In pursuance of the broader national goal of food self sufficiency

Training: Come the new academic session, students of Tshaphel lower secondary school (LSS) could have a dairy and fungiculture farm of their own.

This is what the school’s agriculture focal teacher, Tashi Tenzin, who is among 20 teachers from 10 districts attending the ongoing crash course on integrated farming at the College of Natural Resources (CNR) at Lobesa in Punakha, plans to do.

Tashi Tenzin became the school’s agriculture teacher in 2012.  He has special interest in agriculture and related subjects.  The school’s agriculture programme has 35 student members.  The school has poultry, piggery and grows vegetables.

“Results have been impressive,” said Tashi Tenzin.

“We’re taught about mushroom cultivation, organic farming with focus on chemical fertiliser, and how to make compost for organic farming to encourage organic farming,” said Tashi Tenzin.  “We’d also get to learn about poultry and livestock, visit piggery, poultry and mushroom farms.”

“Until now, it was difficult to implement farming in schools without training. Now I feel confident to teach what I learnt to students,” said a participant teacher.

CNR’s senior lecturer, RB Chhetri, said that the main objective of the course is to provide basic training on growing fruits, mushrooms and vegetables, organic farming, compose, livestock production, nutrition, food safety, farm budgeting and record keeping, among others.

The training is expected to equip the school focal teachers with knowledge and skills to take a lead role in school agriculture activities and enhance the nutrition supplement in schools.

The teachers were provided with both practical and technical training on vegetable and livestock production.

“If students are taught farming and livestock management, they could take farming as profession after they leave school,” said RB Chhetri.

The World Food Programme and the government funded the course to strengthen food production and nutrition supplementation in school feeding programme and to encourage students to take up farming as career option.

The nine-day course started on January 19. Council for RNR Research of Bhutan (CoRRB) and Department of School Education are conducting the course.

By Dawa Gyelmo, Punakha