School gardens to supplement food and nutrition security

The Director General of CoRRB (centre) wth representatives from the SAP schools in Thimphu
The Director General of CoRRB (centre) wth representatives from the SAP schools in Thimphu

16 April 2014, Thimphu: The School Agriculture Programme (SAP) coordinated by the Council for RNR Research of Bhutan (CoRRB) MoAF and the Department of School Education (DSE), Ministry of Education has made an effort to provide improved and high yielding vegetable seeds to 220 SAP member schools in all 20 Dzongkhags. The vegetable seeds were reached up to the DAO’s office in all Dzongkhags, while Thimphu schools received personally from Mr. Namgay Wangchuk, Director General of CoRRB MoAF on 16 April 2014.

During the seed distribution meeting, the representatives from SAP schools of Thimphu were briefed the importance of school gardening as a source of supplementing nutrition to the students beside the educational benefits of farming. They were told that gardening in the school premises will add on the aesthetic value of school compound and engage students in more meaningful activities. “The little food produces by the schools would aid the food security of the nation” said B.B Rai, SAP Programme Officer. The quantities of seeds are being supplied in excess, with an aim to make the seeds accessible even to other teachers and interested students for home gardening. He added “It is time, we should do some kind of gardening even on pots and plastic bags can easily be in the verandas. Crops like lettuce, coriander, garlic, and bunching onion can be grown as potted flowers.”

BB Rai of SAP handing over some seeds to a member of  a monastic school
BB Rai of SAP handing over some seeds to a member of a monastic school

Out of the 230 SAP member schools, 210 schools have established vegetable gardens while 20 schools in Thimphu have floriculture and herbal gardens. There are 25 SAP member schools in Thimphu Dzongkhag and among them 15 schools have vegetable gardening activities, which are supported with vegetable seeds. All the schools supported with the seeds are required to report their annual production and progress report to SAP, CoRRB MoAF.

Beside schools, even monastic schools are being encouraged to grow vegetables for nutritional supplement. Taking the success story of vegetable gardening at Phajoding Monastery in 2013, SAP, CoRRB has again supplied a set of vegetable seeds to keep growing the green vegetables. This year Nalanda Monastic School at Talo from Punakha Dzongkhag has also applied for SAP membership to start growing green vegetables.

The financial support from WFP has supplemented 50% of seeds supply to the RGoB funding.

– Submitted by BB Rai, SAP, CoRRB

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