You are here
Make a pact to plant more of what you eat
In parts one and two of this three-part series on food security, Minister of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs VASANT BHARATH, reminded us that food stocks in developed countries were at an all-time low and that the Caribbean was the most food-insecure region of the hemisphere and at the household level.
The ministry is hoping that its nationwide planting exercise of a host of local fruit, from breadfruit, West Indian cherry, wax apple and chataigne, to pommerac, guava and canistel will encourage our population to follow suit.
Today he tells us of the benefits of the fruit grown in our backyards.
Guava is very healthy and nutritious. Did you know that guava contains more fibre, more potassium and 19 times more vitamin C than apple? Did you also know that guava contains 25 times more vitamin C and four times more fibre than a bunch of grapes?
Wax apple is a good source of iron, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, calcium and other nutrients that are good for your body. It looks similar to a pommerac. The texture is crisp and it has a sweet, spicy flavour. Canistel is very healthy and good for you. It is an improved variety of what was fondly called a penny piece many years ago and it is the size of a large orange. It is yellow when ripe, with a creamy buttery texture, similar to an egg yolk.
Pommerac, crunchy fresh and juicy, is very popular for chows and jams. Chataigne is high in fibre, calcium, folic acid, iron, zinc, protein and vitamins. And all these nutrients are good for proper growth and development for children. It is also low in fat.
Breadfruit is a rich source of fibre and energy. Fibre is important to keep our hearts healthy. Breadfruit also contains vitamin C, thiamin and riboflavin. All these nutrients help young bodies and minds to develop normally. At the national level, our taste palates, having acquired a preference for that which is local, will lead to us asking for these at our markets. What this in turn will do is create a “pull effect” on our local farmers to increase production.
Therefore, on March 12, we launched the National Food Production Action Plan 2012-2015—a plan that was developed in consultation with the national farmers associations and other interest groups. The plan outlines the strategic goals of the ministry in creating a food-secure nation, with its focus on specific commodities.
These included staples (rice, sweet potato, cassava, breadfruit); vegetables (tomato, hot pepper, cucumber, pumpkin, melongene, ochro, dasheen bush, onion), fruits (banana, citrus, mango, pineapple, pawpaw), aquaculture (tilapia), livestock (sheep and goat, dairy goat, dairy cattle) and pulses (pigeon pea, bodi).
The plan also outlines the specific initiatives the ministry will pursue to achieve these production targets. It also provides for a unified direction, aligning resources with national priorities while creating a platform for the Government and private sector to venture into strategic partnerships to effectively mobilise and utilise available land and marine resources, labour, human resources and technology.
You can access our “How to” series from our Extension Training and Information Services (ETIS) Division through our Home Gardening Series, which teaches you in a simple step-by-step process how to grow bodi, hot pepper, seasoning herb, melongene, patchoi, ochro, pumpkin, lettuce, cabbage and tomato, to name a few.
As a matter of fact, in the next issue of our quarterly newsletter, Agriculture Now, we will give you some interesting details on how our cocoa and hot peppers are world renowned. The varieties of our mangoes are innumerable, celebrated over the past three years at the annual mango festival.
Coconut water is our local energy drink. Our bodi, bhagi, pumpkin, cassava, sweet potato and yam are extremely versatile in their cooking applications. Join the national drive to put T&T on your table and eat healthy foods grown right here. Nutrition in its simplest term is defined as eating healthily—consuming an adequate and balanced supply of vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, fibre, minerals, fats and water daily.
Let us make a contract among ourselves to plant more of what we eat so we can nourish our families with healthier and more nutritious choices, grown in our own backyards. After all, having your own vegetable garden is trendy. It is the new “in thing” … didn’t you hear that?
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.