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Saturday, 04 December, 2021
HomeThe Big Stories‘Vulnerable’ too dependent on social programmes

‘Vulnerable’ too dependent on social programmes

The heavy reliance on social programmes has led to the lack of success for the government backyard garden effort that specifically targets vulnerable people.
Agriculture Extension officer, Owolabi Elabanjo said that those that the social programmes cater to have failed to fall in line.
 However, he said middle-income households have jumped on board with the backyard garden effort and have been able to supplement their incomes by planting trees.
“Some of them [low-income households] tell us categorically that they can just go to PetroCaribe, they have their cheque every month, I can pick anything from CMC [Central Marketing Corporation]. At the end of the programme, the middle class fell into line saying that ‘if they are not ready then look, I am,’” he noted.
He said the initiative provides avenues for food security.
Elabanjo is encouraging people to exploit avenues for employment through backyard gardening.
“We started from Grays Farm, Villa and Point, then we moved to some areas in Bolans and some other areas where we know we have that category of people in Antigua, and the response we got from some of these people in these areas was not what we were looking for. When we were doing the study again we realised that some of these people  are being [assisted] by social programmes,” he said.
He noted that those targeted households are heavily reliant on social programmes and are not very willing to try to sustain themselves financially.
The extension officer’s comments came ahead of the observance of National Backyard Garden Day which comes up tomorrow.
Elabanjo said that some people have already started enjoying the benefits of backyard gardening and have even hired individuals to do the work for them while they do their regular jobs.
“It has given employment to some people which we really love, and this is what we wanted to happen so that you can get somebody so that the whole thing can flow around, so that whatever money they are collecting from that particular job [it] can be used to do some other beneficial activity to ease our own family,” Elabanjo said.

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