|Primary School Agriculture: Volume I: Pedagogy (GTZ, 1985, 144 p.)|
|Part II: Teaching methods|
|5. Special problems related to school farm work|
School farms produce a crop which is income - income in kind as
long as it is not sold, and income in cash as soon as it is sold. The use made
of the school harvest is the single most important cause for conflict between
school and community. It is therefore important that the harvest from the school
farm and any monies earned be handled with the utmost care and honesty.
5.2.1 Disposing of the Crops
Guidelines about safe harvesting and storage have been given in volume II, part III, which the reader should consult for details. The following text provides a few suggestions about how to handle the harvest:
- Any harvesting should be recorded. Even a preliminary sample harvest, done in order to assess the maturity of a crop or an early harvest (e.g. of green maize for immediate consumption), should be recorded.
- Any theft should also be recorded; the extent of the damage should be estimated. An important theft should be reported to the authorities for investigation.
- Sales of school farm produce should always be made by a sales committee. Making the Farm Master or the Headmaster solely responsible for all sales is likely to allow too much freedom for misappropriation of school income. The sales committee should consist at least of
- the teacher in charge of the school farm,
- older and responsible pupils from the farming classes (head boys or head girls),
- at least one member of the Parent-Teacher Association,
- the local agricultural extension agent, if available.
- School cooperatives should be considered for the marketing of school farm produce.
- Selling the school farm crop before it is harvested should be avoided. This is the practice in some areas in the case of crops that mature during the holidays. Harvesting the crop then becomes the responsibility of the buyer, but the price is much lower than when the school harvests the crop itself.
- Sales must be strictly cash. Schools have lost a lot of money because buyers obtained the crop on credit and later on did not pay their debts.
- Sales should be done at current market prices. Neither school staff nor members of the P.T.A. should get any preferential treatment. The only exception is when pupils who have actually worked to produce the crop want to buy. They should be allowed a fair reduction;
- Wherever possible, crops should not be sold at the peak of harvesting time in the area. With the help of the simple storage techniques described in volume II maize, yam tubers, beans etc. can be stored long enough to obtain a better price than if they are sold at harvest time itself.
Money earned by the school farm and through craft activities should be used according to the principles of a business enterprise: first, all the money needed to replace worn out tools and measuring equipment, to buy seed material, fertilizer, chemicals for spraying, fencing material, etc. should be earmarked and put on one side. Allowance has also to be made for the eventual cost of wage labour and of transportation. Since we advocate an approach to agriculture that requires a minimum of inputs only -tools, high quality seeds and planting material, an occasional bag of fertilizer - the annual cash requirements of the school farm will be small. If there is a surplus left over, this can be spent on the basis of decisions reached by the Parent- Teacher Association, preferably with the purchase of further school equipment as first choice.
· The sale of school farm
produce is a matter of trust and confidence.
· Therefore, pupils, parents, and teachers should be involved alike.
· Any money earned by school farming must be handled with the utmost care and honesty.
· Sales should always be made by a Sales Committee.
· Sales must be strictly on cash.
· Sales should be done at current market prices. Reductions to be conceded only to pupils who worked on the school farm.
· The income should be first used for the running of the school farm.