Ministry of Education, Guyana

Monday, 09 December 2019 15:55

Regional School Gardening Competition launched

In what was described as a minor part of a much larger project that will pave the way for sustainability and food security, the St. Francis Community Developers (SFCD) in collaboration with Food for the Poor Guyana Inc. (FFTPGI) and the National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) launched a Regional Secondary School Kitchen Garden competition on Friday.

Being held under the theme ‘“Beauty and Productivity-REUSE, RECYCLE AND REPLANT”, the project is open to all the secondary schools in Region 6 and will officially begin in January.
The collaborating partners are hoping the competition can use students as agents of change to improve efficiency in production as they interact with parents and members of the 20191216 45

Speaking before a full audience including the students and teachers from the 17 secondary schools across Region 6, Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture, Valerie Adams-Yearwood heaped praise on the initiative by the partners. She expressed optimism that the competition will achieve its objectives as it helps to promote food security and sustainability while making use of available resources through organic methods.

The Junior Agriculture Minister continued by highlighting the many benefits that can be derived, not only by students but teachers and the wider community, from what may seem like a simple exercise. She encouraged parents and others to help establish their own kitchen gardens as well.

She noted that several qualities that seem to be absent from some youths such as patience, lack of focus, social skills, the ability to work as a team and self-confidence as well as having a comprehensive understanding of seasonality and life cycles are just a few of the things that can be learnt and acquired by simple gardening.
Meanwhile, president of SFCD, Alex Foster, in his remarks, reflected on a visit last year to neighbouring Brazil where he saw what the schools were able to do and was inspired to replicate the same here in 20191216 44

“Students will have a state-of-the-art home economics department in the Region. Schools can have the ability to have a balanced diet to their students, income can be generated for self-sustainability, families can be able to supply organic supplies, agri-department in schools and NGO’s will have gardens that create an enabling environment to allow Guyana and Region 6 to ensure we can have 100% passes in Agri and Home Economics.”

He continued that the programme is holistic, comprehensive, responsive, sustainable and replicable, and once perfected in Region 6, will fan out to the other 9 administrative regions and then everyone will be visiting Guyana to try and adopt the same project to replicate worldwide.

As part of the competition, NAREI will be visiting the schools to provide technical assistance and guidance while FFTPGI will be supplying the tools and equipment needed.
Speaking on Behalf of FFTPGI, Project Manager, Andrea Benjamin said the organisation is pleased to be a part of this historical competition since it involves two critical sectors that the organisation is very passionate about: education and agriculture.

The competition is being run with guidance from the CSEC syllabus for agriculture science and encourages best practices for organic farming and non-conventional farming methods. Each school garden must contain a minimum of any two cash crops, any two fruit crops and two CSEC ornamental plants. Of that, at least one crop must be cultivated using a non-conventional farming system, while schools are required to have a plant/herb that acts as a natural repellant to garden insects, pests and diseases. All beds must be constructed using the CSEC syllabus or the CSEC dimensions and properly labelled.

Judging will be done based on creativity or aesthetics appreciation, use of recyclable and non-recyclable materials, use of available space, cultural practices, use of technology, design and layout as well as use of correct tools and correct technique for transplanting and non-conventional and conventional farming systems.


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