Inch by Inch, Row by Row…
—Regional School Gardening Competition launched in Reg. 6
—17 Secondary Schools to participate
—to serve as catalyst for sustainable agricultural production
DPI, Guyana, Sunday, December 8, 2019
Seventeen East Berbice-Corentyne Secondary School will compete in the first of its kind School Gardening Competition which was officially launched at the St. Francis Community Developers Headquarters on Friday.
The competition will be hosted under the theme “Beauty and Productivity-REUSE, RECYCLE AND REPLANT” aims to create an atmosphere that is healthy, exciting and conducive for learning; expose students to a practical stimulating external laboratory where they can interact with nature and learn at the same time; make science more fun for teachers and students where the garden becomes the test site for studies in morphology and physiology in crop production.
Delivering the feature address Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture Hon. Valerie Adams-Yearwood noted benefits to be derived from school gardening such as teamwork, honing of social skills, focus, self-confidence, acquisition of new skills and knowledge of food cultivation. She remarked that students involved in the activity achieve higher grades because the learning is more ‘relevant and hands-on.
Subject Committee Coordinator – Agriculture Science Yonette Crandon explained that the competition will begin in January 2020, and entails two phases of judging. Students are expected to plant any two cash crops, any two fruit crops and two CSEC ornamental plants. She encouraged the students participating to incorporate conventional or non-conventional farming techniques, creativity and ascetics to make the competition more fun and less labour intensive.
Food For the Poor Guyana Incorporated’s Project Manager Andrea Benjamin said the organisation is pleased to be a part of the exercise that involves two critical sectors; education and agriculture and promotes the development of the country.
“Guyana is very fortunate we can practice agriculture on a large scale. Many of our Caribbean brothers and sisters don’t have the same capability. We have rich, fertile soils, so we must utilise these resources to become food secure. I see this competition helping to equip the next generation to ensure that Guyana is food secure… I believe this is an investment also in their future, the future of this region and the country.”
Meanwhile, President of St. Francis Community Developers, Alex Foster noted the school gardening competition “will fit in a larger project whereby they will create a comprehensive programme to ensure that we can have the best project to replicate across the other nine regions in the country…”
To assist the students, tools and tillers were made available to the participating schools. The competition also focuses on a wide spectrum of topics that are part of the CSEC and CAPE syllabus.
Collaborating partners for the initiative include Food for the Poor Guyana Incorporated, ExxonMobil, St. Francis Community Developers, Department of Education Region 6 and National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute.