Ministry of Agriculture launches Kitchen Garden Competition

The Ministry of Agriculture’s will be celebrating Guyana’s 50th Republic Anniversary with a return to a focus on each household being able to contribute to its food needs, through our Kitchen Garden Competition, launched on Friday November 29th, 2019 by Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture Valerie Yearwood.  This competition, while extending to various communities across Guyana, will pave the way for a truly national competition in the ensuing years, but will serve as the launchpad for this effort.

Continuing the tradition of the many firsts that the Rural Affairs Secretariat has achieved during its introduction in the Ministry, this competition follows on the heels of the ‘Agri-cursion’, ‘Agri-ability’, ‘Fam’ of Familiarization Tours to GuySuCo and collaboration by the Ministry of Agriculture with the Demerara Mahaica Health Department to launch the GRAIN-H project.

The Kitchen Garden Competition is intended to stimulate interest in this type of agricultural pursuit of cultivating kitchen gardens by homeowners and small scale gardeners, initially in the regions of 3.4. 5. 6. 9, and 10 respectively.

This effort is in keeping with the Government of Guyana’s Green State Development Strategy (GSDS), that is, the promotion of established kitchen gardens in every household, particularly in rural communities, which has proven to be one of the best methods of achieving these set goals.

The Hon. Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture Valerie Yearwood shared in her remarks at the launching that “to achieve  a goal, we need to want it, create  a plan, believe in it, set a time frame to achieve it and effectively implement it. We must first see the potential of having kitchen gardens in our homes. We must appreciate its benefits and contributions towards the development of our communities and economy altogether.”

She continued her remarks stating that “food is so much more than what is on our plates; it impacts our whole life, thus, it requires much emphasis, research and investment. Family farmers hold a unique potential to move towards more productive and sustainable food systems. For thousands of years, family farmers have been innovating, hence, investing in innovation and family farming is more crucial than ever in attempts to end hunger in our nation. “

“Food is what brings us together, yet not everyone has access to the food they need. Kitchen gardens give us the opportunity to have a healthy, more nutritious and balanced diet at a low-cost, to secure food all year round, and opens an avenue to earn money to sustain our families. It assists too to reduce the risk of many life threatening diseases and to promote good health and wellbeing. “

Minister Yearwood shared that the winners of this competition in each Regional focus area would receive prizes for those adjudged to place first to third, while the Regional winners would go head to head to compete for the overall prizes ranging from G$50, 000,increasing in increments of the same amount to the top prize of G$150, 000 in acknowledgement of our 50th Republic Anniversary celebrations.

“I am very pleased to support this initiative and would like to thank an avid gardener such as Dr. Allen, whose plot of land encourages a love of gardening and enjoyment of fresh, healthy foods, which are so vital to nourishing and maintaining physical health and wellbeing, Minister Yearwood remarked.  “I thank Dr. Allen too for opening his home and garden to us the public for this pivotal initiative. Hopefully, big things will grow in the years ahead.”

Establishing a kitchen garden is simple and there are many opportunities and technical support being offered to the public by the Ministry of Agriculture and its agencies. Please take advantage of the support at hand and together as a community let’s enhance and develop your street, community, region and country.

The competition will run from the 1st of December, 2019 to the 14th of February 2020, and eligible gardeners will be allowed to enter in three categories depending on the size of their gardens: they are small, medium and large scale. Explanations and rules of the competition are available on the Ministry’s website and persons who don’t have access to the internet can uplift forms at the Ministry and all agricultural agencies including NAREI stations, GLDA and NDIA offices in regions 3, 4, 5,6, 9 and 10.