NATION

More Than 36,000 Seed Packages Distributed By Agriculture Ministry

“Over 3842 packages were also distributed to faith-based organisations, and employees of non-government organisations and corporate entities aimed at people who have been directly impacted by the effects of COVID-19,” Mr Reddy said.
31 Jul 2020 15:41
More Than 36,000 Seed Packages Distributed By Agriculture Ministry
Nandita Maharaj in her backyard garden at Siberia, Labasa on July 24, 2020. Photo: Shratika Naidu

The Ministry of Agriculture has distributed 36,495 seed packages to households across the four divisions in Fiji for the backyard gardening programme.

Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment Mahendra Reddy said this comprised over 16,391 packages to the Central Division, 13,137 in the Western Division, 983 in the Eastern and 2142 packages in the Northern Division.

He explained the total seeds package equated to 307,176 individual seed packets that Fijian households got.

“Over 3842 packages were also distributed to faith-based organisations, and employees of non-government organisations and corporate entities aimed at people who have been directly impacted by the effects of COVID-19,” Mr Reddy said.

“The single biggest benefit of this programme for urban residents is that they have commenced growing their own food in their home garden, supplementing their food and nutrition requirements.”

He said food security was one of the biggest concerns as a result of COVID-19, and the ministry had largely addressed that concern through this programme.

“We have seen an increase in production across Fiji as a result of this programme and prices of produce has dropped, from where it was three to four months ago,” he said.

“The increase in supply is purely because people are now growing vegetables at home utilising the seeds distributed by the Ministry of Agriculture.

“There are a number of responses on the social media of people showcasing their backyard gardens. Many people, who wanted to take up farming have taken advantage of the seeds from the ministry.”

Many people, have returned to the ministry, requesting for information on how to plant certain crops.

“We can say that this level of interest and activity is unprecedented and the ministry is very happy with the success of this programme,” he said.

“During difficult times, backyard gardening allows people to be self-sufficient with food.

“They are also physically engaged in outdoor activities, which contributes to a healthy lifestyle and can become a real family activity.”

He said the next wave of this programme would start from mid-September whereby the ministry would continue to support those in need.

In some cases, people can harvest and store their own seeds from the open-pollinated seeds.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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