IN a world where scientists are quite successfully ‘cultivating’ meat, kitchen gardening and growing vegetables for household use is no more a challenge. What makes kitchen gardening more important today than before is the unprecedented inflation in the country.
In addition to saving money, kitchen gardeners can also gain fresh and healthy vegetables, have a balanced diet, and may add to the aesthetic value of their houses.
As per the human body’s nutritional needs, one person should consume at least 300gm of vegetables daily.
Owing to a variety of reasons, however, kitchen gardening is not common in Pakistan. The country imports vegetables worth almost a billion dollars. This is despite the fact that we call ourselves an agricultural country. In doing so, we spend precious foreign exchange on commodities that may well be produced domestically. Moreover, floods and other natural phenomena, which occasionally destroy crops, further deteriorate the situation. If kitchen gardening is practised in different parts of the country on a large scale, the government can meet such situations.
The government, especially the Ministry of Food Security and Research, should intensify efforts in this regard. This can be done in various ways. First, people need awareness about kitchen gardening, such as selection of seeds, preparation of soil, and seasons of different vegetables. Second, people should be motivated to utilise their knowledge and make the most of it. Third, the government may stimulate the initiatives of common citizens by distributing free seeds and seedlings of vegetables as per the seasonal requirement.
As another important measure, the government can conduct free training workshops on kitchen gardening. Coupled with such efforts by the government, other key players, such as media and social activists, may also contribute effectively to make the whole thing come true.
Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2023