15 counties benefit from EU Covid-19 food safety campaign

Thursday May 21 2020

A poster with Covid-19 safety message displayed at Afraha Annex market in Nakuru. At least 15 counties in Kenya have received posters bearing Covid-19 food safety messages. PHOTO | RACHEL KIBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


At least 15 counties in Kenya have received posters bearing Covid-19 food safety messages through a project supported by the European Union (EU).

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

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 by the Market Access Upgrade Program (Markup), Unido teamed up with, among other partners, the Ministry of Agriculture and the State Department of Trade to create messages targeting various 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.


Cecilia Thuita, a trader at Nakuru's Afraha Annex market, sticks a poster on her stall. PHOTO | RACHEL KIBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


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 foodstuffs are sold.

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 from across the 11 sub-counties of Nakuru which will receive the posters include Molo, Oloenguruone and Kiratina.

“Covid-19 has largely affected economies of trade and social activities and is also a threat to food safety, thus these posters bear timely messages,” said Ms Njeri, who immediately disbursed a team of workers at the Afraha Annex market to distribute the posters in the outskirts of the central business district.


A poster o one of the gates at Afraha Annex market in Nakuru County. PHOTO | RACHEL KIBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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 a safe distance,” said Cecilia Thuita, an onions and tomatoes dealer.

“The writing is now on the wall for all to see and follow instructions,” she added.

Besides, Ms Thuita did not hesitate to remind her fellow traders that they will have to adhere to the writings on the posters.

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


Traders and customers at Nakuru's Afraha Annex market. PHOTO | RACHEL KIBUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


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 remind her clients on the 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

Trade, Cooperatives and Industry Chief Officer Hussein Aden said traders would also need a 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 of which have been hard hit by the Covid19 pandemic – Siaya and Bungoma.

The posters are targeted to reach over 200,000 people.