The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MOAF) in collaboration with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) has sought to renew the “Backyard Garden Programme” initiative. This programme seeks to assist 3000 residents throughout the island, to grow vegetables and herbs in small spaces in their backyards or other community spaces.
The official launch took place at Portmore Heart Academy, Heart College of Construction Services St. Catherine on February 18, 2021, Guest Speaker for the event was the Hon. Floyd Green, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Participants were encouraged to devote a minimum yard space, to produce two to four crops per year such as, pepper, cabbage, tomato, callaloo, pak choi, as well as herbs.
Several objectives were targeted by engaging householders in backyard cultivation of vegetables and herbs. This included:
o To ensure access and to improve the nutritional component of family diet and cost saving
o To increase preoccupation and physical activity of residents through gardening and crop care (especially critical under the conditions when movement of public restricted for COVID-19 prevention)
o To make a contribution to the Import Substitution initiative, especially in the events of food shortage due to impacts of climate change (drought or prolonged rainfall), which might impact on open field production
o To change the mindset of the population towards smart practices of growing their own food using backyard space and developing an appreciation for farming within urban communities
This initiative utilized online application for participation within the programme. Application period was February 19 – 28, 2021. Selected participants will receive:
- Small garden fork and shovel
- Seeds – assorted packs (3)
- Seedling tray
- Seedling mix
Several publications are available on the RADA’s Corporate Website (www.rada.gov.jm) and RADA YouTube as resource materials for backyard gardening.