ISLAMABAD, April 7 : Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) has embarked upon streamlining street food vending with better licensing regime and enhancing hygiene standards. Pakistanis are fond of street food and these vendors are also fulfilling food security demand of a large section of urban poor. This was stated by Syeda Shafaq Hashmi, Administrator MCI, while addressing the certificate award ceremony of the 1st food safety training workshop for street vendors in Islamabad. Administrator, MCI, Ms. Syeda Shafaq Hashmi, organized this training workshop in collaboration with Institute of Food & Nutritional Sciences of University of Arid Agriculture Rawalpindi (UAAR), which is also the advisor of Punjab Food Authority. Ms. Hashmi also conveyed the message of the Chief Commissioner/ Chairman, CDA, Mr. Amer Ali Ahmed, on the occasion that the street vendor’s initiative shall serve as a model to be replicated across the city and country and shall serve to bring street vendors at par with international standards. The training is meant to be transformative for the vendor trainees, as all of them has been in the food selling vocation for years and has never attended such training.
The purpose of the training was to enhance awareness among street food vendors about the food safety and hygiene practices. The participant vendors were trained in maintenance of sanitation during preparation, cooking and serving. The day-long training session covered areas such as food handling, food safety, personal hygiene, cart hygiene, cleaning and garbage disposal. Focus also remained on precautionary measures for reducing the impact of COVID-19 during food and client handling. 14 in number street vendors attended the training, which was the first batch from G-11, Markaz, Islamabad.
MCI, in coordination with Ehsaas, CDA and Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), is also launching the first pilot project for street vendors in Islamabad. These food safety training workshops will be regular feature of the ongoing street vendors’ regularization initiative, where more and more street food vendors will be trained. Mr. Zia Banday, senior fellow, PIDE and focal person for the street vendors’ initiative, informed the participants on government’s efforts of bringing street vendors through adoption of best standards of modular carts, service standards and hygiene practices.
On the occasion, street vendors appreciated government’s initiative of recognizing their status as a legitimate economic player and helping them in enhancing their livelihood capacity through training, provision of improved carts and vending licenses. A number of street vendors, who have been vending for over decade or two, did mention that it is a first time any government functionary has approached them to address their issues through tangible measures on ground.