LAHORE - Speakers have called for promoting kitchen gardening trend in the urban areas to address the growing threat of food insecurity in Pakistan.

The call was given at a discussion jointly held by Penny Appeal Pakistan and Alif Laila Book Bus Society at a local hotel yesterday. Head of the kitchen gardening initiative LCCI committee Nilopher Sikander, FC Kachi Basti Chairman Zahid Bokahri, Education Additional DP Mian Zahoorul Haq, PHA Director Misbahul Hassan Dar, Assistant Chief of Planning and Development Department Kashif Iqbal, officials concerned, NGO reps, teachers and students joined in.

The speakers stressed the need for address the issues involving the launch of proper kitchen gardening/micro-gardening programme in Lahore. In a rapidly urbanising Lahore, such initiatives need to be institutionalised and implemented to ensure a resilient Lahore for current and future generations, they said and proposed the establishment of centres at different city areas where vegetable seeds, containers and other related equipment for kitchen garden are available.

“In addition to the provision of tools and seeds, people should be given hands-on training to look after the plants. They should also be taught how to garden on rooftops, especially as spare land is not readily available to the majority of the population.  Efforts should be localised first, starting from your own home, to educational institutes, then to the city level, and then onwards to the national level,” they highlighted.

Chairmen of union councils should be utilized as focal people of their community for kitchen gardening and  citizens should be sensitized to the hazards of eating vegetables grown with the use of pesticides, and also to the benefits of growing organic vegetables in their own homes.  Dar vowed to ensure all-out help by PHA for the purpose. Bokhari offered his own home as a place where interested members could learn kitchen gardening.