Ministry seeks to expand agriculture in urban areas
Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Pearnel Charles Jr

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, is aiming to expand the implementation of agricultural practices in urban areas, which will include backyard gardening and vertical farming.

Critical to the ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ campaign is the involvement of Jamaicans in the process of becoming food secure through creating opportunities for self- sufficiency, according to Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Pearnel Charles Jr.

Charles Jr says urban spaces have limited areas for farming, requiring the introduction of techniques to optimise production within what is available.

“Whether it is vertical or hydroponics, there are systems that can be introduced to our urban areas,” he said.

With the Jamaica 4-H Clubs having developed advanced techniques in hydroponics, aquaponics and vertical farming, there already exist systems from which people can learn and benefit.

The Minister also noted that the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) has developed advanced hydroponic systems that are now being used in some schools in St Elizabeth.

“We want people to know that they don’t need to be farming land, they can utilise different techniques to farm their vegetables and small crops,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Charles Jr said the Ministry will be working to expand these programmes with a view to impacting more Jamaicans across the island.

“Part of the ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ linkages and partnerships will include discussions around the use of agriculture in urban areas. We aim that as we develop more in terms of construction, we also integrate the environmental issues and the issues around food security. We want to train our people to be able to make their own food,” Charles Jr said.

The ‘Grow Smart, Eat Smart’ national campaign, which was officially launched earlier this year, was developed by the Government as a strategic response with an aim to establish food security.

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