COVID-19 HEALTH AND SAFETY – TRAINING, COACHING AND DISSEMINATION
COLEACP aims to ensure that smallholders, farmer groups and horticultural MSMEs have the capacity to implement preventive health and safety measures related to Covid-19. We are working to raise public awareness of the coronavirus, how it is spread, the barrier actions to apply, the principles to employ and, most importantly, the new behaviours to adopt to avoid contaminating colleagues, families and communities.
The first step in developing a distance learning course was to define the content, based on World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization recommendations, working with experts in food safety compliance training. The following sections are now available in both French and English:
- Information on the coronavirus and Covid-19
- Practical guidelines on how horticultural companies can integrate Covid-19 measures in their food safety management system
- Private voluntary standards: new requirements, a focus on the BRCGS and GLOBALG.A.P. standard, additional Covid-19 compliance criteria and certification.
As well as basic knowledge on the virus, the resources provide information on good practices that horticultural companies and farmers’ organisations should adopt to continue their activities during the pandemic, as well as how to disseminate barrier gestures within communities of workers and outgrowers. The training also provides tools to support horticultural companies and farmers in applying these measures.
The training is available to COLEACP members and partners on our e-learning platform: https://training.coleacp.org, see “Food Safety: Training on Covid-19”.
The course is aimed primarily at companies and cooperatives that are continuing to produce fruit and vegetables during the pandemic; and at experts/trainers aiming to disseminate the key messages to target audiences in the ACP horticultural sector. The training has also been useful to staff of National Plant Protection Organisations (NPPOs) in charge of phytosanitary control and inspections. So far, 461 individuals have subscribed, including 232 employees of companies/cooperatives; 57 experts, and 92 NPPO staff, among others.
As a follow-up to this online training, COLEACP organises coaching for companies and cooperatives in response to requests, in partnership with the experts who have successfully completed the training. Twenty companies have requested coaching to date; six coaching sessions have already been carried out, and working sessions have been organised for the coaches to share experiences and best practices. Covid-19 training and coaching is now fully integrated in COLEACP’s food safety compliance quality management training.
COLEACP is working with the Panafrican Farmers’ Organization (PAFO) and its regional members to disseminate key messages to public and private stakeholders and rural populations, particularly family farms exposed to Covid-19 risks. COLEACP’s distinctive “cascading” system transmits information from the person acting as first relay, through successive layers among the populations of workers, producers and members of their respective communities. A first online training session for PAFO members and African national farmers’ organisations is scheduled to start in October.
This training will remain open to new participants to ensure companies that have not already subscribed – for example due to the seasonality of their export crop (mango in West Africa, litchi in Madagascar) – can benefit. The number of e-coaching sessions will also be increased.