ST JOHN’S, Antigua – It’s one thing to enjoy growing plants and learning to till the soil, but the sense of pride that comes from being able to take the fruits of one’s labour and sell it is a whole new ball game.
It’s this sense of civic pride that the students of the agricultural science department of the Princess Margaret School are having.
The students are using the practical side of the syllabus to create a niche market, which is enabling them to experience the business side of agriculture.
The project is called the Princess Margaret Broiler Project and it has already received the backing of the Board of Education, as well as the support of local businesses.
Head of the department Craig Cole said the programme is an entrepreneurship experience for the students.
He said the pilot programme is aimed at teaching them to be their own boss after they would have completed school.
“The agriculture science programme in the school has an SBA component that deals with having the students assessed for practical experiences in agriculture. They conduct these exercises and they also interpret the results. What the Princess Margaret School is seeking to do is to go a step further. We are looking to have the students experience the business side of agriculture,” Cole said in an interview with OBSERVER Media.
The teacher said in the first phase of the project, a section of the school produced eggs for a supermarket.
The packaged eggs were bearing labels made by the business department of the school.
“We have been selling eggs to the First Choice Supermarket on a weekly basis and we are very thankful for their support. They have been very helpful and since that has been so successful for us, we decided to move into the second phase,” Cole said.
The second phase will see the production of approximately 400lbs of broiler meat monthly for sale to a local supermarket.
The broilers are produced over a period of five weeks and gain approximately three and a half pounds, which the school’s head describe as “tender meat.”
The school is also working closely with a facility utilised by the hotel industry to conduct the slaughtering of the birds to ensure that safety standards are met.
Cole strongly believes that this project will be very beneficial to the entire school plant as they try to bring out the best in students by giving then a well-rounded background.
The proceeds from the initiative will, according to the head of the department help disadvantaged students and the future development of the Princess Margaret Agricultural Department.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)