Regional Agri. Officer urges residents to get back to farming

…warns that Region Ten cannot sustain itself should shut down be implemented

REGIONAL Agricultural Officer for Region Ten, Deryck Collins has called upon farmers and residents within the region to get back into farming warning that it is critically important in building food security, said a press release from the RDC.

Collins was at the tine speaking to members of the Regional Health and Emergency Committee. He told the members that increasing food production is pivotally important if the region is to be secure as it relates to adequate food.

“This is very important as while we have a number of farmers, we still must recognize that this situation should allow us to be cognizant that returning to farming is very important. Years ago every household had its own kitchen garden and now is the time to return to those days so as to ensure that we can sustain ourselves adequately and properly,” Collins said.

The Agricultural Officer stressed that the  region food production is not very high now. He stressed that local farmers do not have adequate food to sustain a lockdown.

“As it is right now farmers are doing what they have to do but we must be cognizant that it takes personnel to operate their farms because of the social distancing and other curfew measures implemented. Also, some of the farmers are not going out to work owing to transportation difficulties among other things. If we continue with that trend we will have a curve going down for food production range, but as it stands right now we don’t have enough food should there be a lock down,” he said.

Giving an estimate regarding the current food production, Collins said that the region farmers can only supply residents’ food for a month and half to two months. He said that this is because there is an urgent need for more persons to return to farming. “Currently with the current food production the food that we have can only last about a month and half to two months if there was to be a lockdown. We must remember that most of our planting materials come from out of the region,” he said.

He added, “farmers are currently stocking up right now but the reality is that should there be a lockdown for about three months we cannot survive as most of what we use have to be sourced from out of the region.”

Collins disclosed thar the RDC has embarked to get several farmers into seedling production, stating it is to secure the region. He said that a seedling production being put in place allows anyone to always have access to seedlings and other materials in continuing food production.

He made an appeal to get back to planting in their backyards and other available spaces, declaring that it’s very important. “We need to utilize what we always know and that is to utilize the yard spaces that you have to grow food. We have been reaching out long before this situation urging persons to grow their food, unfortunately its now people are beginning to see the important benefits of a kitchen garden,” he said.

He continued, “we are trying to do is to break the mindset that many have adopted over the years that kitchen garden isn’t important. I want farmers and residents to know that nothing is wrong with having just one crop, planting one crop  you are guaranteed that of a crop in your house so you don’t have to buy that particular crop as you don’t have to go to the market for it”.

He said that its critically important to plant as it helps us in maintaining social distancing urging that the various MOPH warnings is pertinent for all to follow. “I will continue to urge persons to start their kitchen gardens and if you haven’t now is the best time to start as whatever crop you plant you are guaranteed of that food, thus ensuring you are protected from visiting the markets among other places during these times,” he warned.

Responding to fears of not having enough mold and other materials, he said that on a daily basis, a lot of waste is generated from the kitchen, which he said can be used. “It was estimated that on a daily basis ten tons are thrown away by residents  and we can look at the waste that comes  from your kitchen can be used to advance your crop/s as the waste can be converted into fertilizers, thus ensuring that you secure some of the best crops,” he said.


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