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27 November 2020

Planting to learn vital life skills

Thursday 3 September 2020 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Environment


Planting to learn vital life skills
Apii Avarua students participate in the Ministry of Agriculture's tree planting project in the schools. TOKERAU JIM IMAGES/20090236

Trees provide nourishment, shade and shelter, and schools are benefitting from the tree planting project initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Apii Avarua students were excited to take part in planting five fruit trees yesterday morning.

Year 8 students Jaceleine Pukerua and Manutai Aitu believe in the importance of trees, and although they will not be at the school to enjoy the first fruit, they were happy at the thought of other kids having the benefit.

“Trees provide oxygen for us,” said Pukerua

Schools on the island have already established vegetables gardens in their yards - planting trees was another option to complement the agricultural educational programme.

Agriculture Secretary Temarama Anguna-Kamana said the biosecurity sector had got the project up and running, with Apii Takitumu, Te Uki Ou and Avarua now completed.

“The students also need to understand about plant health, how to look after the plants so they are not overcome by pests and disease,” said Anguna-Kamana.

Apii Avarua principal Engia Baxter said, “the project is good for our children in the future too, who will enjoy the fruits from the trees”.

The kids are taught the nutritional value and health benefits of vegetables.

“They have grown tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and harvested their produce for the ‘Garden to your table’ project; the fruit trees complement the agricultural studies,” Baxter said.

“After the harvest, it was about getting the kids to enjoy eating the plants, which they all did. We like to see the children growing and eating what they have planted.

“So, they can be inspired to continue growing at home.”

Parents were pleased to know their kids ate their vegetables at school as many had refused to eat them at home.

“We have to change our eating habits, there’s no better time to start teaching our kids to grow, how to pull out weeds, harvest and eat healthy,” Baxter said.

Apii Rutaki will plant their trees on Friday followed by Nikao and St Joseph’s next week.