Wed | Jan 24, 2018

National School Garden Programme relaunched

Published:Thursday | November 3, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries J.C. Hutchinson plants a tree on the grounds of the Mocho Primary School in Clarendon. Looking on are Councillor for the Rocky Point Division, Clarendon Parish Council, Winston Maragh (right); Managing Director at Newport Fersan, Dennis Valdez; and students of the school.

The Government has relaunched the National School Garden Programme to boost the provision of breakfast in educational institutions across the island and demonstrate the importance of agriculture to students.

Under the programme, the schools will be provided with seeds, fertiliser, agricultural tools, and irrigation systems.

"We also want to teach the young students that agriculture is good, it is important, and it is one where you can make money," said Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, J.C. Hutchinson.

He was delivering the keynote address at the relaunch of the initiative on October 28 at the Mocho Primary School in Clarendon.

Hutchinson said that each garden would cost about $300,000 to develop and the ministry would be working with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority to ensure the sustainability of the programme.

He said the gardens would serve as demonstration plots for the training of farmers as well as for providing them with technical advice.

One hundred and ninety-six schools have been selected for the first phase of the programme. Newport Fersan will be adopting 13 school gardens and providing nutrient management. The fertiliser manufacturer and supplier will also provide more than $2 million for a school garden competition, which the ministry will be organising.

Managing Director Newport Fersan Dennis Valdez said it was "gratifying to invest in our youth", and the collaboration with the ministry would make a positive impact on youth in agriculture.