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Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Local Government, Robert Montague, has announced a new Government initiative to establish food gardens at state-run homes.
The move comes against rising food costs worldwide and the need to ensure food security locally.
“Just under $2 million has been pumped into a project to expand agricultural production in institutional homes. The objective of this project is to establish sustainable food gardens and backyard agricultural ventures by producing vegetables and chicken meat to supplement the diet,” Mr. Montague said.
The State Minister, who was speaking at the official opening of a new female ward at the Westmoreland Golden Age Home on Monday (Nov. 3), said that the pilot for the project will be launched at the Savanna-la-mar-based home.
The pilot, he informed, will be carried out under the guidance of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), with support from the Food and Agricultural Organisation.
Residents of the Golden Age Home, he said, will work with the Westmoreland Association of Street People, to plant vegetables and tubers intercropped with sweet peppers, on a quarter acre of land. Chicken rearing will also be a part of the activity.
Mr. Montague noted that income can be generated for the operation of the home from the sale of excess quantities produced from these gardens. “Residents will benefit from the sense of independence gained from participating in the project and it would also serve as a means of occupational therapy,” he also pointed out.
The new female ward was constructed at a cost of $22 million through funds provided by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sport and Education (CHASE) fund.