- Teaching children about the importance of agriculture
Teaching children about the importance of agriculture
Taking the famous proverb - "Child is the father of the man"-, seriously, ‘We for Fatorda’ hosted the very first Agriculture summer camp for children.
We For Fatorda and Usha Sardesai, wife of Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai and the other women behind the entire exercise were overwhelmed with the enthusiasm and energy of the kids.
The camp, an endeavour that hasn’t been attempted in the past, lasted for a full eight days with over 120 students learning the art of farming and agriculture by actually getting into the field. Children from different schools of Fatorda constituency aged below 16 years were taught various things about agriculture including grafting, vermi composting and even mushroom cultivation through practicals. The popularity grew further and a batch of students from Carmel High school too joined in the fun of learning agriculture.
The children went on to request for a much bigger camp next time.
“The urban children have lost touch with agricultural soil and this is my attempt to keep them in touch with the soil that feeds them,” said Vijai who added that the best students at the camp will be appointed brand ambassadors for the Agriculture Department to promote agriculture so that the around 20 thousand hectares of land in Goa that is uncultivated will be brought under cultivation.
Usha, who had conceptualized the camp, recalled the kind of love she had for agriculture when she was a child.
"When I was growing up in Cortalim village, my hobby was agriculture. We were surrounded by paddy fields, which were sown twice a year. It was integral part of my childhood,” said Usha Sardesai who spoke about the local community of Cortalim and how they were immersed in agriculture.
Elaborating further on the idea behind taking agriculture to the kids, Usha said that instead of focusing only on the education curriculum of kids, it is important as citizens, to create a syllabus or a curriculum that includes agriculture. She further referred to activities children take up such as dancing or singing and felt that agriculture too should be made into such an extracurricular activity.
"Mud doesn't cause harm to us, it makes us more immune to other health related problems,” she quipped.
At the camp, efforts were made to impart values such as encouraging the participants not to waste food since they are getting a first-hand understanding of how difficult it is to grow such organic food.
"Sensitizing the child has long term and more benefits. This because the child not only becomes self aware but also teaches his parents the same," said Vijai
We For Fatorda under the aegis of Vijai and Usha aims at cultivating all possible agri lands which are now left barren agri in Goa. The aim is to make Goa Green again.
"It is a unique attempt to create passion among kids for agriculture, which will ultimately help us preserve our ‘Xitt Codi’ and push for safe food for Goans," added Vijai.