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Farming kits to be distributed as gov’t pushes backyard gardening
Sunday, 20 April 2008 In a move reminiscent of the People’s National Party government of the 1970’s, the current Jamaica Labour Party administration has announced a drive to encourage Jamaicans to establish backyard gardens. In his recent budget presentation, Agriculture Minister Dr. Chris Tufton said government will urge Jamaicans to go back to basics by implementing an Urban Backyard Garden Programme. The project is aimed at assisting residents of urban centres to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs in their backyards or community spaces.
Pilot projects will be launched in Portmore and Spanish Town, where local councils will distribute 10,000 free backyard garden kits developed by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority. The kits contain seeds, soil nutrients, planting instructions as well as basic gardening tools. Residents will be required to dedicate 30 square feet of yard space to plant two to four crops per year and they will be monitored over a three month period. The Minister explained that the initiative was prompted by the rising cost of food on the local market. The kits will also be made available to the general public at farm and hardware stores islandwide and will be sold for $1,500 each.