Railway transport

The technical partners to the Federal Government on movement of cattle from the North to the Southern parts of the country were losing money due to compensation on cattle mortality rate, operators of the scheme said.

Managing Director, Connect Rail Services, the technical partner of the farm to market project, Mr Edeme Kelikume told our reporter that the project provides for compensation to farmers on any cattle that died on transit.

He said “The challenges due to the bad rail track which causes delays sometimes while conveying the cows from farm to market has caused the death of about 4 cows and we have been made to pay compensation of N50 thousand each which is N200 thousand in total.

We decided to suspend the project until the rails are properly fixed so that we don’t continue to lose money to compensations.”

The Nigeria Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) which initiated the scheme said the aim was to reduce cost of transport and increase profit margins for all the players along the value chain of the project.

The Coordinator Research & Strategy at NIRSAL, Bello Abdullahi Abba said “The problem with the cattle movement is that there have been challenges with rail tracks and locomotives which have led to delays.

“And you know, livestock are living things and these delays have adverse effects on their physical condition, weight, quality of the beef and sometimes even their survival.

“So based on feedback from the technical partners, Connect Rail Services, a decision was taken to suspend the project while the technical issues are being fixed.”

But the Nigerian Railways Corporation (NRC) said it is willing to freight cattle and other cargo anywhere they have operations in the country.

The NRC Director Operators, Engr. Niyi Ali told our correspondent on the phone that “the NRC is a haulage company. We haven’t suspended the haulage of cattle. If the cattle dealers approach us, we will take wagons to them.”

He however noted that it’s the business of the cattle dealers to load and off load the train as well as provide veterinary services for their cattle.

He confirmed that the NRC charges N90,000 per wagon from the far north.