storage infrastructure to power outages, many trucks lack the equipment to maintain the necessary temperature to preserve the integrity of fresh and frozen produce till destination delivery.

Dr. Obiora Madu, chairman, Multimix Academy, lamented that the nation was losing too much for not providing a cold chain infrastructure to support the quality of freshness management of cut flowers. What is lacking, according to Madu, was an integrated cold chain supply chain to support food production.

Lack of cold chain and proper storage facility, exports, transportation, adequate processing facilities, and marketing are areas where the government has failed to deliver, leading to wastage of food, Madu noted. He said perishable products such as fruits and vegetables are wasted due to the unavailability of cold storage and improper transportation facilities.

According to him, the importance of temperature control is well-acknowledged among farmers and exporters. This, he explained, has helped the success of the Ethiopian and Kenyan flower industries.

He emphasized that a functional cold chain guarantees average temperature for the handling of cut flowers and fresh produce at farms, reefer transportation, and airport facilities. Having this in place, according to him, is vital to boost the exports of quality flowers.

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