Mbabane: National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBoard) has announced that it will be moving most of its services digital platforms in bid to limit the spread of Covid-19
This was disclosed by NAMBoard Chief Executive Officer Siphephiso Dlamini in a virtual press conference on Wednesday, when announcing the conclusion of a risk assessment process aimed at assisting the organization to effectively identify and manage risks related to the impact of Covid-19 on its strategic delivery and day-to-day operations.
As the COVID-19 cases in the country continue to increase, Dlamini said the company has been compelled to institute a comprehensive risk assessment that include all critical areas in the company’s operations.
The purpose of adopting digital means, according to Dlamini, is to ensure that no part of the 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 them are protected as much as possible given the current conditions.
In the long term, Dlamini said 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. He said these high-risk areas will be monitored centrally allowing for a quick and coordinated response should an issue be identified.
Dlamini announced that a cashless policy for payments has been introduced at all points of sale at NAMBoard offices. He said customers will be required to make payments for permits, inputs and seedlings via Mobile Money, electronic fund transfer (EFT) and debit card facilities which the company has put in place.
To those who have applied for permits, Dlamini said permits will now be delivered to the end user electronically once payment has been made using the digital methods. He highlighted that should a permit applicant be unable to access the internet to receive a license, a facility at the NAMBoard Head Office gate will be arranged for collection only.
Staff engagement and contact
Dlamini said 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. He added that 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.
Nursery and demonstration plots 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.
Social distancing measures will continue to be in place in all market areas and the number of people allowed to enter NAMBoard premises at any point in time will remain limited, he said
Dlamini said NAMBoard will continue to train staff and empower them to correctly carry out the required and urgent safety measures demanded by COVID-19. He said this will be done while also creating a workforce that is sensitized to the importance of taking all the necessary personal protective measures.