THE State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) warning of a potential food crisis due to rising population and global warming, combined with the country’s agri-cultural stagnation and reliance on wheat imports, highlights the urgent need for a sustainable solution.
Kitchen gardening offers a viable path forward, tapping into the existing potential of homegrown produce to supplement household diets and reducing reliance on store-bought produce. By growing fresh, healthy produce at home, households can reduce their grocery bills, have more control over the quality and variety of their food, and promote healthy eating habits.
Furthermore, gardening has been shown to have mental health benefits, reducing stress and improving mood. The Agriculture Extension Depart-ment’s promotion of kitchen gardening in the community is a welcome initiative, offering subsidised seeds, guidance and training programmes to households, schools, colleges, universities and vocational training centres.
The community should support this initiative to contribute to a more sustainable and self-sufficient future. The district administration, in collabo-ration with government departments, NGOs, and educational institutions, can organise awareness campaigns using various media platforms to encourage people to start their own gardens.
To extend the horizon of kitchen gardening, incentives, such as free seeds, soil and other supplies can be offered to encourage people to start their own gardens. Women should be encouraged to shoulder the responsibility of producing food through innovative approaches, such as kitchen gardening to overcome the rising food inflation. After all, their counterparts in the rural areas are a major stakeholder in the farm economy.
The media can also play a vital role in spreading the word about kitchen gardening by organising interviews with successful gardeners and showcasing their gardens on local TV channels and newspapers.
Schools and colleges can partner with the initiative by integrating kitchen gardening into their curriculum and organising gardening competitions. Community gardens can be started to promote social interaction, and resources, such as online tutorials and videos, can be offered to support aspiring gardeners.
Social media platforms can be used to share gardening tips, photos and success stories. By working together, the initiative can create a culture of gardening and encourage people to grow their own food. Kitchen gardening can be a simple yet effective solution
to improve food security, enhance nutrition, and promote household wellbeing in Pakistan. Let us go for it.
Saad ur Rehman Saadi
Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2023
Dear visitor, the comments section is undergoing an overhaul and will return soon.