Tamil Nadu

Little farmers reap bountiful harvest

Hard work pays off: Panchayat Union Primary School children at Pallikuppam carrying the pumpkins that were cultivated on the school premises.

Hard work pays off: Panchayat Union Primary School children at Pallikuppam carrying the pumpkins that were cultivated on the school premises.   | Photo Credit: C_VENKATACHALAPATHY

Headmaster, students grow vegetables which go into the menu of mid-day meal scheme

In a narrow space that separates a school building from the compound wall, the headmaster along with his students has just reaped a bountiful harvest. They harvested 13 pumpkins that were organically grown from their small school garden. In fact, they have harvested a total of 25 pumpkins so far since August.

Until two years ago, the Panchayat Union Primary School at Pallikuppam in Madhanur Block was devoid of any greenery, says its headmaster K. Sekar.

“There was not a single plant. As the parents of majority of students are farmers, the students were naturally inclined towards farming. So, to kindle their interest, and make the school green, we started planting saplings, including vegetable and flower bearing plants,” he said.

Last August, they started raising pumpkins in the school’s backyard. “We harvested pumpkins three times since then, and the vegetables were used for consumption as part of the mid-day meal scheme. In the fourth and last harvest on Wednesday, we got 13 pumpkins, and these too will be used for consumption,” he said.

They are also raising ‘avarakkai’ in the garden. The school plans to have herbal plants, and presently has ‘thuthuvalai’, while a flower garden has just been set up with ‘vadamalli’. The garden also has a drumstick tree.

“The campus has many trees that provide shade for the students. Whenever a guest visits the school, we make it a point to plant a sapling. A Member of Legislative Assembly and the District Educational Officer have planted saplings here,” he said.

Water tank

As there was no water facility, they approached the Pallikuppam panchayat, and as a temporary arrangement, a small tank was built. “We also approached the MLA, and he sanctioned ₹three lakh for a borewell, tank and motor,” he added.

While the students took utmost care of the plants, the headmaster along with four teachers of the school pooled in money to appoint a person to water the plants daily and work as a night watchman. “We pay him ₹5,000 a month to ensure that our school is safe and the plants are protected,” he said.

They are planning to use whatever space is available to take up plantation. The students are happy that they reaped a plentiful harvest. R. Varalakshmi, a class V student, is happy about raising plants at her school. “I love to take care of the plants. We water the plants too. Plants make the environment better,” she said. While she wants to raise a mango tree, her classmate V.J. Abhitha, wants to raise a plantain tree on the school campus.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 2:43:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/little-farmers-reap-bountiful-harvest/article22526059.ece

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