…As Senegal online food company sees sales double due to epidemic***
A total of 130 trucks conveying foodstuffs were allowed into Zamfara in the last one week by the Presidential Task Team on the movement of food and agricultural products in the state.
The state Chairman of the team, who is also the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Usman Nagogo, disclosed this on Sunday in Gusau.
Nagogo said the team had also facilitated the passage of several trucks of food and agricultural products from Zamfara to other parts of the country.
“We are trying to make sure that the presidential directive to allow foodstuff and all agricultural products, equipment and variety seedlings have complete free movement into or out of Zamfara throughout the COVID – 19 period.
“This Task Team, which comprises all relevant bodies including security, farmers, transporters and the media, swung into action immediately after our inauguration.
“So far, we have facilitated the smooth movement of the food and agric inputs carrying trucks in their hundreds,” Nagogo said.
He stated that while the team had maintained that only three persons would be allowed on such trucks, such persons would have to pass through all available COVID – 19 checks at the entry points before they are cleared to pass.
“We restricted the number to three, comprising the driver, his assistant and a conductor in order to guard against abuse of the lockdown in which some drivers will carry other passengers.
“We have so far turned back several passengers who had no business being in such trucks and we have also warned that we will sanction such drivers that carry passengers through our borders,” he explained.
Nagogo said the team has been visiting the state borders at regular intervals to create awareness among security personnel stationed there to ensure compliance.
While at the Shinkafi border last week, the chairman, on noticing the absence of medical personnel, immediately requested for the posting of health workers along with testing kits and sanitation facilities.
In another development, the Senegal online food company has seen sales double due to epidemic, a welcome boost to a fledgling delivery service in a country where produce is usually bought in shops or markets, a report said on Monday.
Since the coronavirus reached Senegal, a growing number of residents in the capital have begun ordering groceries online.
Report says Club Kossam now delivers milk products, vegetables, fruit and meat to 1,300 households in Dakar per week with monthly sales doubling since the start of the epidemic.
In contrast, the core business of its parent company La Laiterie du Berger (LDB) and local suppliers have been hit hard by the crisis.
The delivery firm sped up a planned expansion of its services in March, when normal shopping was disrupted by a dusk-to-dawn curfew, limits to public transport, and the closure of open-air markets to combat the virus.
According to LDB founder Bagore Bathily, its decision to offer weekly deliveries of vegetables and fruit in addition to the dairy products it had sold since 2016 was a game-changer for the business.
“With vegetables, its clear activity has exploded,” Bathily told Reuters.
Club Kossam’s sales hit 62 million CFA francs (103,000 dollars) in April, compared with a monthly average of 30 million before the epidemic and it has recruited 25 employees to cope with the surge in demand.
In contrast, sales of LDB’s main brand Dolima fell 20 per cent in the same period.
The business is one of 60 in Senegal’s nascent e-commerce sector, according to a UN trade and development report, which highlights efforts by the trade ministry to respond to the outbreak by fast-tracking e-commerce reforms.
“Coronavirus lockdowns are hastening a shift towards online shopping across the continent,’’ African e-commerce giant Jumia said this week.
However, Club Kossam’s Manager, Lucien Diedhiou, sees the trend lasting beyond the end of the epidemic.
“There is a new generation that is changing habits.
“Both men and women work now, so I’m confident Senegalese people will remain interested in our services,” he added.
For now, Club Kossam accounts for around 6 per cent of LDB’s revenue, which amounted to around 5 billion CFA francs in 2018.
Additional reports from Reuters