Oct 04, 2015 News
– Thousands of trees planted
Under the theme, “Exploiting our strengths, advancing agricultural developments,” Guyana celebrates Agriculture Month. A significant activity that marks the month is National Tree Planting Day.
On Friday, Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, and his Permanent Secretary, George Jervis, urged Guyana, through the media to make the most of the day.
Cognizant of the fact that investing in a Green Economy has several benefits to not only enhance food security but also to reduce poverty and improve nutrition, Holder placed emphasis on the initiative.
The event is held under the theme, “Plant a Tree for a Green Economy.” It is on the Ministry’s calendar of activities for Agriculture Month 2015.
It will focus on greening the economy with the aim to overcome environmental degradation and economic decline through planting trees.
Alluding to the importance trees play in climate change, the Minister said that every tree planted is another step forward in the country’s battle to save the planet.
He echoed the call for society to have a change in its mindset and come on board with the initiative, not because of the environmental contribution which the country stands to benefit, but the fact that it can reduce energy consumption for air conditioning and making heat less oppressive.
Minister Holder said that tree planting also fosters community spirit and pride, bringing people together for a meaningful purpose that can build bridges and promote the understanding that brings communities together.
As trees grow, they contribute to reducing climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.
Throughout the initiative, the Ministry of Agriculture is committed to planting 150,000 fruit trees, but hopes to have this increased to 500,000 by the end of 2015. The Mayor and City Council of Georgetown will be planting 1000 trees within the municipality.
George Jervis, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, urged everyone to plant a tree. He expressed preference for a fruit tree.
He explained that those unable to find to a tree could access one at the National Agriculture and Research Institute (NARI) for plants at a subsidized price of $100.
He asked that citizens not only plant in their yards and parapets but on the dams in the communities and in every available public place where the tree will not be an encumbrance.
Hugo Chavez Centre plants
The response to the initiative was good. Whether it was as good as the Ministry would have liked is yet to be confirmed.
However, social media was booming, showing several citizens photographing the tress they planted. Even the Ministry of Social Protection jumped on board.
The Ministry said that self sufficiency is critical to reducing poverty and ensuring food security and thus it is embracing, seeking to ensure the homes and care institutions under its mandate are so equipped.
The process began yesterday with the Hugo Chavez Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration at Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice, Region Five. The Centre hosted a tree planting exercise.
Several persons, led by Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence, planted trees in the large compound to kick start an extensive farm that will have fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry to not only supply the centre with food items, but also other homes under the Ministry’s purview.
“Today is symbolic because it’s a fresh approach to improving people’s lives, to improve the lives and productivity of those who reside here, which is in keeping with a main pillar of our campaign theme to improve the lives of every Guyanese,” the Minister said.
She said that it is critical that Guyana is self sufficient, not only to ensure food security, but to reduce our enormous food import bill, something that is proving quite problematic for the Caribbean.
“We are fortunate in Guyana where we can plant and reap fruits and vegetables at our hand reach and we sometimes take it for granted,” she said. In many countries few fresh produce are available.
She noted that the Ministry decided to start with the Hugo Chavez Centre for Reintegration and Rehabilitation because at present the Centre has large land space that is underutilized. The project is receiving the support of the regional administration, as well as residents of the area and the Guyana Force Service, but will be maintained daily mainly by residents of the Centre under the stewardship of Consultant, Carol Smith-Joseph.
Emphasizing that the upkeep of institutions that care for the less fortunate is quite expensive, Minister Lawrence said the move to self sufficiency would help to reduce this financial cost, while at the same time help residents to acquire meaningful skills to be reintegrated into their own homes.
“We not only want to take people off the streets, but we want to give them back their lives and their independence so that they can return to their families and society,” she said.
Similar activities will start at other homes, including the Mahaica Children’s Home, the Minister said.
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