At a fact-finding meeting on Friday, the Avia-Cargo Roadmap Committee, appointed by the Federal Government to examine the decreasing rate of air cargo transportation, kicked off their inquiries in Plateau State, a significant contributor to air cargo transport in the past.
The committee, led by the coordinator, Mr Ikechi Uko, aims to address the dramatic downturn from 25 daily flights from the state to almost none. The meeting, held in Jos to strategies on reviving cargo lifting in Plateau State, was attended by stakeholders from diverse sectors, including the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Export Promotion Council, Tourism Council, Agriculture, and Transportation.
Mr Uko stated that Plateau, as the nation’s food basket and due to its central location, plays a crucial role in Nigeria’s progress. He said, “The focus is on boosting the exportation of agricultural products in the state. If we can get it right in Plateau, then we have solved Nigeria’s problem”.
He pointed out the need to broaden the runway slightly, construct a cold-chain warehouse for fresh farm produces until a plane arrives. Mr Uko further explained that these findings in Plateau would be applied as a blueprint for other states.
Plateau’s Transport Commissioner, Hon. Davou Gyang Plateau, stated that although it is the federal government that should repair the airports, the rewards of reviving the sector would be greatly advantageous to Plateau residents. He emphasized that the state government is taking vital steps to explore ways to enhance the state’s economy, which as he claimed, is hampered by the runway’s limitations.
Local agro producers in the state highlighted some challenges with air cargo lifting, including high travel charges and cheaper imports of similar produce among others.