Chairman of the Farmers Forum, Mr. Marvin Joseph is appealing to persons who have collected seedlings in the just concluded ‘Farm Ah Ya Yard’ Seedling Distribution Exercise, not to let the renewed interest in the initiative fades, especially at this time.
He is asking them to share the progress of the growth of their seedlings up to when the food reaches the plate, by sending photos/videos to this email address– thefarmersforum[email protected].
Persons received a total of ten seedlings during the two-day distribution programme this week and Mr. Joseph noted that these photos/videoscould serve as a source of encouragement to boost backyard gardening and provides a better assessment of the impact that such a programme is having on householders and backyard gardeners in Antigua and Barbuda.
“We want you to share your pictures; once you would have completed receiving your seedlingsand you would have planted them following the instructional videos that are available on the Facebook page, we want you to take pictures throughout the process and send them so that we can have them posted on the facebook page, so that we have a good assessment of how this has impacted persons.”
Joseph added, “when you are harvesting, we want to see that; even when you create your meals from the food you would have harvested, we’d love to see the videos, the pictures of this so that we can take this to another level.”
The Farmers Forum Chairman said that the just completed seedlings distribution project is the first phase of a renewed drive on seedling production and once successful, a second phase will be implemented, but the details are yet to be determined.
“Maybe similar crops, maybe different crops, we are not sure as yet, but this is meant to help households, it’s to allow them to be able to prepare at least a week’s worth of food, so while there may be some concerns that you areuprooting some of the traditional farmers while pushing this programme, no , you are not,because you won’t be able to produce all the food that you would require for a full month each time, so you still would be able to purchase from the farmers, but this gives you a little ease in your personal pocket or enough to share with your neighbor, and it also helps you to understand what the farmers go through themselves in all of this.”
Joseph said that Antigua and Barbuda must use the opportunity in this Covid 19 area to build strategies to boost production to be self–sufficient in food.
“We have to secure ourselves here in Antigua in terms of food security; so it also means the meat farmers- support your local meat farmers not only now in the Covid process, but afterwards because you have a quality product;its fresh and its more nutritious.”
Mr. Joseph noted that most persons may not realize it, but the package date on some of the imported meats indicate that they were slaughtered and frozen for some before reaching the consumer.
Meanwhile, the Farmers Forum President saidthat although he is by no means taking the Covid-19 Pandemic lightly, he is happy to see a rebirth of the way things were, when majorfocus was placed on the widespread use of agricultural produce.
“I’m happy to move around the island and I’m happy with seeing that ‘new’ normal that use to be our normal before. You’d pass and you’d see a farmer set up at the side of the road and persons pulled over to purchase fresh produce from the farmer; they could pick what theywant, they could select what they want, so it’s a renewed norm and I’m happy for that, I’m happy for the farmers and it’s also beneficial to the householders.”
Mr. Brent Georges who was the coordinator for the project from the Ministry of Agriculture’s end, said that putting the seedlings project together was a major undertaking, but with excellent collaboration, he was proud of the outcome.
The Seedlings Distribution programme was a collaborative effort of the Farmers Forum, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Antigua and Barbuda Red, CARDI, the Community Development Division and other volunteers who all made the initiative a success.
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Praise the Lord. This is a wonderful happening in our Nation right in the midst of “a time of trouble” that is stalking the whole world. Once this agriculture thing gets moving, patriotic Antiguans and Barbuda should only purchase local grown fruit and vegetables. Let the other countries get the “foreign stuff”. We can take care of ourselves, thank you. BUY LOCAL. SUPPORT THE NATION. GROW ALL THE FRUIT AND VEGETABLES YOU CAN!!!!!! Eat fish from the sea. Buy eggs grown here. Eat the meat from local raised livestock. FORWARD EVER! BACKWARD NEVER. That is true patriotism.
You know I applaud the effort. But the same thing happens every year at Arborday which should be tomorrow April 24th. You get seedling of trees, bring them home and hope to be lucky when you plant it and grow.
Sorry it doesn’t work like that. Agriculture is a science. And unless we are not educated as to how to grow our seedlings and nurture them, it will be hit and miss. What do the average person knows about the soil he has. What does the soil need for the kind of trees or vegetable you are planning to grow. I would suggest that the ministery does educational program on tv. That is why we have ABS TV for. Not just to show Jamaican artists or USA soap operas. And we need technicians to go in the field, visit these households that have interest in backyard gardens and give them some technical assistance. That will go a long way. I have seen people started and when their plant wither they just give up trying. Once again I’m calling on the folks in the ministry in charge of this program, don’t let all your hard work go to waste. EDUCATE THE PEOPLE.
My understanding is that they do educate the people. I heard Mr. Joseph saying that they include a video to educate the people who came to collect seeds. That’s a start.
@From The Sideline…
You are overlooking a key component in the entire scheme, of things, and this is, the processing of the foods grown, from canning to packaging, since, you will inevitably have surpluses to contend with; since, exporting for the most part will not come into play, except from the Fishing Industry.
This is where, individuals such as yourself, philanthropists, investors need to formulate a Plan to build processing plants, or expand on those already in use. This is a long term goal, but MUST be entertained now!
Saw in the news recently that some slaughter houses in the US are closing because a high number of employees are infected with the corona virus. There is prediction of a world wide food shortages.
It is time the government of Antigua start allowing vast acres of lands in the fertile south of the island, from Green Castle all the way south to be used for agriculture.
What the island needs are large productive farms to feed the nation and even surpluses that can be exported.
What is going to happen to the seedlings handed out when there is no rain and public water is off? Do you think people are going to use there tank water to water vegetable gardens?
The government also needs to provide assistance to individuals to go into poultry and animal farming on a sufficiently large scale to supply the people with eggs and meat so as to lessen the reliance on imports.
I can remember as a child my grand parents raised chicken, pigs, sheep, goats and cows for domestic consumption and to sell to the neighbours.
Gone are the days when farmers sold milk to the community. My children think that milk comes from a tin in the supermarkets.
Antigua can be self sufficient in terms of food and can grow organic foods for its citizens.
What is required are managed farms with irrigation provided from reverse osmosis plants.
There is no need for Antigua to be importing food. The government should start thinking of the people because when or if there is a scarcity of food world wide, countries are going to look after their own people first before exporting. Think of the US and PPE.
Think of the huge foreign exchange that is currently used to import food. Maybe this pandemic will lead us to be self sufficient in food production.
There’s a concern in some quarters, as to who is supplying the seeds, and seedlings being introduced into the Ariculture sector.
Are they GMO?
Who’s supplying these seeds?
What of the pesticides, and insecticides being used?
The last time, I checked on pesticides and insecticides at PDO, none, as in not any being supplied by the Government were of an Organic nature.
So when the word, organic is used, in conjunction with the Agriculture sector, antennas need to go up, way way up; and, especially now, that the Chinese have a large say, in the way forward, regarding Agriculture in Our Nation.
All that glitters, is not golden!
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