National Coordinator, Zero Hunger Commodities, Dr Tunde Arosanyin, has urged the federal, state and local governments to encourage family gardening, as part of efforts to boost food production in the country.
Arosanyin, who is also a farmer, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the adoption of family gardening would also aid efforts to boost the economy of families.
He said that that it would reduce the pressure on existing food supplies by making families to be productive in the food supply systems, rather than being dependent.
He said that backyard or family gardens were relatively small areas around homes which were used to grow food crops such as vegetables for members of a household.
“The practice has been going on for ages but this practice is declining in our region for obvious reasons. We often presume food can always be obtained from the open market. Some questions that often bother our minds are: why should we waste time to grow our own food in a garden? Or do we have the time to work on a garden?
“However, we strongly recommend the establishment of backyard gardens due to certain reasons, including the need to survive in the current climate change scenario that has led to food shortages,’’ he said.
Besides, Arosanyin said that family gardens were a good source of fresh and organic foods, adding that family gardens were also very manageable, as organic means could be used to control plant pests and diseases in the gardens.
“In family gardens, you very sure of the quality of the food you are producing and you have a total control over the quality. But you cannot be so sure of the quality of what is produced out there; so, we ought to take advantage of that benefit.
“Family garden supplements family budgets because the expenditure of many families on food, which is usually large, is greatly reduced.
“Families that actively cultivate crops in home gardens are often able to cut down their expenditure on food by about 40 per cent.
“This has been a major incentive for many households to set up home gardens. Some families only need to buy cooking oil and spices, while the remaining foodstuff comes from their gardens,’’ he said.
Arosanyin also said that home gardens could ensure year-round food supplies since the gardens were small in land size, while it was easier to adopt irrigation techniques for the gardening processes.
“Therefore, continuous food supply through the seasons is somewhat guaranteed.
“Family gardening is a kind of pastime that really brings out a lot of creativity in someone.
“The art of planting various crops in the soil, nurturing them and watching them grow by the day before reaching the fruiting stage is obviously a good feeling.
“You would be proud to say at the dining table that `this food is from my garden’,” he added.