Markham Valley Secondary School embrace agriculture for life skills & livelihood sustenance

Pictures supplied.

by planter’s child adventures

About 1400 students at Markham Valley Secondary School are privileged to have teachers and managers who are keen and determined to invest in agriculture as a life skill to equip students for life after school and to sustain them while at school.

This to me is gold. Why? Because it’s time we all change the narrative around agriculture and education in schools.

Instead of giving false hopes to students and encourage them to migrate to towns and cities for job hunting,let’s educate children to grow their own food to sell for income and create jobs for themselves and for those around them.

This mentality that agriculture is hard work and very little money need to change. Agriculture is a lucrative career choice for hard working young people. Teaching agriculture and agribusiness skills to adolescents will build their skills in farming practices and prepare them to become farmers.

This piggery has the capacity to hold 60 pigs.

Why agriculture at school? Agriculture equips young people with life skills for self-reliance. In agriculture students can develop team work skills and value nutrition.

By learning to grow food you can feed your family and create jobs for others.

It’s interesting to learn that students grow aibika, Pakchoi, cabbages, capsicum, taro and pawpaw as part of their assessment in their school garden plots apart from growing for the mess supply. These gardens are an effective way to improve student knowledge and attitudes to food, gardening best practices and nutrition.

The more variety, the balanced and nutritious.

With 7 hectares of arable land to grow crops, breed pigs, raise chickens and feed cows, students can have enough food to eat and this can help the school cut down on mess cost.

Why agriculture? Investing time and resources in agriculture is a long-term solution to cut down on spending and of course drive home a a culture of self-reliance and healthy lifestyle.

Students planting pawpaw in their school garden.

Why rural people? Because change starts here. So many of the problems of hunger, poverty, youth unemployment and forced migration have deep roots in rural areas. If we all invest in small-scale agriculture and inclusive rural development, we can solve these problems.

Markham Valley Secondary School is a rural government school with a student population of 1200 boarders and 200 day students. The school is located approximately 121 km outside of Lae and a day’s trip into town takes about 2 hours depending on road condition.

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