ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC)— Grenada has launched a Backyard Gardening Programme as part of the island’s coronavirus (COVID-19) Mitigation and Response plan, geared towards the agricultural sector.

A government statement noted that as the island deals with the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the agricultural sector and the national economy, greater focus is being placed on increasing agricultural output at both the commercial and household levels.

“This programme will provide a unique opportunity for over 500 vulnerable households, along with local institutions that have limited and or irregular access to healthy and nutritious foods. Through this programme, the target beneficiaries will receive material support such as seeds and other planting material, small garden tools and labour support,” the statement added.null

It said that the Ministry of Agriculture will also provide drums and tyres to beneficiaries who lack sufficient land space around their house.

“We will provide technical assistance to ensure that the gardens are sustained,” said Agriculture and Lands Minister, Yolande Bain-Horsford during the launch of the programme.

Social Development and Housing Minister, Delma Thomas, in welcoming the initiative, said that food security is a very essential part of national development.

“This initiative is significant now more than ever, as it would allow us to grow what we eat and eat what we grow,” she added.null

The government statement said that the Backyard Gardening Programme emphasises the importance of nutritious food for a healthy lifestyle, while promoting food security and the adaption of Climate-Smart Agricultural practices.

The programme is being undertaken in collaboration with the Climate Smart and Rural Enterprise Programme (SAEP) and its funders at the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

“Climate change and COVID-19 seem to be the new norm. Projects like these are in line with SAEP’s mandate to reduce poverty, build resistance to climate change and promote the best agricultural practices that are climate smart and sustainable,” said SAEP’s manager, Byron Campbell.null

Margaret Wilson, chairman of the board of directors for the Cadrona Home, one of the beneficiaries of the programme,  said a large portion of land has already been cultivated with a wide range of vegetable crops.MORE IN HOME

“This is something I believe in – eating what we grow and growing what we eat. Everything coming from the garden will filter into the kitchen; the chickens that we grow here also, we will use in providing meals for residents.

“With the aid we were given under this programme, we will have little patches. We have sweet potatoes, some sorrel for Christmas, provision and all sorts of local produce that the home will benefit from,” Wilson said.null

The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands said the programme, embodies the same theme as the Food and Agriculture Organization 75th Anniversary celebration of World Food Day, which is “Grow. Nourish. Sustain. Together”.

Source: Jamaica Observer

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