Coronavirus (COVID 19) has disorganized almost every sector of life in the world and Kenya is no exception.
One of the challenges governments are facing is how to reach people in partial lockdown city estates and counties with essential goods that include foods produced by farmers and vital services as well.
In Kenya, the latest areas that the government has imposed a partial lockdowns to contain the deadly virus include Eastleigh Estate in Nairobi and Mombasa’s Old Town which have huge population and key markets for various food products.
Prior, the government had also partially locked down Nairobi Metropolitan area and the counties of Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Mandera restricting the movement of people in and out of the areas.
At the same time the government had to ensure that people in those areas are not cut off from essential goods and services and that farmers and manufacturers of the goods do not incur heavy losses because of the restrictions.
In this light, the authority has put down measures to ensure farmers and traders can ferry their goods to the designated areas to reach the locked-in population without any hindrance by the police. These legal measures are as below:
Farmers, for instance, are first required to send an email to the Horticulture Crop Directorate (HCD) via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The email should specify the purpose which is ‘Request for vehicle stickers and driver pass’.
Other details that the email must address include producer’s name (producer here can be an individual farmer or a company), farm location, type of crop, date of transport, origin and destination of the cargo, name and quantity of the produce on board, name of the driver and his or her assistants (must not exceed three), and finally the vehicle registration number.
HCD will in turn verify the details and issue pass almost immediately in an email that is accompanied with a sticker to be placed on the vehicle.
These requirements also apply to exporters especially for moving their goods from the farm to the ports.
On the day of transport
For the farmers or traders moving essential goods, they should ensure on the particular day of transporting the goods that the following are adhered to:
- The vehicle shall have a poster/sticker/notice pasted stating that the goods or farm produce being transported fall within the purview of essential goods in that particular area. Some of the wordings that can be seen on the stickers include “EXEMPTED GOODS AS PER ORDERS” or “ESSENTIAL MEDICAL SUPPLIES” and the likes.
- The driver and any other person accompanying the driver of the vehicle shall carry with them a valid Government identity proof and a letter from the company, to be presented when required by any authority.
- The driver shall keep a letter from the company stating that the company is engaged in the business of manufacturing, selling, procuring and transporting exempted essential goods as required by the government.
- The vehicle shall also be equipped with all other documents necessary in the normal course of transport of goods.
- Finally and most importantly, vehicles moving the essential goods shall be required to maintain hygiene, sanitation and strictly follow social distancing norms while on transit.
It is important that while both the county and national governments are trying all that is possible to keep the COVID 19 at bay, it is the responsibility of everyone to ensure that they play within the requirements by the Ministry of Health in order to keep safe by not further spreading the virus.