Manzini – The National Agricultural Marketing
Board (NAMBoard) today announced the conclusion of a risk assessment process aimed at assisting the organisation to effectively identify and manage risks related to the impact of COVID-19 on its strategic delivery and day to day operations.
Following the growing number of reported COVID-19 cases in the country, we have been compelled to institute a comprehensive risk assessment of our organization that includes all nine critical areas in our operations. The purpose of the risk assessment process is to ensure that no part of our business processes are left unnecessarily exposed to COVID-19 threats, and that the supply chain runs in such a way that employees, staff, suppliers and others in contact with us are protected as far as possible given the current conditions.
The completion of this process means that the organisation will be better equipped to continue handling the challenges faced by NAMBoard and our stakeholders, in providing an essential service in the face of the pandemic.
SIMAV SHEQ, an independent consultant, was hired to complete the assessment in line with international quality standards including HACCIP
and Global Gap.
Consequent to the risk assessment, a risk mitigation program will be implemented to ensure business continuity and the protection of staff,
customers and other stakeholders as our economy works on coping with the effects of the pandemic. These measures are announced for implementation:
1. Cash Handling
A cashless policy for payments has been introduced at all points of sale at NAMBoard offices (permits, market, input shop and demonstration plot). Customers will now be required to make payments for permits, inputs and seedlings via Mobile Money, electronic fund transfer (EFT) and debit card facilities.
2. Issuing of Permits
Permits will now be delivered to the end user electronically once payment has been made using one of the above stated methods. Should
a permit applicant be unable to access the internet to receive a permit, a facility at the NAMBoard Head Office gate will be arranged for collection only. Assistance in this regard can be obtained from the permits team.
3. Staff Engagement And Contact
All staff are being trained, and continue to support management, in creating a sanitary environment for all stakeholders. These measures relate both to extension services who work behind the scenes in operations and customer facing staff. Some of the steps to reducing transmission will include disinfection of crates, tools and vehicles used in
the provision of daily service to the public. This will assist in safeguarding the supply chain from farmer to customer as far as is reasonably possible.
4. Nursery and Demonstration plots
Access to the nursery and demonstration plot will continue to be controlled in order to limit exposure of sensitive produce, such as seedlings, to any COVID-19 related risk. Despite these restrictions,
customers will still be provided with the information they require to make an informed purchase.
5. Market Visitations
The number of people allowed to enter NAMBoard premises at any point in time will remain limited. In addition to the above, continued provision of standard measures such as sanitizing machines and social distancing floor markings in shop and market spaces will remain in place.
6. Long term measures
In the long term, NAMBoard will implement a digital monitoring system to maintain compliance with COVID-19 policy and risk mitigation plans in high risk areas within its operations. These high-risk areas will be monitored centrally allowing for a quick and coordinated response should an issue be identified.
NAMBoard will continue to train staff and empower them to correctly carry out the required and urgent safety measures demanded by COVID-19. This will be done while also creating a workforce that is sensitised to the importance of taking all the necessary personal protective measures needed in protecting not only themselves but their families, colleagues and others around them.
Finally, NAMBoard is committed to playing its part in providing emaSwati with quality produce and connecting farmers with viable markets for their
goods both locally and internationally. Although COVID-19 has had a considerable impact on our economy and on NAMBoard’s operations, we remain committed to working together with importers, exporters, farmers as well as producers of agricultural products in government’s efforts to
flatten the curve and reduce transmission as far as possible within our sphere of influence.