Grower Danny Mataroa says the programme is good for the children – and good for our future.
People seemed to think computers and information technology were the way to go, and nobody thought of growing and planting their own food. Mataroa said growers were getting old and no one was replacing them.
Agriculture secretary Temarama Anguna-Kamana said there was a noticeable decline in youth branching out into agricultural careers because of a lack of exposure to careers in agriculture, or knowledge of what to study.
The school gardens would provide students with hands-on knowledge of planting methods and the economic/lifestyle benefits that come with growing your own produce.
Anguna-Kamana said the programme is designed to be flexible to suit the schools and as it was new, they were trying it out with a few schools this year to ensure its effectiveness before branching out to others.
“Once fully established, we hope to include all schools in this programme,” she said.
Schools participating this year are Apii Avarua, Apii Takitumu, Apii Nikao, Apii Te Uki Ou and St Joseph’s primary school.