Farming in the fight against Covid-19

Saturday March 28 2020



Michael J. Ssali

Michael J. Ssali 

By Michael J. Ssali

In his address to the nation on Wednesday last week, President Museveni outlined 13 measures to be followed in the fight against the coronavirus. One of them was for everyone to eat foods that strengthen the immune system.

He emphasised eating a balanced diet, about which district medical officers will periodically be guiding us but, at any rate, he mentioned oranges, lemons, and ripe banana.

Food commodities such as fruits, vegetables, among other and others are produced by the farmers which means that farmers have a big role to play in the fight against the new disease.

We shall be relied upon to produce the food items but, as food handlers, we are also expected to practice the highest degree of hygiene and sanitation.

It might not be possible to have standard operating procedures (SOPs) gadgets at every farm but we should expect all farmers to wash their hands more frequently with soap and water as they handle fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs, and other food items intended for sale to the public.

They should avoid sneezing into the foodstuffs and unmannerly habits such as picking their noses to reduce chances of spreading coronavirus.

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Covid-19 has shaken the world and farmers now worry about internationally traded agricultural products such as cocoa, coffee, tea, among a whole range of others whose prices are dropping due to the preventive measures imposed to fight coronavirus.

A quick Google search will indicate that coffee bars in China and many other industrialised countries are currently closed which is bound to reduce the demand for coffee on which over a million households here depend for cash. Unless the disease is brought under control we may see a total lockdown of our towns.

This could then be the end of the markets for our farm products. The mere shut down of beer bars only last week has already caused a drop in the demand for food items such as chicken, eggs, pork, goat meat, and Irish potatoes, not to mention loss of income to the people, preparing the food items for the bar goers.

— ssalimichaelj@gmail.com

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