Linden’s CDC encouraging subsistence farming
- with community seedling nursery
DPI, Guyana, Friday, June 22, 2018
Residents of the community of One Mile Extension, Wismar Linden, are being encouraged to turn to the soil as a means of adapting to the green economy as well as means of sustenance, especially for single mothers.
The Community Development Council (CDC) has established a community seedling nursery through which residents benefit from free seedling distributions as well as practical assistance to start up their very own kitchen gardens. The One Mile Extension CDC seedling nursery is manned by two brothers; Oliver and Cleveland Tappin and former educator Wonda Richmond.
The trio has dedicated their energies to pushing agriculture in the community as well as the entire town of Linden following their collaboration with the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN) to initiate seedling drives every Friday. The trio produces cash crops, permanent crops, citrus fruits and even medicinal seedlings. LEN has been promoting seedling production, especially that of pepper, to meet the demand for agro-processors in Linden who manufacture pepper and other culinary products.
The trio heeded the call by President David Granger for Linden to diversify given the significant scaling down of bauxite mining. The Tappin brothers gravitated to farming, in 2005 when the opportunity to diversify presented itself through and funding through the Linden Economic Advancement Programme (LEAP). Cleveland Tappin said it was the Region 10 Farmers Association which was formed in 2005 that conceptualised the seedling project, which they have continued. Their enthusiasm for agriculture allowed them to visit the twin island of Trinidad and Tobago in 2007 to get a first-hand glimpse of the best seedling nurseries in the Caribbean. They later benefited from a workshop where the very owner of the nursery travelled to Guyana to teach Linden farmers the skills of seedling production.
While it is also a means of living, since the seedlings are sold to farmers around Linden, the brothers along with Richmond dedicate their time and energies to encouraging persons to turn to the soil. “The president spoke about the green economy so we are answering the call,” Cleveland Tappin said.
To produce seedlings which are tiny and very delicate, the process requires patience and care. Richmond fondly described it as giving them TLC to see results and some plants such as celery which usually has a huge demand, takes approximately two and a half months before it is ready to be transplanted.
It entails patience, you have to be very gentle, everything calls for a tender touch because you can break the plant and lose the root also, you must be tender…you talk to your plants, you smile with your plants, you love them….,” she said.
After seedlings are sold or distributed, the trio visits the farmers to ensure that they are seeing results and to give technical guidance when needed. Richmond described it as an interchange of encouragement when they make these calls and the farmers and residents tell them how beautiful their seedlings would have developed. Member of Parliament Jermaine Figueira would continuously provide the brothers with agricultural tools in an effort to see the project expand.
Since the call for the adaption of the green economy, the seedling producers have noted an increase in persons showing interest as well as farmers utilising the seedlings which allow for a quicker process. The National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) also came on board and have engaged the producers on special projects. These include the production of purple cabbage, ginger and sweet corn.
“The demands are getting greater, we go out every Friday in front of the LEN office, and encourage people to get on board. People are excited and motivated to do so, it is increasing all the time,” Richmond said. She added, “We are encouraging you, so we give you free and then we have our senior citizens and single mothers that we give freely to.”
By: Vanessa Braithwaite.
Images: Vanessa Braithwaite.