With the price of food escalating almost daily, many people are starting backyard gardens in efforts to provide food for themselves, their loved ones and to make an income from the sales of some of the produce.
The Megameno Orphanage Home in Katutura now also has its own backyard garden, thanks to the Youth in Agriculture (YIA) organisation that set it up for residents to become self-sustainable and at the same time empower them with agricultural knowledge and skills.
The orphanage is the first beneficiary of the organisation’s recently-launched community gardening and food systems’ project.
Jeremia Shalukeni, team leader at the home, applauded the initiative by the relevant partners, and for their dedication to improve food systems and promote food production.
“Our home is a fine orphanage home, and one with which I am immensely proud to be associated with. Our home takes care of more than 26 children, and we depend on sponsorships. It is, therefore, with great honour and humility that I accept this garden,” he shared.
Shalukeni said they depend on food donations, but going forward, they will be able to produce their own food and hopefully expand their garden.
“Our children have been trained to maintain the garden, and we are grateful for these services,” he observed, furthermore expressing the hope that their smallholder agriculture project grows into a small-scale business.
“To make this vision a reality, we need to channel national and international support into making smallholder agriculture productive and profitable. Only then will smallholders be able to transform themselves into agribusiness entrepreneurs,” he noted.
The YIA’s mission, in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy in Namibia, is to construct backyard gardens to grow food, provide training, raise awareness about the importance of food production, and transfer knowledge on modernised gardening systems.
YIA founder and executive chairman Ndatulumukwa Haikali said the initiative aims to strengthen food systems through promoting technologies that increase productivity, agro-processing and linking smallholder farmers to the market, thereby addressing food and nutrition insecurity at grassroots level.
“To address the limited opportunities facing youth in rural areas, the Youth in Agriculture organisation has been working to empower these young people through curriculum supplementation such as backyard gardening, food system management and transforming agribusiness,” stated Haikali.
He pointed out that these courses are tailored to improve income-generation abilities for vulnerable young children, and transform agribusiness by providing rural youth and young farmers with crop-specific content.
The YIA also shares information on managing and understanding the food system, how to secure and make money in agriculture, knowing the laws, and entrepreneurial and management skills to participate in income-generating activities within the agricultural sector.