The government is setting up five lakh nutrition gardens on uncultivated fallow lands and backyards across the country, said Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque yesterday.

The initiative has been taken under a Tk 438 crore project to address any food crisis during the pandemic, he said.

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Its successful implementation will increase food production while meeting the need for vegetables and nutrition for families, Razzaque said. The minister spoke while addressing a workshop on “Establishment of Family Nutrition Gardens in Uncultivated Fallow Lands and Backyards” in Dhaka.

In March, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council approved the “Establishment of Family Nutrition Garden” project, according to the ministry.

“We have to account for every penny of this project, and there must be realistic calculations and evaluations of how much has been achieved through this project,” said the minister.

Besides, there should be a proper evaluation on whether the selected farmers are producing vegetables, others are being encouraged, and their nutritional status is improving from the consumption of vegetables and fruits produced, he said.

About 141,000 family nutrition gardens were set up in 4,431 unions at the cost of Tk 37.36 crore last year, said Razzaque.

According to the ministry, there are about 2.53 crore households in the country, and most of the backyards of these dwellings are unused.

A total of 4.88 lakh gardens of vegetables, fruits and spices will be set up on the unused land of each union and municipality homestead, it said. In addition, 100 community-based vermicompost production pits will be set up to protect soil health and produce healthy, safe crops.

The vermicompost will be used for safe crop production, and it will be possible to involve rural farmers in income-generating activities, the ministry said.

In addition, training and small-scale agricultural machinery will be provided to farmers.   

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