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HIV/AIDS Patients Turn to Kitchen Gardening for Survival

The gardens are normally 10m by 15m in size. The gardens are now a common sight in most of the homes in rural areas. The households grow traditional vegetables like Cabbages, carrots and tomatoes.
08 Apr 2014 19:09

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Faced with lack of funds to purchase food and poor health, HIV/AIDS patients have turned to kitchen gardening.  Kitchen gardening is growing a variety of foods, vegetables and fruits on small portions of gardens behind houses.

The gardens are normally 10m by 15m in size. The gardens are now a common sight in most of the homes in rural areas. The households grow traditional vegetables like Cabbages, carrots and tomatoes.

Ruth Baguma, a resident of Burungu village in Karambi Sub County, says that she was forced to start kitchen gardening after she lost her job. She says that being infected with HIV/AIDS, she could no longer earn a source of income to purchase food for her family.

Baguma says that she decided to utilize her small piece of land behind her house. She now grows cabbages, tomatoes, carrots, and onions. She says that the vegetables also supplement her daily diet, since she is on daily ARV treatment.

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In Karambi village, Geraldine Businge, says that due to her weak health, kitchen gardening is the solution. Businge says that since she is unable to cultivate a large area of land, she deceided to engage in kitchen gardening. She says that unlike the mainstream farming which requires intensive labour, kitchen gardening uses only family labour to grow vegetables like onions, carrots, cabbages. Businge says that she uses less energy to manage and harvest the produce.

Businge also says that in the past, she couldn’t afford to buy food and yet she is on medication. She says that since she started growing the vegetables, she is producing more food, and she feels a lot of improvement and strength to do other things.

Christine Karamagi, the chairperson, National Community of Women Living with Aids (NACWOLA), Kabarole branch says that they are encouraging women to engage in Kitchen gardening since it uses less energy and doesn’t require them to walk long distances. She also says that the vegetables planted keep the patients in good health.

According to Karamagi, without adequate food, some patients cannot withstand the strength of ARV drugs.

 Karamagi also says that last month, NACWOLA carried out a survey which indicated that more than 400 women living with Aids are engaged in kitchen gardening, since it is cheap and lessens the financial burden that would enable the women spend money to purchase food.

Florence Bamuturaki, the Kabarole district secretary for production, says that the district is yet to start a campaign to encourage all households, not to waste their pieces of land and grow vegetables, because they can also be of importance during periods of drought.

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