By Staff Reporter
More than 120 people in two constituencies in the Omusati region have been introduced to a new gardening technique that will help them live healthier lifestyles.
The training included 47 people from Outapi and between 70 and 80 others from Ruacana and had its focus on people living with HIV/AIDS.
Training covered areas such as how people can fend for themselves and ensure they get nutritious food and home remedies.
Participants were from constituencies where the German Development Service (DED) GTZ, Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) and Omusati Regional Council jointly conducted workshops on how to set up the trench garden. The trench garden involves growing vegetables on a small patch of land using very little water with only very little effort and during the whole year.
It is made by digging soil out of a patch of ground measuring 3m by 1m and filling it up, alternating soil and mulch (compost) until it is full.
The mulch keeps the moisture in and stops weeds from growing.
The special technique prevents water in the soil of the plant bed from evaporating, making it possible to run the garden with only two litres of water a week, which is important especially in areas where people regularly face dry weather conditions and drought.
Any type of water can be used, including water used for washing dishes or clothes.
The two constituencies were chosen as pilot sites for the project because the DED/GTZ have technical personnel advising the Omusati and Ohangwena regional councils on how to strengthen the coordination of HIV/AIDS in the region.
“We wanted to pilot it in a rural area,” said Alexia Krug von Nidda on Friday.
A statement from the DED said special attention was given to people living with HIV and AIDS because nutrition is a crucial factor in delaying the outbreak of AIDS.
“People were invited to learn more about easy methods to stay healthy and live longer so that they can take care of their own lives and those of their families,” said the statement.
Together with facilitators, participants set up a sample bed for demonstration purposes. In addition, participating extension officers from the MAWF and members of support groups were trained and will serve as resource persons.
Von Nidda said the project bought some seeds which will be kept by the councillors of the two constituencies to give to people that have set up their gardens. She added that although the project is mainly aimed at food security, people can also plant vegetables to sell.
As part of the training participants were provided with seeds and advised on how they can grow seedlings and establish a system to secure their supply.
The technique has already been tested in Mozambique and other countries.