The Backyard Gardening Programme Produce Positive Results
Contact: Amanda Faye-Clarke
Thursday, February 16, 2012 – The Agriculture Extension Unit of the Department of Agriculture has documented the success of the second year of one of its most important initiatives. The Backyard Gardening Programme, launched by the Ministry of Agriculture under the SFA 2006 Project, seeks to address the issue of Food Security and the availability of wholesome foods to all citizens by encouraging all Saint Lucians to grow what they eat.
Speaking at the Awards Ceremony this week, to formally close year two of the Programme, Chief Extension Officer Kemuel Jn Baptiste said thus far, there has been a tremendous response from various sections of the population with an increasing number of education and health institutions, household and private agencies realising tangible benefits of utilising innovative ways of cultivating small crops.
The Ministry of Agriculture, he added, remains steadfast in its quest to initiate support for all who wish to participate in the Backyard Gardening Competition, providing the Technical Input through the expertise of its Extension Officers and Marketing assistance when it becomes necessary.
“We all understand the implications of the non-communicable diseases: hypertension, diabetes etc. Part of the whole backyard Gardening idea is to have as a ready supply the herbs and vegetables that are recommended as part of the process that impact and for combating our poor nutrition habits, and thereby building up our resistance as a people. I want to congratulate all of you who participated. We started this initiative as a completion as part of a plan to get you excited. When the competition comes to an end, we hope that process would have established in your minds an opportunity to have a backyard garden that could become a part of a community bartering system, and become an integral part of the Food and nutrition programme.”
Backyard Gardening Programme Co-ordinator, Virnet James said her Division is gratified by the continued enthusiasm of the participants, and has also noted some other notable achievements. Through the Backyard Gardening Initiative, she explained, many households saw a reduction in their food bills, communities, particularly in the rural areas ate healthier, more nutritionally-balanced meals, and as a result, many parents have reported a decrease in the need for medical intervention for their children.
“The Ministry of agriculture and the Extension division can look back at the 2 ˝ years and feel very thankful for the many goals we have been able to meet and achieve. We look forward to continuity and a sustainable Backyard Gardening Program as we continue. Food security is not just for a few, it is for us all. So, the business of food security belongs to us all. Let us continue to look forward to that goal!”
The Award Recipients were honoured in various categories including, Household, and Educational Institution.
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