How Transportation Affects Livestock Marketing in Nigeria

Livestock marketing is an aspect of farm or agricultural marketing that involves taking livestock from farm to consumers in exchange for money. There are different methods of moving livestock from the farm to the market or consumer. The availability and use of any of these methods affect the marketing of livestock. Transportation plays much important role in livestock marketing. Livestock are majorly moved within a country by foot, road transportation and rail transportation. Rail transportation is very safe and cheap livestock transportation system, but it is unfortunate that Nigeria’s rail transport system especially for livestock and cargo is not working.
Alt="Cattle moving on the road"

Types of Livestock

The following are the types of livestock this article covers:

  • Cattle 
  • Goat
  • Sheep
  • Pig
  • Birds (chicken and other poultry animals) 

Livestock Transportation System 

  • Trekking
  • Road
  • Rail
  • Water


Trekking or hoof  is the widely applied means of livestock transportation in Nigeria especially for cattle movement. This is as a result of nomadic system of cattle rearing in Nigeria where the cattle are moved from one location to another on foot to openly graze, and the location where they reach maturity becomes the market to sell them. Although, hoof is the safest method of livestock transportation, it’s mostly suitable if the distance is short. The nomadic system of cattle rearing and by extension cattle transportation affects the quality and quantity of beef and dairy production thereby affecting the market prices of cattle. Cattle, goats, sheep are the livestock that can safely be moved on foot. 


Road transport system is suitable for all kinds of livestock: cattle, goat, sheep, birds and other poultry animals. Different types of vehicles are required for safe transportation of different types of livestock. Vehicles used for any type of livestock must be well ventilated, have covered and non-slip floor. Vehicles for cattle and pig may not have roof but vehicles for goat, sheep poultry animals should have roof because they are allergic to wet and cold. Road system reduces the journey time compared to hoof. But due to poor road network and the states of the vehicles deployed, the journeys last longer than necessary affecting both the health of the animals and the cost of transportation. The cost of fuel following the subsidy removal has skyrocketed the cost of livestock marketing in Nigeria.


Rail transport is another method of transporting livestock. It’s cheaper than road transport and there no much interruptions and stoppages while on voyage. 


Water transportation system is adopted in riverine areas within a country or to move livestock to other countries in trans-border trade 

Effects of Transportation on Livestock Marketing in Nigeria

1. Wide Reach of Markets and Consumers: 

Some livestock are predominant to some regions and would need to be transported to markets in the other regions. For instance, cattle is predominant to the Northwestern and Northeastern Nigeria while the cattle markets (consumers) are mostly in Southern Nigeria. Efficient transportation system is required to the markets. Poor transport system hampers wider reach of markets at cheap prices.

2. Timely Delivery of Livestock Goods Largely Dependents on Transportation

Good and efficient transportation system enables timely delivery of livestock goods. Due to poor road network and transport system in Nigeria, livestock are not delivered in real time. A journey that supposed to last for 6 hours can take 24 hour in Nigeria. The roads are bad, there are too many checkpoints by security personnel, coupled with dilapidated vehicles that are not even road worthy — Some vehicles break down more than twice before reaching delivery point. 

3. Safety and Health of the Animals 

Quality (health condition) of animals determines their market values. Mode of transportation, journey duration impact on the health and safety of the animals. The safety  and healthy of livestock in transit can be affected in following way:

  • By predation and rustling. Animals moving on foot can be attacked or stolen. The prevalent rate of cattle rustling that occurs in Nigeria is as a result of method transporting cattle by herders. 
  • Livestock in long distance journey without enough water my lose or even die as a result of dehydration
  • Trampling and suffocation 
  • Livestock traveling on hoof may eat poisonous plant on the way 
  • They may be injured and the bruises will reduce their market values 
  • When ruminant animals are restricted for long, they develop bloat.

4. Marketing Costs

Marketing cost are all expenses made in the course of marketing the livestock. Spending so much money and time on transportation of livestock increase the marketing costs. Owing to poor transport system and high cost of transportation in Nigeria, cost of livestock marketing in Nigeria is high. Transportation cost takes up to 75% of the marketing cost. 

5. Price

The major cause of high cost livestock in Nigeria outside cost of production is the transportation cost. A cattle that is sold for N100,000 in the North where it's produced, will be sold for more than N200,000 due to cost of transportation and other marketing costs. 

5. Profitability

The effects discussed above affect the profitability of livestock business.

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Ikechukwu Evegbu

Ikechukwu Evegbu is a graduate of Statistics with over 10 years experience as Data Analyst. Worked with Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. A prolific business development content writer. He's the Editor, Business Compiler

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