By Genevieve Aningo
There is a trend to adopt green technological innovations across sectors to safeguard the environment; since human activities have deteriorated it; causing climate change, greenhouse emission which at the long run are insalubrious.
Though Nigeria may be the biggest producer of common agricultural products, the country is still hit with food insecurity caused by poor logistics and storage systems. Poor logistics systems are also contributing to the hyperinflation being experienced in the country since traditional transportation costs more.
Likewise, lack of effective intermodal transportation also adds to the woes encountered while moving goods from the manufacturer to the consumers. The lack of sustained cost-effective modes of transportation is amiss despite the coastal abundance of Nigeria; the mainstay of supply is road access.
Nigeria’s supply chain management is still staggering within the 1PL to 5PL (Party-Logistics Provider) but to detect the problem supply chain is posing to the environment and economically, supply chain logistics must be from 6Pl to 10Pl.
According to Food and Agricultural Organisation data for the first quarter of 2022, Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of yam, having 70% to 76% of production. Likewise, the nation is the first largest in cassava and beans production while the second largest in sorghum but 40% of the produce ends in waste during supply chain activities. This emanates from incorrect use of the right consignment for perishable goods, lack of storage facilities and bad roads which doubles the time spent on roads travelling from one state to another.
Additionally, when agricultural products decompose, it releases greenhouse gas into the environment which threatens public health. Thus, waste encountered also causes environmental problems. For instance, Singapore, Ireland and other developed nations who are more food secure than Nigeria; a giant in African staple produce; is because of their innovative and cost- efficient supply chain.
Experts in the supply chain market and recycle industry, proffer solutions on how Nigeria can integrate technology in green supply chain management and preserve the environment.
Dr. Eugene Itua, Chief Executive Officer Natural Eco Capital suggested green supply chain solutions must take cognizance of the environment and social implication because if it hampers the environment the aim is defeated. “The green elements means we must take into focus the environmental dimension and that environmental dimension must be able to factor into the social aspect of Nigeria where cost acquisition of technology may be more difficult due to lack of infrastructure” . Dr Itua, said that in a bid to curtail cost, investors should not compromise on cost because such would result in substandard solutions. According to him¸ “We have quality that must be maintained but if you negotiate unnecessarily because of the situation in the country; people are ready to accept whatever you offer to them. I think waste management starts from the procurement officers. The environment knows no frontiers. So we need a solution that encourages Optimization and resource efficiency.
For Azuka Okeke, the Chief Executive Officer of Africa Research Centre for Excellence in Supply Chain Management opined that Nigeria and the rest of Africa needs collaboration and unison in adopting whatever green supply chain solution that is lucrative. She made a case that the African Continental Free Trade Area is ready theoretically but the technology to implement it is missing.
She detailed; “I think the challenge we have is we haven’t really put our house in order. The manufacturers are working in silence. “Nigeria has signed up, policy wise, the country has put in money, fintechs have helped make sure Africans can be able to pay across borders but the key gap is technology. Everybody seems to favour their own technology. We haven’t been able to align at the regional Africa level on what technologies do we use in logistics. AfCTA is still a work in progress. Nigeria is a giant in the capacity to manufacture in all sectors; we are one of the key main manufacturers. AfCTA needs innovative supply chains that could sustain it. There is no regional technology logistics. . We have up to 120 local manufacturers but 70% of the manufacturing is done by 5 mega companies; No one is regulating that. If we open the AfCTA those five companies would dominate the market and the smaller companies would go into extinction. We need to look at things holistically to help the small businesses. We need to do a lot in-house to make sure we help small businesses “
For Peter Bassey, an erudite in marine recycling and owner of P.I.B Global Services, he posit that Nigeria should explore her natural energy sources to incorporate green supply chain into its system and in the continent.
“In using technology, we can convert waste into gas, biogas, bio-fuel to power supply chain equipment and engines. African can also convert water hyacinth to fuel which can be used to power ships in order to reduce cost and environmental degradation while shipping in the Africa free trade market”.
The just concluded two-day national conference organized by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport(CILT)Nigeria provided the platform for these experts to ventilate their expertise.