Food producers seek govt support to keep supply chain intact
29 Mar, 2020
By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Mar. 29: As the production of food halted with the week-long lockdown announcement by the government, the producers of rice, oil and pulses have urged the government to facilitate the production and supply of the essential foods. "There is no production of food in the last five days. At the same time, loaded and empty trucks are stuck at different locations," said Subodh Kumar Gupta, President of Association of Nepalese Rice, Oil and Pulses Industry (ANROPI) on Saturday. Issuing a press statement, the association has formally requested all three levels of government to coordinate in facilitating the operation of the industry and maintaining supply of the produced goods. Since the trucks are stranded in different locations and drivers have gone to their homes fearing the novel coronavirus infection, a strategy is needed to increase the confidence of the workers and drivers and bring them back to work in order to maintain the supply of food. "The confidence of the workers and drivers must be boosted and their safety and well-being ensured in order to motivate them back to work," said the association. Gupta has urged the centre, state and local government to forge collaboration and cooperate with the industries in operating them. "Operation of industries and supply of food is paramount during the time of crisis. Therefore, we request the government to help us in the same," read the statement. ANROPI has also demanded to facilitate in the supply of the produced food items as Rs 100,000 to 500,000 is needed to run the industry, and there should be an environment for sending money from the market to the producers. It said that the health of the staff and workers in the industries would be taken care of with the provision of sanitiser, masks and other materials and social distancing. "We are ready to produce and supply the food to the market, but without government interventions it is difficult to maintain the production and supply chain," said Gupta. Entrepreneurs said that although the government had allowed the essential business and industries to operate, lack of proper coordination between the government and private sector has created confusion and chaos in the business. Imposing the lockdown, the government had restricted people to go out and asked industries producing essential items like food and cooking gas, and pharmaceuticals, to operate businesses. These measures are put to check the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.