Signs that Nigeria’s rail service was finally roaring back to glorious days emerged on Tuesday when it was learnt that some agricultural firms were moving fresh tomatoes from Kano to Lagos by rail.
Although reports said the tomatoes have arrived Lagos on Tuesday after a 36-hour journey, Newspeakonline gathers that the produce which left Kano on Monday, are still on the way but would arrive Lagos this morning.
Talking about the challenges being faced, one of those involved in the project, tweeting via @grandespinale, said:
Our trains are old and slow. Then once in a while derailments happen which delay everyone to use the line. Pictures are the tomato train
On how the tomatoes are being moved amid fears that they may get spoilt before arrival, he said:
They are not in cold carriages. They are in a 14 ton cargo wagon. 585 crates on board. Na me supervise the loading personally
Since cold carriages are not available, most of the tomatoes are not ripe so they won’t spoil on reaching Lagos. Train arrives 11-12 today
Emmanuel Itoya Ijewere, a businessmen, speaking at the FirstBank’s maiden Agric Expo 2017, held at Eko Hotel and Suites, on Tuesday, confirmed that the tomatoes were on its way.
According to him, the country lost 2.8 million tonnes of tomatoes in 2016, saying “at N200,000 per tonne, the country lost tomatoes worth N5.6 billion” due to poor storage facility.
It is hoped that with the new modern tracks being built and faster trains, journey time would reduce and more perishable agricultural produce like onions, cucumbers, plantain and others would move to and fro the ends of the country with greater success.