Guyana’s Ministry of Agriculture’s (MOA) under its Rural Entrepreneurial Agricultural Project (REAP) recently launched the COVID-19 Relief Kitchen Garden initiative with the aims of ensuring food security.
Minister with responsibility for Rural Affairs in the Ministry of Agriculture Valerie Adams-Yearwood last week held a Zoom media press briefing to share the ministry’s vision for the initiative. She noted that owning a kitchen garden saves money and promotes a healthier lifestyle.
“The objective is to ensure food security for families countrywide during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that this is one of the ways food can be secured for all families,” the agricultural minister said.
“With so many persons at home right now, and their limited disposable income, we want to encourage persons to strengthen their immune systems by eating healthily, and engage them in kitchen gardening to grow their own food which is organic and much healthier,” she added.
The Kitchen Garden Initiative has two areas of focus: The establishment and expansions of kitchen gardens and support for small-scale farmers.
“The objective is to ensure food security for families countrywide during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that this is one of the ways food can be secured for all families.”— Minister with responsibility for Rural Affairs in the Ministry of Agriculture Valerie Adams-Yearwood
The Ministry of Agriculture will be partnering with the Ministry of Communities, the Regional and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils, the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, and the Ministry of Public Telecommunications on the initiative.
While acknowledging that kitchen gardens require ample land space, the agricultural minister advised individuals with limited or no land to buy containers or to utilise old buckets, tubs, and even plastic cups to start their organic kitchen garden.
She also observed that kitchen gardens help persons to save money, reduce their trips to public spaces like markets and supermarkets, and promote recreational activities between family members.
“It is important for persons to have access to nutritious fruits and vegetables to maintain healthy immune systems, as these help your body to fight off diseases and viruses. This is one of the benefits of having a kitchen garden — access to a variety of healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables,” Adams-Yearwood stated.
Over the past few weeks, other regional and agricultural officials have been calling on people to utilise kitchen gardening as a means to ensure their families are fed, especially during crises like the one currently affecting the country. The agriculture ministry has also invited schools, religious institutions, clubs and other organisations to participate in the programme.
Interested individuals may pick up forms at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Head Office on Regent Street, their Neighborhood Democratic Council (NDC) offices, or at their Regional Agricultural Offices and their NDC’s. Forms are also available on the ministry’s website http://agriculture.gov.gy/ publications/kitchen-garden-project-entry-form/ and its Facebook page.
Registration for the initiative closes June 6, 2020.