NAIROBI, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Sunday urged national governments to establish a robust food trade regime amid disruptions linked to COVID-19 pandemic.
Peter Munya, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives said that a well-functioning and safe food trading system is key to shield communities from hunger in the COVID-19 era.
"The importance of the global food trade and its contributions to food security puts an obligation on all countries to establish systems to effectively protect human, and animal and plant health while facilitating trade," Munya said in a statement during the world food safety day.
He said that COVID-19 had disrupted global food supply chains while undermining efforts to tackle malnutrition, adding that Kenya is promoting electronic trading of agricultural commodities to minimize negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are encouraging food producers and manufacturers to adopt practices that ensure sufficient supply of safe food while at the same time minimizing negative environmental impacts," said Munya.
Mutahi Kagwe, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Health said that outlets dealing with food and beverages had potential to spread coronavirus hence the need for them to observe high degree of hygiene.
"It is important that all workers handling foods along the food supply chain adhere to hygiene measures," said Kagwe.
Annalisa Conte, World Food Program (WFP) Kenya country representative said that the UN agency is lending expertise on food procurement, transport and storage.
"We want to ensure the county's food systems are safe and efficient to enable people to consume high quality and nutritious foods," Conte said.
She said that WFP has donated and equipped 13 mini laboratories in three counties and trained 230 public health officers in 10 counties to boost testing of lethal toxins in key staples like maize and legumes.
Conte said that WFP has intensified outreach to retailers and agro-dealers to promote food safety.
Tobias Takavarasha, the representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Kenya said that promoting food safety will impact positively on the country's quest to reduce disease burden.
"Conversely, safe food reduces the disease burden from everyone and therefore food safety is everyone's business, "said Takavarasha. Enditem