MARIENTAL – More than a hundred residents of Mariental assembled at the Aimablaagte community hall on Sunday to register for participation in a backyard gardening initiative proposed by Hardap Regional Governor Katrina Hanse-Himarwa.
The residents, who will be the first to receive assistance from the government in the form of seeds and other requisite inputs for successful backyard gardening, were informed that most of the preparatory work for the gardening project should be in place before the end of May, when the official launch is envisaged to take place. Speaking at the meeting Hanse-Himarwa emphasized that food production is imperative for achieving food sufficiency as a nation and that is why urban agriculture or food production is so important. “A hungry man is a sick man. A hungry man is an angry man,” the governor said to loud applause. Residents also conveyed their own concerns and singled out high water tariffs as a potential stumbling block in turning the initiative into a success story. They specifically wanted to know how the government would address the situation regarding water tariffs. The governor responded that a steering committee has been tasked to work out measures to be implemented to make the project work. “There are many measures that can be implemented to avail water for gardening. For instance, people can apply water-harvesting techniques. But the committee that was established will inform residents about progress made in this regard,” she said.
The initiative that is expected to kick-off in Mariental will later be expanded to all other towns throughout the region. “I want to see the entire Hardap Region green. Let us stand up and show that we can also plant and contribute towards food security,” the governor said. In developing countries, food security, nutrition and income generation are key motivations for the practice of urban agriculture. In fact, it is well-known that more direct access to fresh vegetables, fruits, and meat products through urban agriculture can improve food security and food safety. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has defined urban agriculture as: [A]n industry that produces, processes and markets food and fuel, largely in response to the daily demand of consumers within a town, city, or metropolis, on land and water dispersed throughout the urban and peri-urban area, applying intensive production methods, using and reusing natural resources and urban wastes to yield a diversity of crops and livestock.
By Hoandi !Gaeb