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Zimbabwe needs resilient food supply chain during lockdown

by Stephen Jakes
23 Apr 2020 at 09:47hrs | Views
Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association have urged the government to provide resilient food supply chain during lockdown to avoid people from streaming out of homes in search of the basics and risking contracting the deadly Covid-19.

In its guidelines document for the lockdown, the association said following the announcement of the lockdown by the President, the food supply chain was negatively affected with the closure of mass markets and vending sites across the country.

"Therefore, the country needs a resilient food supply chain as part of national emergency response strategy to COVID-19 to avoid food supply shocks which may be caused by the lockdown in order to guarantee every Zimbabwean an uninterrupted food supply during and after the lockdown period," rads the guidelines.

"There is an essential need to ensure that all movements of food from farmers to distribution hubs or food markets, and forward movement to vending sites, comply with the strict hygiene requirements and social distancing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic." The association said each vendor must have sanitisers/ potable handwashing facility with soap on their stalls besides the designated handwashing facilities; vendors should regularly sanitise their hands.

"Movement of people into the market should be defined and controlled; Loitering in the market strictly prohibited, No preparation of food to be done in the market, 1 metre distance apart to be maintained, the sale of ready prepared food brought in containers must be strictly prohibited e.g samoosas, all vending should be done at designated vending sites approved by local authorities, vendors must be medically fit and vendors to sell at a distance of 1 metre from the client to promote social distancing and sanitizing hands," it said.

The association said there must always be continuous supply of water, with handwashing facilities with soap provided disinfection of market places by Local Authorities must be done before the opening and after the close of markets to minimise the spread of COVID19 and approved sanitisers that contain at least 70% alcohol must be used.

"All vendors in the food supply chain must be registered by the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA). Improved traceability of food hygiene, improving the quality of food consumed as well as ensuring transparency in pricing, all of which helps ensure food nutrition and combating COVID19."

Government has extended the lockdown by 14 days to May 3.

Source - Byo24News