By Lydia Gichuki
As Kenya has moved into the double restriction of a dusk-to-dawn curfew, and the lockdown and banning of movement in and out of Nairobi and other cities, food transporters have been classed as essential services, meaning they can enter and exit the lock-downed cities and travel at night. But how can farmers and their transporters travel freely to get food to urban dwellers and across the country?
The answer is a permit that is free to apply for and quick to get, from the Horticulture Crop Directorate, as it works to resuscitate the country’s food supply chain into our cities. Farmers need to get a permit and a sticker that will be valid until the vehicle’s license expires.
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To acquire this permit, a farmer must first register for a license as a distributor with the Horticulture Crop Directorate (HCD) by visiting offices near them and filling in registration forms,PS1 and Horticultural Produce Marketing Agent forms. The data is computerized and saved in the government data base for fresh produce distributors. The license which is immediately processed attracts a Sh5, 000 annually fee. The farmer is then issued with a license number and a fresh produce sticker to attach to the vehicle.
After registration the application is easy and free of charge
County Manager Horticulture Crop Directorate (HCD) Trans-Nzoia County, Mr. James Ngososei, explains that farmers need to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It must have the subject line: Request for vehicle stickers and driver pass.
The email must give:
Name of farmer
Location of farm
Type of crop grown on the farm
Origin of the cargo
Destination of the cargo
The fresh produce on board – product and quantity
Name of the driver
ID Number of the driver
The HCD will send the pass and a sticker to farmers who cannot get to the headquarter offices via courier services. The pass will have the farmer’s distributor lisence number engraved on it.
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Fresh produce companies
Fresh produce companies must also first register with Horticulture Crop Directorate for a fresh produce distributor license at their nearest offices. To apply the company should send an email to email@example.com.
The subject line must be: Request for vehicle stickers and driver pass.
The email must give:
Name of the company
Origin and destination of the cargo
Produce on board
Name and I.D of the driver
Once the permit and sticker are received, the company must also give the driver a letter or staff ID to show his status with the company that has been given the permit.
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To get a food transport permit, exporters must state that they are exporting in the email and must be registered as exporters and listed in the government database of exporters.
Once the permit is issued, it must be adhered to.
Ngososei warns that giving false information during the application can lead to losses as police officers at road blocks inspect the goods on board before they allow passage. If there is inconsistency the journey is halted.
Farmers and companies must also adhere to the government guidelines. The sticker that is issued with the permit must be clearly displayed on the vehicle. The driver and any assistants must have been named in the application email and must all have letters and IDs showing their designation with the transporting company.
No more than three people are allowed in any food transporting vehicle, and they must be at least 2 metres apart, have sanitizer, and be regularly disinfecting the vehicle.
Photo1 Pick up truck with vegetables
Photos 2,3,4,5 HCD registration forms