Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, says that the Backyard Garden project is “up and running” with more than 400 gardening kits already distributed to householders across the island.
He was speaking during a ceremony in Twickeham Park, St Catherine, on Thursday, where 13 kits were handed over to residents of the parish.
The kits contain assorted seeds, a seedling tray, mix and fertiliser to help persons grow vegetables and herbs in small spaces in their backyards or other community space.
More than 2,500 kits will be distributed under the $10-million project, which was officially launched on February 19.
The objective is to strengthen the country’s food security by engaging citizens to grow and consume their food, thereby saving costs, while enhancing their nutrition, health and well-being.
Minister Green said that the project is important in ensuring food security, particularly during the pandemic.
He noted that the response to the initiative has been overwhelming with more than 7,000 applicants, mainly women and youth aged 26 to 49.
He said that persons in urban areas are being targeted for support, as many residents in rural communities already maintain backyard gardens.
“We want to encourage our people in urban spaces to do agriculture and to do gardening, to do containerised agriculture and to help us grow the sector,” he said.
“We want people to go out and farm and to recognise that the future is farming,” he added.
Beneficiaries under the programme are being monitored by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). The agency is providing practical backyard farming tips through its YouTube channel