Form six students of Bishop Epalle Catholic Secondary School have visited the Taiwan Technical Farm last Thursday.
The visit was part of their field trip to broaden their knowledge and learning experiences.
Agriculture teacher George Wale Alasina told the Sunday Star that the two hour field trip has helped the students to deepen their understanding of two topics namely Pest Control and Guava Grafting.
“The Field trip is not only a good way to connect students with the agriculture system, but also to reinforce classroom learning in multiple areas,” Alasina said.
He said there were two learning objectives for the students which are to understand the pest and disease control and to observe the grafting procedure of Guava.
Dr Li Chia-Yu, the only female specialist of Root Crop Improvement Project of Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM), presented the pests catalog, commercial pesticides and TTM’s crop diseases to students.
First the students were asked to identify the pest name to the corresponding photo; where Dr Li guided them to read the instructions on commercial pesticides and to understand the preparation of pesticide mixture.
Dr Li emphasized the importance of using right pesticide for the target pest.
In addition, she also showed some low cost method to reduce field pests and diseases, like using pest-repelling crops and disease-resistant varieties, as well as some principles to remove the sick plants.
“Using chemical pesticides is always the last option.” she said.
Meanwhile, Assistant of the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Project Erick Hou also demonstrated how to cut the bottom of scion.
“This practice in grafting is important but difficult as well,” Hou cautioned.
Most students have gained awareness of the importance of grafting in improving fruit quality.
This is their first time to see and touch the plant materials and tools used in grafting procedure and they couldn’t hide their interest and curiosity during the session.
To reduce grafting cost, Hou has tested numbers of alternative tools for doing grafting without compromising the survival rate.
“After more than 1,000 times of grafting, I finally improved my success rate to 70%,” he said.
In his demonstration, he also displayed the substitute tools and explained how to use them.
Being a strong partner for supporting school gardens and nutrition meals in Solomon Islands, TTM’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Project now is seeking to cooperate with the primary schools in Honiara which serve lunch meals by using school garden products.
“Through TTM’s technical assistance in increasing school harvest, we can directly improve school children’s diet.” the horticulture specialist Lee Chih-Cheng said.
Alasina was satisfied with what his students learn from the field trip, thus suggested TTM to share more information about pesticide application in the future.
He added that he considered starting a guava garden in the school which he believes will contribute to students’ learning of the agriculture subject in school.
By LESLEY SANGA