Tue | Aug 4, 2020

Backyard gardening on the increase in Hanover

Published:Thursday | May 14, 2020 | 12:05 AMBryan Miller/Hanover Correspondent

WESTERN BUREAU:

With a significant number of the nation’s adult population laid off from their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 containment effort, some impacted residents in Hanover are taking to agriculture, through backyard gardening, to use up the time as well as to produce food for their tables.

Raymond Reid, the parish manager for the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) in Hanover, told The Gleaner that he was pleasantly surprised by the number of requests that are reaching his office for plant seedlings.

“What COVID-19 has brought to the table now is that everybody is trying to do some backyard gardening. We at RADA (Lucea) are operating a seedling nursery, and since the stay-at-home orders, a number of persons who have lost their jobs are coming in (to purchase seedlings), and as such, there is an upsurge in our seedling production – farmers, non-farmers – everybody coming in and buying something to plant in their backyard,” said Reid.

“I hope post-COVID-19 I will see the trend continue because you do not necessarily have to be at home every day to establish a backyard garden,” added Reid.

The RADA parish manager pointed out that the seedlings that his office has for sale, starting from as low as $20 per seedling, include hot pepper, sweet pepper, lettuce, watermelon, cantaloupe, broccoli, pak choi, zucchini and squash.

FOOD SECURITY

Pointing out that there are over 6,000 registered farmers in Hanover, Reid issued a word of advice to all farmers and non-farmers alike, to follow closely the instructions from the Ministry of Health & Wellness and keep themselves COVID-free by keeping their social distance and practising the necessary sanitisation methods.

“I would also like to encourage them to continue to farm because we are going to need the food in the country, for food security is at risk right now, and we cannot do without them (the farmers),” the RADA parish manager pleaded.

While Jamaica has over 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Hanover has the enviable distinction of being the only parish with no confirmed cases to date.