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To promote kitchen gardens, Delhi govt takes up ‘smart urban farming’

To promote green jobs in the capital, the Delhi cabinet on Wednesday approved the ‘smart urban farming’ initiative, through which it aims to popularise rooftop farming, both for self consumption and as an entrepreneurship venture, officials in the know of the development said.

Following the approval of the cabinet, experts will now be hired on a large-scale basis to conduct 400 awareness workshops and 600 entrepreneurship training programmes across the capital, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

“During our budget announcements, we had taken up a key initiative to promote urban farming. This is a unique project whereby people from all walks of life can start small-scale farming of fruits and vegetables within the confines of their balconies and terraces. The Delhi government will train citizens to grow these plants in the urban setting. We will support urban farmers by providing them with seeds and other essentials,” said Kejriwal on Wednesday.

In the first year, the government aims to help around 25,000 families, with around 10,000 citizens expected to be trained on how to grow vegetables on rooftops for self consumption, while around 15,000 citizens are expected to be trained in taking up home farming as an entrepreneurial venture.

In the general public initiative, 40 master trainers will also be trained by the Delhi government and they will then assist the public and resident bodies across the city in taking forward the project.

“The initiative has been divided into two major components. The first consists of those who want to grow fruits and vegetables for self consumption. Such people will get high-quality, organic vegetables at their homes and thus save on money spent on green groceries. The second group comprises those who want to make a business out of this. This will help many citizens, especially homemakers, gain extra income,” Kejriwal said, adding that workshops will begin at the ward-level.

“We aim to educate and empower 25,000 families through these 1,000 workshops in the first year,” he said.

The objectives of the scheme include the creation of an urban mass food movement, adding to Delhi’s green cover, creating new jobs through entrepreneurship development, providing knowledge impetus in regards to farming and sharing new technology and techniques on urban farming practices.

Under this initiative, residents can grow fruits, vegetables, and plants on their terraces if there is enough sunlight available. Officials said urban farming also aims to ensure that citizens grow produce that is without any pesticides or harmful chemicals.

To further assist in training and coordination, the government will be forming a Delhi environment protection committee. “The committee will include representatives of NGOs, RWAs, environmental experts, MLAs and councillors. The Delhi government will prepare a system to make available the necessary material to people for urban farming,” said a government official, asking not to be named.

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