Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Micro-Gardens allow low-income families to meet their needs, source of extra income- FAO

Micro-gardens are highly productive and can be easily managed by anyone – women, men, children, the elderly and the disable thus improve extra income for families says Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Banjul office, Madam Perpetua Katepa- Kalala.

FAO boss was speaking on Tuesday, 27th September, 2016 at a day-long Micro-garden seminar, exposition and demonstration held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel. The meeting gathered farmer organisations, schools, horticulturists, extension workers, and the media among others.

According to Madam Kalala, Micro-gardens allow low-income families to meet their needs for vitamins, minerals, and plant protein by providing direct access to fresh, nutritious vegetables every day.  

She adds: ‘they also offer a source of extra income from the sale of small surpluses.’

FAO’s head went to say that Micro-garden technology has the possibility to create jobs in the cities for women and youth while addressing food and nutrition security in urban areas.

According to her, where no land is available, vegetables can be planted in a container filled with garden soil or a ‘substrate’ made from local materials, such as peanut shells, coconut fibre, rice husks, coarse sand or laterite.

FAO boss revealed that, her office in Rome has successfully introduced micro-gardens and urban agriculture in over a thousand major cities in the world including the city of Milan in Italy.

She stated that recently, FAO is implementing a micro-garden project in the city of Dakar, Senegal with a sub-regional outreach programme in Banjul and Kanifing municipalities, the cities of Ougadougou in Bukina Faso and Niamey in Niger.

To boost the overall supply of horticultural produce to the worlds developing cities, she stated that Micro-garden, which is highly appreciated for its high efficiency in terms of land and water use, can facilitate daily access to a variety of horticulture produce for consumption.

 Representing the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Sariyang MK Jobarteh, deputy director, Department of Agriculture, pointed out that FAO has been assisting  the farming communities to improve their production and productivity in order to be self sufficient in food and nutrition security.

Mr. Jobarteh added that, in response to the food and nutrition security, Micro-garden iis another way of cultivating vegetable in soilless method.

‘By growing vegetables in Micro-garden, urban poor grow their own food to improve their own food and nutrition security’ said deputy director Jobarteh.

He told his audience that for one to be successful in Micro-garden, there is need for established outset training and demonstration and engaged public and private sector support services.

Buttressing further, Mr. Jobarteh said that Micro-gardening can enhance food security in several ways saying that families would have direct access to a diversity of fresh nutritionally-rich foods, save on food bill, earn extra income from sales of excess garden products and have contingency provision such as chillies and tomatoes during seasonal learn periods.

‘We need to revolutionize food production with families and communities becoming more involved in growing their own food. 

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