Nehumambi Primary turns into agriculture hub

03 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
Nehumambi Primary turns into agriculture hub Deputy Minister Davis Marapira and Buhera South Member of Parliament Cde Ngonidzashe Mudekunye launch the Fish4School project at Nehumambi Primary School last week

The Sunday Mail

Theseus Shambare in BUHERA

FOR many, the word “school” evokes images of textbooks, worksheets and traditional learning environments. But increasingly, schools are going beyond this; they are embracing innovative approaches that extend their impact and empower their communities.

A visit to Nehumambi Primary School in Buhera, Manicaland province, revealed the incredible contribution of the recently introduced school business units to school development.

The institution has taken agriculture to another level by implementing Education 5.0. It has become a true reflection of an agricultural hub, which surrounding communities and other schools in the province can learn from.

Despite being situated in a semi-arid zone, the school runs a litany of successful agri-based projects utilising borehole water.

Recently, the school hosted the Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources Department (FARD) at a colourful event attended by learners and members of the surrounding community.

To support the school, FARD donated at least 7 000 sex-reversed tilapia fingerlings under the Presidential Fish4School Scheme being rolled out countrywide.

In an interview with this publication on the sidelines of the event, the fish project chairperson for the school, Ms Longina Makambanga, said: “After having received a donation of a water tank and a pump for our borehole, we came up with the idea to start an aquaculture project. Despite this project being only one-and-a-half years old, it has given us great hope to see this school transform into a centre of excellence.”

Using their limited resources, she said they kick-started the project with 4 000 fingerlings in a single pond.

“Due to our little experience, we did not realise the profits we were expecting after our initial production cycle. This was due to poor management caused by overstocking and lack of knowledge.

“However, those little profits from the 350kg we harvested were beneficial and encouraging to continue. We are targeting to establish at least 10 ponds,” she said.

She is now gaining knowledge in aquaculture from Government experts, which she disseminates to schoolchildren.

“This project is for the learners, and I encourage them to lead from the front as I guide them.

“Learners have been the leading lights in fish farming as they practise what they are taught on a day-to-day basis at the school, which has an enrolment of 860 learners and over 20 teachers,” she said.

One Grade Six learner, Presley Dakacha (11), said they had learnt a lot.

“We have a routine between 9am and 3.30pm every day and all of us had to budget time to make sure that the fish were not neglected.

“Thus, we had a daily management programme where groups of learners would apportion a time slot for cleaning pond water by removing the litter or leaves, checking fish activity, removing dead fish, weeding the edges, siphoning water, replenishing the pool with fresh water and other incidental jobs that make the fish comfortable and safe.

“It was a collective responsibility for us to have a very good product such as the one you see today,’’ she said.

Tilapia is a fast-growing fish species and can be harvested earlier than other fish types, making it more profitable for farmers.

According to Mr Tarugarira Hardlife Munozogara, the school headmaster, aquaculture has enabled the school to grow its income.

“Our market for a start was the local community, which is in need of protein. These small profits led to the birth of apiculture. We currently have 15 beehives, a project we are hoping to expand to at least 50 beehives.”

The school has also started a small livestock project.

“We have ventured into goat keeping and poultry; if resources permit, we are hoping to make all these projects flourish.

“As you know, rural schools do not get more money out of school fees, so these projects are key for our development,” he said.

The school, Mr Munozogara said, is planning to use proceeds from the fish sales to establish an information and communication technology (ICT) classroom.

“We are currently teaching the theory part of ICT since we do not have computers, but if our projects succeed in generating funds, we hope to establish a classroom block specifically for that,” he said.

The model is expected to be replicated in all schools countrywide in order to help them mould learners who are industrious while making schools generate their own income for their development.

Officially launching the Presidential Fish4School programme at Nehumambi Primary School, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Deputy Minister Davies Marapira praised the school for taking education to greater heights.

“I am pleased with the education model you have established here. The ministry will ensure that you get any assistance you might need to make your aquaculture successful through more fingerlings and expertise.

“Good deeds attract good favours. I am also pledging to give you 200 litres of paint and the payment of the labour that will do the job to ensure that what you are doing is complemented by good-looking buildings.”

He also pledged to assist in the establishment of a nutritional garden that will also get free fruit trees from the Presidential programme.

Buhera South Member of Parliament Mr Ngonidzashe Mudekunye pledged to support the school with material to construct more fishponds.

“It will not be good if I leave this place without showing you how happy I am with your hard work. I will provide you with free fishpond liners for the ponds you want to establish.

“Let us make this school a learning centre for surrounding institutions as we aim to replicate this model for the rest of the constituency,” said Mr Mudekunye.


X: @TheseusShambare


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