- Fresh and intact, the tomato conveyed in APMT’s crates and refrigerated trucks are being shown after arriving Lagos, as against the woven baskets directly placed on the produce on one side
Farmers in the agricultural centres in northern Nigeria and their clients in Lagos market centres can now make the most of their efforts as fresh produce could be delivered intact and unspoiled over distance with APM Terminals’ modern cold chain transportation alternatives.
An estimated 15 million metric tons of Nigerian-grown perishable goods, including onions, potato, tomato, pepper, okra, ginger and carrot are lost in transit annually due to poor logistics infrastructure and high transportation costs, which bring about spoilage and product damage.
However, ongoing investments by APM Terminals in cold chain transportation, in conjunction with Naija Pride and with assistance from international development groups, is demonstrating ways to reduce post-harvest losses and extend the shelf life of fresh produce for local consumption and export.
Speaking on the prospects of the initiative, the Managing Director, APMT, Apapa, Mr. Martin Jacob, said that “new investment in cold chain infrastructure will clearly be an important growth driver for the Nigerian economy.
“We, along with our partners, aim to offer our landside customers both the service and expertise necessary to protect perishables for domestic markets and open new international market opportunities through Nigerian ports.”
According to statistics, about half of the domestic tomato crop of 1.8 million metric tons gets spoilt or damaged before arriving the market while packed in traditional woven raffia baskets and moved by conventional trucking.
However, on December 1, the first trial shipment of 18.6 metric tons of fresh tomato, packed into 933 crates, each containing 20kg, was loaded into a refrigerated container for the 1,045km (650 mile) trip from Dutsen Wai, Kaduna State, to Lagos.
In the controlled reefer environment, heat spoilage, as well as bruising damage from cargo shifting during transport, was eliminated – and the entire truckload arrived intact and ready for sale or further movement.
Also, APMT partnered Naija Pride for the tomato shipment, in conjunction with United States (U.S.)-based TechnoServe, an international non-profit that promotes business solutions in 29 countries.