Importance of School Farm

Agriculture is the first man’s occupation and main source of human life's sustenance, as it provides food for man, raw materials for industrial uses. It is also one of the important subjects in schools. 

Science and applied art subjects are usually provided with laboratories for practical learning and demonstrations, school farm serves as laboratory or field for Agriculture and its related subjects/ courses. School farm is a farm set up by a school for the purpose of practical teaching and learning of Agricultural Science and its related subjects/ courses. It can also be established for skills acquisition and entrepreneurship development, or as a business run by the school. School farm is therefore very important in teaching and learning of Agricultural Science and its value-chain related disciplines. The following are some of the importance of school farm:

  • Learning outside classroom
  • Practical knowledge of agriculture
  • Lifelong skill acquisition
  • Application of knowledge
  • Enterprise and economic development
  • Job creation
  • Agricultural sustainability
  • Students exploration, initiative and creativity

Learning Outside Classroom

School farm provides field for learning outside the classroom. It provides both formal and informal education and contributes to a cadre of young knowledge workers associated with relevant disciplines to issues associated with food production and related disciplines. Growing food increases the students’ interest to attend school.

Practical Knowledge

It’s very important for every school that offers Agricultural Science and its related subjects/ courses to establish school farm where the teachers can do on the farm demonstrations of what they teach the pupils/ students in classrooms. This will enable the pupils to garner practical knowledge in Agricultural Science as it re-enforces and bring to live what is taught in classroom. On the school farm the students learn how to handle farming equipment, farming techniques, farming systems like mixed  cropping, crop rotation, etc. School farms serve as laboratories for practical skills development practical, agriculture is incomplete. 

Enterprise and Economic Development

Practical done on school farm equips the pupils/students with first-hand knowledge and skills of how to run agribusinesses. This goes a long way in entrepreneurial development of the young ones as it cultivates  an entrepreneurial spirit in the students. Many schools use food growing as a means to develop financial literacy and enterprise skills in students. Children and young people engage in school farm activities sell on or supply their produce to others. Produce is sold at varying levels, from ad hoc sales to parents and teachers at the school gate, through to regular pitches at farmers markets. Schools supply (for free, or at a low cost) fruit and vegetables to their own canteens, as well as to local businesses and community organisations.

Job Creation

Growing food on the school farm helps the students develop lifelong skill for self-reliance. School farm provides job to other people in the community who work on the farm as instructors, agric extension agents, labourers. It also provide job to off takers, vendors etc.

Students Exploration, Initiatives and Creativity

School farm helps the students to explore nature and need to sustain the corps, animals, soils ecosystem, climate. On the long run, they gain the systems-based thinking and doing skills required to make a positive impacts in any field of human endeavour in today’s world.

Agricultural Sustainability

Students participating in farming while in school will help  to popularise farming as noble profession, and reduce apathy toward the practice of farming. One of the problems facing agriculture is the aging population of the farming. Majority of farming population are old and uneducated ones. Getting the young and educated ones to embrace faming will boost agricultural production and sustainability.

Alt: = "Students on school farm"
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Factors Affecting School Farms

There are many challenges facing school farm especially in Nigeria. These factors affect availability and efficiency of school farms to support practical agriculture amongst students. Some of these factors are:

  • Encroachment of school farmland by individuals, host communities, developers and government agencies.
  • Conversion of school farmland to other uses
  • Inadequate school land to make room for agricultural farm
  • Inadequate farm tools especially the modern tools, and other inputs
  • Lack of access to seeds and seedlings

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