View of Caracas from community of Monte Sinaí, Antímano, Capital District.
Sembrando un País 2nd Season, tour of Monte Sinaí during the realization of the program.
Land with more than 5,000 m2 of extension prepared with ridges and furrows for planting. Monte Sinaí, Capital District.
Interview to Maximino Mero Mero. Sembrando un País 2nd Season.
Orchard of R. Calderón and M. Mero Mero in Monte Sinaí, Caracas.
Onion plants sown in soil improved with organic matter. Monte Sinaí, Capital District.
Clay soil, it is recommended to improve with sand and a little organic matter.
Antímano is one of the 32 parishes that make up the Libertador Municipality of the Venezuelan Capital District and it is surprising that in such an urbanized area there are still spaces that can be used for planting.
On behalf of MinPPAU, the "Sembrando un País" team received information that the Monte Sinaí community is implementing agriculture in different modalities, from sowing in small spaces covered by the courtyards of housing, to spaces that exceed the 5,000 m2 where food is being produced for the community.
In our 2nd Season we dedicated a chapter to Urban Family Agriculture and decided to start from the community of Monte Sinaí located in the Antímano parish of Caracas. We were accompanied by the Journalist of the MinPPAU Maria Romero and the Field Technique of the CIARA Foundation María Isabel Cacharuco, also in our tour of some of the Agro urban spaces of this community we were accompanied by several of the agricultural producers that we interviewed in the program .
It should be noted that moving from one garden to another was not an easy task, but nevertheless our effort paid off as the experiences that occur in this community with respect to agriculture are very positive.
First we have to talk about the garden of Rosa Calderón and Maximino Mero Mero, a couple of urban producers who decided to take advantage of the spaces covered by the front yard and the backyard of their home to produce various crops.
This type of orchards has as main objective to supply food to the family, and in case the harvest are very abundant and there is a surplus, it is traded to the immediate neighbors or other people of the community.
As the spaces are small, they are easy to work with and to attend to, so this type of urban agriculture is highly recommended for retired people, children and adolescents, as well as for people who work in other professions and are interested in agricultural production. To establish this type of garden the first thing that must be taken into account is that when we are in an urban area, the soil is probably not suitable for planting and therefore we have to improve it or replace the sections where we are going to cultivate.
The soil can be improved with organic matter, such as manure, poultry manure, compost, earthworm humus, among others. They are improved with organic matter soils such as sandy or calcareous whose organic matter is very poor. On the other hand, soils with a high content of clay, that is to say yellow or red earth, are not recommended for planting because they get bogged down with rain due to the impermeability of the clay, producing very easily puddles that generally end in rotting of the roots of plants. With the sun these soils are dried to the point of forming lumps of large size and hardness that hinder the penetration of roots in the ground.
In some cases clay soil can be improved by mixing in the same sand (to improve water penetration and root development) and a little organic matter (to provide food for the plants). It can also be replaced by humid soil, that is to say black soil, the section of soil where we will locate our plants, taking into account that to produce vegetables we must replace the clay soil with humid soil at 30 or 40 cm. of depth, since in that space is where the roots of our horticultural plants will be located.
Regarding this point, Mount Sinai has a great advantage for agricultural production, because in this community several soils with good sowing properties are conserved, as well as with large areas whose production is greater and can be distributed to a greater number of people than the production obtained in the family gardens.
So we have the case of Humberto Ramírez, an agro-urban producer of this community who has been cultivating these lands for more than 15 years. On this occasion we met his planting of onions, which has approximately 5,000 m2.
The production obtained in this land by Humberto is distributed to the Wholesale Coche Market, and in turn it is distributed directly to the community in the same plot after being harvested. It should be noted that when cultivating extensively in this type of space, the soil needs to be fertilized with a lot of constancy, because the nutrients of the soil are consumed more quickly, as is the case in the fields.
Likewise we can not fail to mention that just as these spaces exist in Mount Sinai and other communities of the Antímano parish, also in different areas of Caracas and the Metropolitan Area of Caracas there are areas where agricultural production is possible and even economically viable according to the modality of cultivation that is used.
Hills with cultivable spaces in Monte Sinaí, Antímano, Capital District.
Fran Afonso interviewing Producer Humberto Ramírez.
Onion plants with spaces available for sowing in the background. Monte Sinaí, Capital District.
Papaya plant and view of the Antímano parish, Caracas.
It is also worth asking if a capital city such as Caracas, which still conserves a good amount of arable land, could cover the food needs of its inhabitants, taking advantage of this type of space to the maximum. The answer to this question could be "yes", but for this to become a reality it is necessary that this type of activities be consolidated in the conscience of the people, as well as the constant support and the creation of mechanisms of distribution of the production by the State as well as the Regional and Municipal Governments.
We would like to insist on the fact that Caracas still has many wasted or badly utilized spaces to which it can be given better use at the commercial, social, residential and agricultural levels. Likewise, in Venezuela we have already experienced in different times the consequences of being a dependent country with a deficit in food production.
Apart from the fact that we have the possibility of having enough space and sufficient suitable soils in our agricultural areas, it is convenient the agro-urban production, because apart from contributing with the production of fresh fruits and vegetables, it also constitutes the possibility of covering lands or zones vacant with plants that will produce food and oxygen for us.
Sembrando un País 2nd Season Fran Afonso interviewing Field Technique María Isabel Cacharuco.
Spokespeople Youth Network Agro Urban of Monte Sinaí: Ricardo Viloria, Kissbell Gonzáles y Rafael Ferrer.