MALF supports the youth of Beetham Gardens in their agricultural project
February 22, 2021:- Young residents of the Beetham Gardens community, became the proud recipients of some fifty (50) plants and light gardening tools from the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (MALF), aimed at supporting both the involvement of youth in agriculture and the overall success of the recently instituted, Beetham Gardens’ Agricultural Project (BGAP). The main objective of the BGAP is to expose the community’s youth to a regenerative type of agriculture – syntropic agro-forestry – whilst promoting the overall concepts of environmental awareness and self-empowerment.
The handover ceremony which took place at MALF’s St. Augustine Nurseries in Curepe on Friday 19th February, 2021, was hosted by the Technical Officer (Agriculture) of MALF’s Agricultural Services Division (ASD), Ms. Kay Parkinson and attended by the BGAP’s Youth Leader, Mr. Theous Cudjoe and Community Farmer, Ms. Charlene Woo Ling in addition to a few community participants and/or enthusiasts of the initiative. One such resident of Beetham Gardens, Ms. Kelly Lynch, whose children – Kerwin, Kyron and Keyanna Atkins – are actively involved in the BGAP, said that she was excited about the activity in the area as it offered a real prospect of a lasting legacy. “Someday in the future, my children will be able to see the fruits of the work they have put into this agricultural project and feel good that they were a part of this type of development in their community,” she added.
Mr. Cudjoe – who turns 21 later this year – said he was grateful to MALF and in particular, Ms. Woo Ling, whom he credited as having enabled his team to work towards creating a sustainable form of agriculture as well as the overall beautification of the Beetham Gardens area. He added too that given the fact that the project site was located close to his own home, he was able to attract the participation of his own peers and other like-minded individuals, willing to invest one (1) hour, Monday to Friday, in this very productive and promising vocation.
Ms. Woo Ling admitted too that while the residents’ interests in the Project have wavered from time to time, she was hopeful that they would soon come to appreciate the value of growing their own food economically and free from chemicals and the use of synthetic fertilizers – typical of conventional agricultural forms which many have grown accustomed to.
Friday’s handover of almond, black sapote, carambola, cashew, chataigne, fat pork, primrose and tamarind plants, formed only part of MALF’s overall commitment to donate a total of 270 plants to the BGAP, over the course of the next few months.
About Syntropic Agro-Forestry
Syntropic agro-forestry involves the growing of plant material in one area utilizing the stratification and time things grow, to replicate how nature’s abundant forests grow. It replicates the natural succession of nature and essentially accelerates the process to regenerate soil through biodiversity, without the use of chemicals and synthetic fertilizers.
To do this, the farmer grows some forms of vegetation, which do not produce any usable crops, but contribute positively to the land. These are called “biomass” plants and trees. The farmer also “tucks in” plants and trees that produce a valuable harvest. These are called “target” plants and trees. This combination of vegetation is grown together closely, in a way that is mutually beneficial. The farmer also has a deep understanding of how the vegetation responds positively to pruning and cuts it back at strategic times in order to promote rapid growth.
Depending on the quality of the soil and how the system is setup, this land can be regenerated within months and over time – with some management from the farmer – become partly autonomous and provide its own irrigation, fertiliser, crowd out undesirable plants and resist disease and insect attacks.