Train Attack: FACAN resolves to transport agro products with cargo train

Says rail system would address post-harvest losses

Plans hitech warehouses to preserve food

Wants govt to fund production for inflow pf foreign exchange

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

As Nigerians continue to feel the impact of terrorists’ attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train amounting to loss of lives, injuries and abduction, the Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria, FACAN, Monday, resolved to  transport agro products with cargo train.

Speaking with Vanguard, the President of FACAN, Dr Victor Iyama, said rail mode of transportation remains the reliable means of addressing post-harvest losses as 55 per cent of food produced in Nigeria is wasted, which boils down to high prices of food items.

Iyama said: “There is nothing we can do other than encourage food production. We are producing a lot food but 55 per cent goes to waste and we have been trying to get funding for preservative warehouses, even the Russians that are our partners came and went back and we are still on it before this War started.

“They have the technology to build such warehouses but it takes funding because funding is key to production, and not that we are not producing and if it was 10 per cent we were losing there will be food in abundance everywhere.

“Post-harvest losses responsible for high food prices in Nigeria and is a major reason. We are even trying to see how we will be taking agricultural goods including animals on cargo train because part of the food losses happen on the road because to take food to the final consumers it takes about nine days; some get spoiled, terrible accidents and other factors inclusive.

“FACAN is also trying to see if we can arrange that before this train mishap again. With what has happened in the railway system our association will be deterred but we will not stop because the terrorists are out to look for human beings but if it is cargo train how many people would they find on the train, it will be mainly the train driver and his technicians, and how many cargo would they be able to carry on their head, and that will be difficult.

“Actually we are planning for Kano-Kaduna to Lagos. We are the ones planning for this but we are still talking with some people but it is also going to be in conjunction with the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, because they are going to provide the coaches and others. But we are expecting some foreign partners too who have shown interest.

“However, COVID-19 pandemic spoilt a lot of things, but I can see that it is still the way to go and we would not give up. On the take off I cannot answer for now.

He added that, “For now everybody is waiting after elections even the foreign partners they are not ready to stake anything but after election because the election will be the major determinant of the project, and nobody is ready to put in hundred millions of US Dollars.”

However, the FACAN boss called on the Federal Government to do more in funding production to bring in foreign exchange via exportation of agro products.

“We are doing our best and also hoping that government will listen more because the way things are going on in this country we need to be more serious with agric because we are talking about paucity of foreign exchange, of course, we want to encourage export implied not with lip-service, and the most important thing is to fund production of exportable products and not with lip-service.

“The truth is if we really encourage production there will be far more inflows and the exchange rate will at least come down. But for now we are importing far more than what we are exporting”, he added.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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