Transportation and agro-food distribution in sub-saharan africa
Transportation plays an important role in the movement and distribution of goods and services. It is an essential ingredient of development, since there is always a need to collect, assemble, move, transfer and distribute goods and services from spatially differentiated origins and destinations. Transportation creates market for agricultural produce, facilitates interaction among geographical and economic regions and opens up new areas to economic focus. Transport is a key to efficient and effective distribution of agricultural products at a cost and time convenient for both the producers and the consumers and it is regarded as a crucial factor in improving agricultural productivity. Agricultural production is very important to the economy of the world as a whole and Sub-Saharan Africa in particular. However, the rural transport is poor resulting in the high cost of transportation, inefficient distribution and delay in reaching the final markets. In adequate transport provision leads to waste of about 25% of total agricultural foodstuff produced. Hence, this paper evaluates transportation and agro-food distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa, examines rural transportation system and assesses the rural transport gaps. The conventional approach towards agro-food distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa focuses mostly on motorized transport. This approach is too narrow because it does not reflect the transport requirements and purchasing power of small-scale farmers. A broader approach that includes not only roads, but also paths and tracks; not only trucks but also intermediate means of transport such as donkeys, bicycles and animal carts in improving agro-food distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa is recommended.