Boost for backyard food growers
farmers will receive starter packs
from the Agricultural Ministry as a means to
fight poverty and improve quality of life.
by Gugu Mzimela
Local garden clubs are to receive start-up packs containing
seeds, fertiliser and production guidelines as part of an
initiative by the ministry of agriculture & environmental
affairs to assist the poor in the face of rocketing food prices.
This initiative is an encouragement to poor communities to
grow their own food, ensuring food security in the future.
It comes shortly after an increase in old age pensions, child
support and foster care grants, which can be used for other
The start-up packs consist of
a VEGETABLE PACK that contains cabbage, spinach, beetroot,
butternut seed and fertiliser; a FIELD CROPS PACK which contains
potatoes, maize, dry beans, lime and fertiliser; and a POULTRY
PACK containing 20 birds, 25kg of starter feed, 25kg of finisher
feed and vaccination ampoules.
Support and production guidelines
will be available to growers as well as broiler chicken growers.
Provincial Minister for Agriculture
& Environmental Affairs, Narend Singh, said: “What we
are trying to do is more sustainable than handing out food
parcels. We are teaching people to fish, not giving them fish.”
The CMDA Spatial Planning Unit
has made a piece of land available to a group of local garden
clubs for this project. Some of these clubs belong to community
health workers who are hoping to use the start-up packs to
set up soup kitchens for the terminally ill.
“I believe that encouraging
people to grow their own food is the correct response to rising
food prices because they do have the capacity to produce significant
quantities. This project should contribute to rescuing them
from immediate need and placing them on the road to sustainability
during these difficult times,” Singh said.
The department has put up R1
million for the project and is also challenging business and
donor agencies to contribute to the campaign. At a cost of
R50 a pack, the department plans to distribute 20 000 packs.
The start-up packs will be administered
through the Urban Agricultural project, an initiative of the
Community Development Unit.