6 PROBLEMS OF DISTRIBUTING GOODS IN NIGERIA/WEST AFRICA

Production, they said, is not complete until it gets to the final consumer.

Hence, goods produced must be distributed to the final consumers.

However, in distributing goods and services, businessmen and distributors in West Africa faced some challenges, which have been known to be particularly detrimental to economic growth.

The problems faced in distributing goods in west Africa are insecurity, inadequate storage facilities, exploitative middlemen, and inadequate infrastructure, just to name a few.

Let's now carefully analyze each challenge.

1. Insecurity: Nigeria and other West African nations are currently experiencing security issues.

Given that gunmen and bandits are infamous for kidnapping traders and carriers on the route, this has significantly impacted how food and other important commodities are distributed in the area.

2. Poor infrastructural facilities: Most countries in West Africa are grossly underdeveloped as they lack the adequate infrastructure necessary for economic growth and development.

This is because cool rooms must be electronically powered to store perishable goods, and Nigeria's economy suffers from an unstable power supply

The Agricultural Fresh Produce Growers and Exporters Association of Nigeria (AFPGEAN) says between 55 per cent and 72 per cent of fresh produce grown in the country perish before it can be consumed, according to premium times

3. Hoarding: This is very common among traders and distributors in West Africa.

Often, we see traders keep goods in their warehouses, with the hope that prices will increase so that they can make excessive profits.

Some even keep highly demanded goods to cause artificial scarcity and increase the price.

All of these have contributed massively to the problem of distribution of goods in west Africa.

4. Poor transport network: It won't be an exaggeration to claim that West Africa's transportation infrastructure is overburdened.

Most West African nations rely heavily on their road networks for the transportation of goods, which causes the network to be overcrowded.

Many distributors and traders are forced to transport goods via road, which are generally bad and often congested.

Due to congestion, a transporter of products and services typically spends days, if not months, dispersing commodities.

The implication of this is that goods get spoilt and transporters increase their charge, which results in increased cost of production for producers.

The ultimate burden is borne by the wholesale who must pay high prices for goods and services.

5. Exploitive tendencies of middlemen: Apart from hoarding, middlemen in West Africa are known to be highly exploitive.

They typically take advantage of consumers by buying things at much lower prices and selling them to them for much higher prices

Middlemen in west Africa usually give excuses such as "the exchange rate of dollars to foreign currency has increased", and " government economic policy is unfavourable" in a bid to justify their action.

6. Inadequate storage facilities: Nigeria, in particular, is notorious for waste because there aren't enough facilities to store goods.

Some distributors, particularly small-scale ones, don't have sufficient or suitable warehouses for the products they distribute.

Even when distributors have enough storage facilities, there is not enough electricity supply to power their storage 

When you consider the effect of this on the economy, it is very massive. 

For instance, it has been estimated that up to N12 billion worth of Nigeria's agricultural produce is lost annually as a result of storage facilities and other post-harvest conundrums.

This is just for agricultural produce alone!. The issue of having inadequate storage facilities is that it increases the price of goods as demand for goods will exceed the available supply of goods.

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