Massive Turn-Out At Ministry Of Agriculture’s Seedling Distribution Exercise


The Ministry of Agriculture distributed thousands of seedlings today (Mon) at three locations across the Island.

Although the distribution exercise was set to begin around 9am, it was reported that persons congregated at the various spots- Green Castle Agricultural Station, the PDO Building and the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters well ahead of time to get their seedlings.
The seedlings that were distributed includedbutternut squash, season peppers, melons, tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers, and eggplants.
The initiative was designed to encourage more persons to get involved in backyard gardening, especially as the now global pandemic, COVID-19 has posed a threat to economies across the world and will hamper importation and exportation of goods.
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs, Hon. Samantha Marshall states that persons should increase their interest in food security especially at a time like this where the country is being forced to become self-sufficient.
Minister Marshall also mentioned that initially, the seedlings were to be used as part of a special programme to relaunch the backyard gardening initiative, but based on Covid-19 developments, plans have changed.
“We did have the seedlings to launch a more structured program for backyard farming, to re-introduce the backyard farming program, but because everything is happening so quickly , we decided look we have the seedlings so let’s get them into the backyard,” stated Min. Marshall.
Minister Marshall also extended her gratitude to Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), as the ministry worked collaboratively with these agricultural institutions to initiate the distribution.
Senior Agricultural Technician, Mr. Owolabi Elabanjo explained that he hopes that persons will utilize what they have attained and use them to improve food security.

He also urged persons to desist from the use of chemicals when planting these crops, as it will deplete the nutritional value of the commodities.
He also stated that “you can grow your own food to increase food security and reduce the importation bill.”
If persons need guidance with the planting of these crops, Mr. Elabanjo is appealing to persons to reach outto the Agricultural extension officers and backyard garden facilitators who are well trained and can provide the necessary assistance for inexperienced persons.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Colin O’Keiffe stated the importance of persons taking backyard farming more seriously especially in light of COVID-19, where persons are now forced to depend on local produce.
“If we prepare to do our own backyard gardening,we can use our own produce and be better able to provide for ourselves,” stated Mr. O’Keiffe.

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