St Nicholas college farm aims for self-reliance

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Principal Christina Vunagi (fifth from right) with accompanying teachers.
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BY LORETTA BRIGIDIA MANELE

LIKE every farmer who is delighted at how far their crops have grown, to how much they yield, this sentiment could be nothing short of the reaction given by a school principal and her team of a few teachers who paid a visit to their farm yesterday.

St Nicholas School Principal, Mrs Christina Vunagi and accompanying teachers braved the sun’s gazing heat and thick clustered soil as they toured around their farm in Lungga area.

From a plot of watermelon with vines intertwined, just beside are patches of cabbages laying bare open to the soaring heat and situated in front of the watermelons some of which have reached the harvest stage are two varieties of tomatoes.

To their left, in walking distance is a plot of corn, still in its growing stages yet to bare any fruit, it looks healthy and right next to it, an interesting scene appears. Watermelon and papaya cross planted among each other.

For a two hectare farm, there is more than enough room for more crops to graze the dark rich soil and hinting from the satisfying reactions and brief conversations exchanged under the realm of the beaming sun, the idea seems to have already been considered only awaiting an overall approval before planting tools which once plunged the soil take another dive.

The only problem discussed was water supply and the difficulty it has caused for workers, who tirelessly toil the soil as soon as morning dew steps in and finish off when the sun begins to lessen its warmth and fade, awaiting the dawn of a new day.

This challenge however only motivated the school principal, Mrs Christina Vunagi and head of the tour Mr Leonard Gore to revaluate options to curb the issue.

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Crops aren’t the only tenants of this farm as plans to include poultry and piggery are on the way. With rainy seasons strong effect on the crops, Mrs Vunagi expressed that the two projects will remain solid hence contribute to sustain the farm.

Like a gardener indulged in the aim of beautifying her home with an arcade of flowers by spending time and effort planting, weeding and rooting out unnecessary soil eating grasses so is this Anglican School.

Mrs Christina briefly voiced that after the land was purchased in 1996, it was used as a practical learning site for students taking the Agriculture class.

Today, she speaks a different tune, a more intensive one to say. Mrs Christina said that with the underlying decision to have a more intensive lay out in this land, the farm came into being and will continue to grow.

While gazing out to the sight of the farm right before her, she said that it will remain as a practical learning ground for students and at the same time allow the school to be self-reliant by serving as an income generating project.

Luckily, watermelons have grown to a desirable size and will be harvested for the school’s graduation ceremony which falls this Friday.

A memory perhaps for students of St Nicholas on that day would be having a bite of the watery crop that was grown in their school’s very own farm.

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