African economies and businesses demonstrate an immense potential. Especially, Nigeria is a vantage point to develop and determine quality in services and consumer products and has become a hub of the African economy. With steady growth of more than 5 % is Nigeria one of the strongest economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Financial Times says: “Africa´s growth would still be there even if the continent held neither a barrel of oil nor ounce of gold.”
Although there are many problems in the way of handling agricultural products and production, for example in harvesting, transporting, packing and drying, the right investment in every part of infrastructure and distribution would ensure improvement of the whole environment.
Nigeria has got huge stock of natural resources and because of that the country plays a major role in the African agricultural sector. These include 68 million hectares of arable land, fresh water sources covering 12 million hectares; 960 kilometers of coastline and an ecological diversity which enable the country to produce a wide variety of crops and livestock, forestry and fishery products. Accordingly agriculture plays an enormous role in the Nigerian economy and composes 31.99% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Because of that the Ministry of Agriculture predicts that by 2015, 20 million tons of food will be added to the supply chain. This positive development could generate 3.5 million jobs within the next couple of years and would require improved processes to secure the delivery to remote areas. Right now the food sector in African countries like Nigeria still has to struggle with specific problems: “Goods are stored poorly, packaged inappropriately, processed too late or unsatisfactorily transported,” Marc Zander, CEO of XCOM Africa explains. His firm provides business consulting to companies that are interested in doing business in Africa. Western knowledge is especially valuable in the fight against food loss, states Zander. “Western companies can offer concrete support even with relatively small solutions.”
One of the essential elements that can reduce the food losses in the areas of fishing and harvesting is to use appropriate packaging solutions. These solutions would allow transportation of goods to remote areas where delivery takes more than 48 hours to reach. Moreover, with lack of power and infrastructure the right packaging would ensure safety and quality of food resulting in better pricing due to full supply of the agricultural products. This is where the industry can support the positive development to create a certain level of standard, to improve the delivery situation and of course to optimize logistical processes.
The way of creating chances for the development in Nigeria drives SAVE FOOD together with XCOM Africa and it is aimed at identifying potential solutions by the industry for the improvement of the Nigerian agricultural market and its logistics chains.