AGRICULTURE Minister Clarence Rambharat praised an initiative by the Feed the Nation TT group to host a drive-through facility to provide seedlings and other food crops to members of the public during the covid19 pandemic. He said this initiative could benefit people in many ways.
Speaking to Newsday after the launch of the event in Debe on Sunday, Rambharat said he was happy to see the long line of cars coming to the facility, with people properly masked and following all covid19 protocols. He said it was the first time that something like that had been done.
"This is their own initiative. It started off as a hunter's group."
Rambharat said he is connected to the group through its activities such as fishing, hunting and rescues.
Feed the Nation is a group comprising the TT Unified Hunters Association, TT Outdoor Life, Angry birds, Hard Grounds Get Soft, Original Old School Hunters and Voice of the Farmers.
"Now they want to do this initiative and we provided the Grown Trinbago seed packages to them and, through donations, they have gotten their own seedlings."
He said, "They now indicated to me that they want to formally partner with the ministry on something like this again and I would be very happy to do that." Rambharat said the seedlings and other food crops being provided to people who used the group's drive-through facility " are mostly for householders, individuals to do their home gardening."
He encouraged people to get back into activities such as kitchen and home gardening during the pandemic.
"Kitchen gardening, home gardening is not just about food, it's about exercise, it is about taking control of what you eat. At a minimum, they have to have some things growing at home"
Rambharat said it is good that members of the public still actively support the various farmers' markets operated by the National Agricultural Marketing Development Corporation (Namdevco). But he added, "They would also have things that they could use from home."
In a video on Facebook, the group said the event was distributing free plants to the public and giving free advice to people who want to start their own kitchen garden "to create sustainability by producing food for themselves and their family during the pandemic."
The group also said activities such as these were positive and educational for children as well, teaching them about how to grow their own food and have families involved in activities together at home. The group said it would be doing similar events in other parts of TT.
The distribution was also praised by people who came to Debe, through Facebook posts.
Simone Browne said, "Well organised, smooth flow, drive-through for collection. This was wonderful.
Don't complain about distance people. I came from Port of Spain. No where is far in Trinidad. We're already starting to put them in the ground. Thank you."
Raytee Khotai said, "A job well done ... blessing to you all."