The Isiolo County government, in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), has rolled out a traders' sensitisation training on the best food safety practices they should adopt in order to improve food security.
The training, which also focuses on fair trade practices, will ensure preservation of food quality from production, handling, processing, preparation and marketing in order to prevent contamination.
The county Trade department and WFP field officers have started engaging shopkeepers, livestock and agricultural traders from Garbatulla in ensuring consumers of their products access safe and nutritious food that meets the daily dietary needs.
County Trade Chief Officer Ibrahim Chala said unsafe food has devastating effects on businesses and the economy and there is, therefore, a need to invest in a system that ensures the safety of food from the farm to the table.
Boost safety standards
He said the sensitisation will go a long way in boosting farmers' and traders' safety practices to the required standards and also ensure the health of the consumers.
"We want to minimise cases of unsafe food getting into the market and assist the traders to preserve food quality," said Mr Chala.
The World Health Organisation estimates that 600 million people around the globe suffer serious cases of foodborne diseases each year with African economies losing USD170 billion annually due to the illnesses and lost production among other issues.
The traders were on Sunday provided with personal protective equipment, face masks, gloves, detergents and tanks for hand washing to ensure compliance with the Covid-19 health protocols.
A trader, Hassan Golicha, said he was hopeful that the training will boost their returns in the wake of the harsh economic times occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
The training will also address lack of adequate knowledge on modern practices for increased productivity, which continues to affect the agricultural value chain.
Lack of proper marketing strategies, reduced productivity and losses during harvest and flooding of the market with produce, are some of the challenges farmers in the area continue to face.
"The traders will also be sensitised on value addition and post-harvest management practices to prevent losses due to presence of aflatoxin," the chief officer said.
The Isiolo Trade department, in collaboration with WFP, recently undertook a Covid-19 sensitisation programme for traders in Kinna and Garbatulla where they also distributed masks, sanitisers and hand washing facilities.