Saturday, 10 July 2010

Garden for growth

A new gardening project in Senegal is addressing issues of food security, poverty and climate change.  'Super Vegetable Gardens' are hoping to help small-scale farmers throughout Senegal and in tropical areas around the world.

The 'super vegetable gardens' initiatve has been running in Senegal for just over a year and there are now more than 150 such gardens throughout the country.

It is the result of 30 years of research that was first field tested in Niger in 2007, as a collaboration between the international aid group Pro-Natura and the French firm JTS Seeds.

"It is very, very new. The only obstacle is linked to the type of person taking care of the garden.  It works exceedingly well technically, but you have to spend two hours per day to feed a family of ten people," says Guy Reinaud, president of Pro-Natura.

Each 60-square-meter garden starts with a simple kit - a toolbox for farmers.  Inside is a selection of organic, non-genetically-modified seeds for fruits and vegetables including cabbage, tomatoes, carrots and melons.  The kit also includes soil conditioners, such as fertilizers, and growing equipment, like plastic veils to protect the plants.

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