SAMBALPUR: Amid rising concern over harmful effects of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in farm produce, at least 10 schools in the district have launched a course in organic farming.
As part of the course, the students are being trained on organic vegetable farming for which kitchen gardens have been developed in each school. The students spend a significant amount of time in farming activities in the kitchen gardens.
Being conducted in association with Desi Bihana Surakhshya Manch, Odisha, an organisation campaigning for organic farming, the course has taken in 80 students of Class IX and X in each school. The classes are held in SUPW period during the week of in the weekends.
Principal of Bhatapura High School in Jamankira block Ratanlal Singh on an average students enrolled in the course produce 20 kg of vegetables of different varieties every day. “These vegetables are being used in the mid-day meals as well as in the hostels,” he said.
Two books have been developed for the course which is divided into 10 theory and as many practical classes. The first book contains topics like farmers and village, women as farmers, farming techniques and elementary knowledge about agriculture while the second one contains information on organic farming, manure and fertiliser, seed production and preservation.
Manch convenor and member of the Bhatpura High School Management Committee Saroj Mohanty said, “The course has been aimed at achieving multiple objectives. While we are making the students aware of the advantages of organic farming, at the same time through practical knowledge on farming we are aiding them with skill development. Working in the kitchen garden is helping them realise the plight of farmers, importance of physical labour and nutrition as well as gender equality as both boys and girls students work together.”