How homestead garden can help tackle food insecurity — Group

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Homestead farming and the planting of exotic trees can help to tackle the looming food insecurity in the country, a group has said.

The Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation which is promoting the initiative, said it will create healthier and rich food supply, as well as a safe environment for all, as homestead gardening can have significant impacts on food security in the country.

GIFSEP is a non-profit organisation founded on the ideals of environmental education, climate change adaptation and mitigation, renewable energy and sustainable development.

It was established in recognition of the tremendous environmental challenges and the ever-increasing threats arising from the impacts of climate change, which seeks to create environmental and social platforms for job opportunities, improve food security and preserve our environment.

“Alarmed by a potential rise in food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, which could push millions of people into acute hunger, we must therefore collectively act now, not just with our brains but with our hands, to mitigate the impact of food shortages and hunger, has said the homestead garden,” the group’s executive director, David Terungwa, in a statement, Friday.

“It is against this backdrop that GIFSEP is introducing Home Gardening and Trees for Home initiative.”

While urging households to make judicious use of small spaces in their homes for gardens, Mr Terungwa said the idea is to supplement household nutrition with a diversity of vegetables and plants during this pandemic period and post COVID-19.

He described Homestead gardening as a short- and long-term intervention to boast food and vegetable production in communities and households.

Mr Terungwa said the gardens are made using permaculture guild theory.

Permaculture gardening means “permanent agriculture” and it is defined as working with natural forces—the wind, the sun, and water—to provide food, shelter, water, and everything else your garden needs besides plants and seeds.

“And the best part is that it’s all done with the least amount of labour and without destroying the land. Permaculture gardening is a holistic approach to gardening. First, decide how big your garden will be based upon the space you have available for planting.”

The GIFSEP boss said important vegetables and legumes such as pumpkin (Ugwu), spinach, bitter leaf, curry leaves, water leaves, jute leaves, clove, eggplant, okra, tomatoes, pepper among others should be grown.

Trees for Homes, he said, involves the planting of exotic economic and indigenous trees depending on the available space. Trees such as moringa, citrus, mango, pear, coconut, guava, pawpaw among others, he said, could also be planted.

Benefits

Mr Terungwa said some of the benefits one stands to gain from such agricultural practices includes the fact that it provides one with fresh fruits devoid of toxins; provides shade and cool environment, and encourages biodiversity conservation and climate resilience.

Due to plants’ carbon sequestration ability, he said they could also provide toxic-free air to breathe in the environment.

“GIFSEP will offer weekly online training for volunteers, individuals and community educators who will aid the households with space in establishing, planting and maintaining their gardens and trees,” he highlighted.



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