Citizens can get vouchers from gov’t to buy seeds, tools to start kitchen gardens

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As the global COVID19 Coronavirus pandemic continues to affect many Guyanese, the Rural Affairs Secretariat of the Ministry of Agriculture recently launched its COVID19 Relief Kitchen Garden Initiative.

This initiative, which aims to provide a nutritional balance to families and a deterrence from toxic chemical use harming persons and the environment in a time when maintaining healthy immune systems is a priority, is part of the Ministry’s Rural Entrepreneurial Agricultural Project (R.E.A.P).

Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture with responsibility for Rural Affairs, Valerie Adams-Yearwood while encouraging persons to start their kitchen gardens, said that the Ministry intends to assist persons with their efforts.

“Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, has implemented the R.E.A.P –  Rural Entrepreneurial Agricultural Project, which will be implemented in all Regions of Guyana. The Kitchen Garden Initiative, component two, will see persons receiving assistance to acquire small garden tools, seeds, irrigation and other planting material to get their kitchen gardens going,” Minister Adams-Yearwood said.

(Ministry of Agriculture photo)

With the establishment of the Rural Affairs Secretariat in June 2019, the ministry was able to launch its first Kitchen Garden competition last November in Region Four, more specifically, the East Coast and East Bank of Demerara, in Region Five from Fort Wellington to Bush Lot, Region Six, from Number 53 Union to Kildonan, Region Nine, from Lethem to St. Ignatius and in Region Ten, Linden.

With the success of the previous initiative and preparations for the second leg of the competition underway, Minister Adams-Yearwood made adjustments to the initiative to offer assistance to persons finding it hard to maintain their food supply due to the challenges caused by the COVID19 pandemic.

Minister Adams-Yearwood further stated that with many persons out of jobs, it may be difficult to feed their families with the necessary fruits and vegetables to maintain healthy immune systems.

“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,” Minister Adams-Yearwood said.

(Ministry of Agriculture photo)

She further stated kitchen gardens help persons to save money, reduce their trips to public spaces like markets and supermarkets and promote recreational activities between family members.

Over the past few weeks, other Regional and Agricultural officials have been calling on persons to return to kitchen gardening as a means to ensure their families are fed, especially during crises like the one currently affecting the country.

Persons interested in this initiative can uplift an application form from the security of the Ministry’s head office on Regent Street, their Neighborhood Democratic Council (NDC) Offices or regional agricultural officers. Forms are also available on the ministry’s website at http://agriculture.gov.gy/publications/kitchen-garden-project-entry-form/.

After a verification process, registered persons will be given assistance in the form of vouchers to acquire seeds, small garden tools, irrigation material and other planting materials needed to either establish or improve an established kitchen garden, redeemable at local or Regional suppliers. Closing date for registration is June 6th, 2020.  (Ministry of agriculture)

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