More than 200 backyard farmers have been provided with start-up kits to begin farming projects.
The kits were courtesy of the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources, via Michael Pintard, Member of Parliament for Marco City. The Agriculture and Marine Resources Minister continued the Backyard Farming Program, this past Saturday, April 24.
The kits were distributed to Marco City constituents in an effort to not only provide food security for themselves and their families, but also to engage in entrepreneurship, as so many have already done, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Each year, since the Ministry of Agriculture started the backyard program, during this administration because it is again a program that began many years ago, we, in Marco City, wanted to help support the preparation of plots in the yards of homes throughout our constituency as we have been helping other members of parliament throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Every member of parliament is receiving hundreds of the backyard kits to help their residents.
“Some of these residents have gone on to start community gardens on Grand Bahama, and other islands as well. Some of them are, actually, now commercial farmers and so, this is an ongoing effort to address the food security issue, to make sure that we reduce the amount that we are spending on importing foods from overseas,” said Pintard.
He noted that presently, the cost of importing food from overseas is in the vicinity of $1 billion.
Sharing the contents of the farming kits, Pintard said that a number of exciting items were included.
“We have trays that would allow persons to put their seedlings in; a variety of seeds; a manual that gives direction on how to put together an irrigation system to water your plants; and we have a fertilizer mix, which will also help with the growth of the plants. We also have a medium, which is equivalent to soil, which persons will be able to plant their seeds in. As persons need additional supplies we will continue to supply,” he further disclosed.
With a good response from persons collecting the backyard farming kits during the drive-by distribution in the parking lot of Central Church of God on Saturday, Pintard was questioned on what his ministry intends to do to continue the efforts of encouraging and promoting the initiative throughout the country.
“The pandemic has brought agriculture to the fore. Bahamians recognize that we have to be very careful, not to rely on our development, whether in food security or other areas in other countries. This is but one of the programs designed to ensure that we are food secure and also sovereign; that we are actually able to grow what we eat.
“In every constituency we have made backyard kits available to members of parliament and a number of them have just taken it to another level, developing community gardens of their own, on their own islands.
“It is a wonderful partnership, across party lines, to make sure that we help our people, and shave some costs of their individual food bills. Some of them are now selling what they produce in order to generate revenue in a time where a number of Bahamians need additional employment.
“We are excited and we are encouraged,” concluded the minister.