A school in the Eastern Highlands has taken a pro-active approach to feeding itself by growing its own rice.
Asaroka Lutheran Secondary School near Goroka town has gone into dry-land rice cultivation to supplement its food rations.
Principal Aki Olisagave said the school was determined to use its land to grow rice to feed its students and sell the surplus.
He said a trial plot of three hectares had resulted in the harvest of two tonnes of rice.
Olisagave said the school had previously grown its own food during its early years in the 1970s but stopped in the 1990s. “We are using the land to plant rice for self-subsistenance and cutting down cost on food to feed boarding students,” he said.
“We are going in line with the Marape Government in promoting agriculture.”
Olisagave said the school spent K840 per day on rice to feed the students which equated to more than K235,000 every year.
He said the school also invited neighbouring villagers to participate in the rice extension programme to allow them to benefit by growing rice for their own consumption and to sell.
“Ikisauka village, near the school, has ploughed seven hectares of land and farmers are now undergoing training on how to plant rice,” he said.
Olisagave said the school’s 2,300 students would be issued rice seedlings to plant in their villages at the end of the school year.
“In order to go into rice cultivation, they should first know the culture of growing rice, and that is exactly what we are teaching them while they are in school.”
Olisagave said the school planned to launch its rice project on Sept 4.
He said the school had a new tractor that was being used to plough the land for rice growing.
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