SENSITISATION MEETING FOR RESTAURANT OPERATORS, MARKET VENDORS OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, AND AGRO-INPUT DEALERS IN KUMI MUNICIPALITY HELD ON 4th/07/2019 IN KUMI:

Kumi District Farmers Association is a farmer based Association located in Kumi municipality and with structures all over the district and the whole of the new Bukedea district. The DFA has good working and partnerships with other development partners like UNACOH and Kumi District Local Government, on the implementation of the project titled pesticide use, Health, and Environment (PHE). This project is aiming at reducing the negative effects of pesticides to both human health and the environment through the promotion of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and safe pesticide use to our health, and safe Environment in 17 districts of Uganda Kumi inclusive.

It is on this note that KUMI DFA thought it wise to conduct sensitization meeting for the above category of participants in Kumi municipality on 4th of July 2019 in Kumi municipality to further create an awareness on safe pesticide use in Kumi as far as the market vendors of vegetables, fruits, the food we consume on daily basis is concerned for consumer safety, this meeting also brought in the Agro-input dealers, and District local Government officials on board.

Thanks go to UNACOH who facilitated this meeting financially and through knowledge sharing.

Opening remarks by Chairman KUMI DFA:

He after opening prayer welcomed all participants to the meeting and proceeded to say that it is important for us all to be mindful of what we eat that it has to be pesticide-free, and healthy. He commended all the market vendors for accepting the invitation besides their ever-busy schedules, saying that this meeting will not occupy them for more than 2 hours. He called on them to be the Ambassadors of change in society especially on food safety in Kumi and assured them that for further information provision on pesticide safe use, be free to consult KUMI DFA.

Training/ meeting objective:

  • To equip the 150 target participants with knowledge, skills, and also find out their attitudes towards safe pesticide use Health and Environment in Kumi as they do day to day business in the municipality, but only 70 participants were met.

The meeting/ training was fully supported by both UNACOH and KUMIDFA, and it was power projected in a hall that enabled all pictures and other images to be well viewed as even results of previous research findings on water source contamination in Kumi were shown to the participants, some of whom regretted to have seen, and known of such findings. It is on this background that the participants promised to embrace the project and demanded the DFA to organize another meeting at their workplace (Kumi main market) as soon as possible as not all venders could attend the meeting on 4th July 2019.

Discussions:

A number of things were discussed as;

  • Contaminated vegetables in place,
  • Miss use of pesticides
  • Dead meat roasted by some roadside meat roasters in Kumi,
  • Poor disposal of used chemical containers
  • Unsafe application of pesticides
  • Non-consultation of both Agric and Vet officers by farmers
  • Non-observance of pre-harvest/withdrawal period for vegetables.
  • Farmers demanding for high chemical/pesticide doses from dealers against professional guidance.

Recommendations:

  • Further community sensitization to be conducted by Kumi DFA, and let the meeting be held in the market to allow all the vendors to attend, and give their ideas.
  • Restaurant operators, housewives/ all people involved in cooking, should adopt washing tomatoes and all vegetables with warm water before boiling them to minimize pesticide concentration or peel off the skin of tomatoes
  • Closer monitoring and supervision /inspection of all market vendors, Agro-input dealers, and their suppliers by all actors in the value chain
  • KUMI DFA to initiate the issue of a bye-law to regulate the use of pesticides safely in Kumi and inform the district authorities to back it up
  • Enforcement be well implemented by the authorities in place, Agric and Vet Officers in place be well utilized by the farmers
  • Registration of all Agro-input dealers in Kumi be done by district local Government and the DFA (Agro-input dealers database in Kumi developed)
  • Proper disposal of used chemical containers safely from water sources
  • Use of protective gear by farmers during spraying exercises
  • Parish-based community sensitization meetings on safe pesticide use in Kumi be also continued through organized farmer groups.

Closing remarks by the RDC Kumi: (MR. Hussein Kato Matanda)

Thanked Principal Administrative Secretary (PAS) from the CAO’s office for being in the meeting and also doubling as District Pesticide Committee member in Kumi. He was glad to Kumi DFA for embracing the idea of safe pesticide use for the good of our health. He talked about the common occurrence of cancers these days simply due to factors we ourselves are doing wrongly, people eat contaminated food, fruits, and vegetables, because dealers are irresponsible in behavior. Some characters even use chemicals for dead body preservation for preserving meat and other food items but this is very wrong and if offenders are got, the law will take its cause on them.

This early awareness, Kumi DFA and Kumi district are doing, is very important and my appeal to UNACOH, is to continue funding this effort which will save our communities from chemical dangers. Let us all avoid covering our food with Kavera, and try as much as possible to restrict restaurant operators, vegetable dealers in their day to day activities as we all must inform each other. At one time, RDC himself found out that his maid had covered the food with a kavera, talked to her twice, but on the third incidence, he refused to eat the food but only organized porridge for him and his children then sent them to sleep, as he also went to bed. Since then, his family members have never covered food again with Kavera. He told the house that the Bible tells us to forgive and to forget, those who deliberately cheat consumers will be highly punished by God as some of them have killed thousands of innocent people. Let us all be good Apostles of safety in societies where we live and do business, let families be mindful of what they are consuming, wash tomatoes with warm water before cooking, begin this at home and then move out he concluded.

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