Nigeria launches rail transportation for livestock

The Federal Government of Nigeria says an annual trade value of N850 billion to N950 billion was expected to be transacted from the north to the southern parts of the country through railway scheme.

The information was made known by Alhaji Aliyu Abdulhamid, the Managing Director of
Nigerian Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NAISAL) at the launch of “Farm to Market Livestock Rail Scheme” in Gusau.

NAISAL is a recently established segment of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) aimed at facilitating farmers’ access to finance and improved agricultural value chain in the country.

The managing director said that through the scheme, a total of 500 cows would be transported in 15 rail wagons.

Under the scheme, he explained, the train wagons would be fitted with animal feeds and medical supplies in order to ensure the fitness of the animals on arrival at their destination with minimum risks to the owners.

Gov. Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, who was represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Ibrahim Wakkala, expressed happiness in the choice of the state for the launch, saying it would give wider access to markets for farmers in the state.

The governor, who called for the extension of railway into the nation’s towns and cities, said that the scheme would reduce the pressure caused by heavy trucks on Nigerian roads, address insecurity faced by marketers and provide employment to many youths.

He said the state government would continue to collaborate with companies and organizations in the promotion of agriculture in order to improve employment and guarantee food security.

In his remark at the event, the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, who was represented by the ministry’s Director of Agricultural Transformation Agenda, Mr Olasupo Abioye, said the scheme was aimed at maximizing value through rail transportation and committed leadership that would impact on the lives of the common man.

The minister, who said that the nation’s annual budget alone cannot handle the issues of food security, employment generation and improved welfare, urged Nigerians to come out and participate fully in the scheme.

The representatives of the Nigerian Cattle Breeders Association, as well as the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association had expressed their support to the scheme and commended government for the initiative.

NAN/Nnenna.O