MALF’s Nariva / Mayaro Agricultural Office distributes 170 food hampers in 12 months
Between May 2020 and May 2021, staff of the Nariva / Mayaro Agricultural Office of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, would have distributed some 170 food hampers to needy families throughout the County. Such was the revelation of Agricultural Officer for the Nariva / Mayaro County, Ms. Florencia Beckles-Gangaram, as she spoke of her staff’s “Green Hamper” initiative which commenced at a time when the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, had given rise to mitigation strategies, particularly as it related to the provision of basic food supplies to those most in need.
Ms. Gangaram said that at the start of the initiative, recipient-families were identified by 4H Voluntary Leaders of the Nariva / Mayaro County, who relayed the plight of some parents who were struggling to provide food for their children. In recent times she added, charitable organisations (namely, Boos Masjid) and members of staff have assisted in the identification of some of these families, whose identities are kept in the strictest of confidence, given the inconspicuous nature of hamper delivery.
According to Ms. Gangaram, the food crops which comprise the hampers, were produced at the Rio Claro Demonstration Station (RCDS) as part of the County’s annual Programme of Work, which catered for the repurposing of agricultural plots (due to a reduction of scheduled programmes in light of the pandemic) in support of the “Green Hamper” initiative. Such repurposing she added, also acheived the objective of providing hands-on training for both staff and farmers in the sphere of crop production.
The hampers, which are co-ordinated by Agricultural Assistant III, Ms. Ria Balgobin with assistance from the daily rated staff of the County’s RCDS, contain the following: orange, portugal, pineapple, banana, plaintain, moko, cabbage, patchoi, lettuce, pumpkin, cucumber, dasheen bush, cassava, pimento, pigeon peas, celery, chive, shadon beni, sorrel, eddoes, ochro, melongene, string beans, hot pepper and corn. Also included in these are commodities produced in the private home gardens of RCDS’s staff.