Back in history | Use farms to pay fees

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The principal of Queen Victoria School, Nacanieli Rika (left), receives his certifi cate from secretary for education and youth Epeli Kacimaiwai. Picture: FILE

Privately-run and committee-owned schools were urged to explore the opportunity of selling their farm produce to help pay boarding fees for their students, according to The Fiji Times of November 4, 1983.

The secretary for education and youth, Epeli Kacimaiwai, made this statement while closing a farm management course at the Fiji College of Agriculture.

The program was sponsored by the ministry of agriculture, the fisheries ministry and the ministry of education and youth.

It was attended by five school farm managers, five school principals and the agricultural extension staff members, The Fiji Times article stated.

Mr Kacimaiwai stressed the important role carried out by the farm managers and how it affected the farming system of these schools.

He commended the farm managers of these government-owned secondary schools for their successful work in meeting the food intake of the students.

“For those farm managers who come from privately-run and committee-owned schools, your farms could be managed to not only supply ample food for your kitchen needs, but to also generate income to subsidise hostel tuition,” he said.

In government schools with farms, the emphasis was on increasing productivity to meet the students’ food needs.

“I must congratulate the farm managers and your respective farm staff in your various schools for the fact that no school has been closed due to shortage of food from its own farm.”

He said institutions were encouraged to close only if there were problems with the water supply, unhealthy conditions, or any other reason because of a lack in the supply of food from the respective farms.

While having a limited supply of land, the schools with farms were successful in supplying food to feed students every year.

“With the gradual increase in the school rolls, there will be a need to always produce more from the same piece of land, therefore, the acquisition by farm managers of the knowledge and skills in the latest development in agriculture and animal husbandry is important in achieving this goal.”

The farm management course at Koronivia focused on having more people from outside ministry of agriculture and fisheries being made aware of the important aspects of farm management because of the country’s dependence on the agriculture sector.