Creating Awareness on Food Safety Issues Amid COVID-19

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Creating Awareness on Food Safety Issues Amid COVID-19

15 counties have received posters bearing food safety messages across 15 counties, through a European Union (EU) supported project.

This is part of an intensive communication campaign, geared towards informing various stakeholders on food safety issues amid Covid19.

For two months, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) will be carrying out a food safety campaign.

The campaign, which started two weeks ago, has reached out to over 1.2 million people on twitter alone, while more are being reached out through other channels.

Through a project the Market Access Upgrade Program (Markup), Unido teamed up with, among other partners, the ministry of Agriculture and State department of trade to create messages targeting varies stakeholders across the food chain.

Markup is funded by EU, and aims at enhancing market competitiveness and food safety across various value chains including French beans, macadamia, chilli, herbs and spices.

The target audience is food handlers including farmers, transporters, traders, and consumers.

In Nakuru, the posters were received by the county trade office, and distribution started immediately, across markets and other areas where food trade is carried out.

The county acting director of trade, Dorcas Njeri, said distribution would start immediately especially in Afraha Annex and Rhoda markets, which are the largest and busiest.

Other markets which will receive the posters include Molo, Oloenguruone, Kiratina among others, across the county’s 11 sub counties.

“Covid19 has largely affected economies of trade and social activities and is also a threat to food safety, thus these posters bear timely messages,” said Njeri, who immediately disbursed a team of workers to distribute the posters to at the Afraha Annex market, in the outskirts of the Central Business District (CBD).

At this market, traders welcomed the move to have basic cautionary information displayed, saying they were tired of talking to their clients now and then about keeping safe.

“At least now I will not have to keep on shouting to my customers to keep safe distance,” said Cecilia Thuita, an onions and tomatoes dealer, adding, “The writing is now on the wall for all to see and follow instructions,”

Besides, Cecilia did not hesitate to remind her neighbouring traders that they will have to adhere to the writings on the poster.

“Jemimah, I hope you can now read that you will have to keep off my space,” she said, directing the message to a trader who was selling carrots next to her

Another trader, who identified herself as Mama Shiko, said she would not only display the poster at her shed where she sells watermelons, but will actively verbally remind her clients on need for food safety.

“I had never thought of telling my clients to wash fruits when they get home, but reading it on one of the posters has awakened this thought,” said Mama Shiko

Chief Officer in charge of Trade, Cooperatives and Industry Hussein Aden said traders would also need better environment in a bid to enhance better food safety.

“They need better shade and metallic tables to place their produce and ensure protection from harsh weather conditions,” said Aden.

Besides Nakuru, other counties which have received the posters include Mombasa and Nairobi, both which have been hardly hit by the Covid19 pandemic, Siaya, Bungoma, among others.

The posters are targeted to reach over 204,000 people.