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Rethinking support for home-based farming to meet nutritional requirements
22 July, 2020
The ongoing directives to contain the spread of COVID-19 such as social distancing, stay at home and travel restrictions could affect availability of diversified, safe and nutritious food. However, it also provides an opportunity for people to engage in home-based gardening especially for high nutritional value foods (such as fruits and vegetables) that can easily be done on small land around people’s homes. This is important to maintain healthy diets and support people’s immune systems, and positively contribute to the existing nutrition challenges in Africa. Additionally, nutrition programmes such as school feeding and community nutrition centres may be disrupted due to closures. A majority of the households, especially in the rural areas have the required land for home gardens. However, what is needed is education.
Governments could take advantage of this period when people are encouraged to stay at home to promote home-based gardens for identified appropriate high nutritional value crops to contribute to food and nutrition security. Since re-opening of economies is going to be gradual, for those still locked down home-based farming can be practised.
The SDGC/A therefore recommends the following action:
- identify appropriate types and varieties of high nutritive value crops to promote nationwide;
- facilitate access to production guidelines, inputs such as seed, fertilizers and agro-chemicals;
- carry out nationwide campaigns through radio, TV and other networks for home-based production and consumption of locally produced nutritious foods; and
- encourage supermarkets and chain stores to source locally produced nutritious foodstuff to take care of any surplus.
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