Year 10-12 Learning Continuity Packages

17th July, 2020: Agriculture

Student Learning Continuity Program
17th July, 2020: Agriculture
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AGRICULTURE PROGRAM FOR SENIOR SECONDARY (30 Minutes)

INTRODUCTION

Hello and greetings to all teachers, students, parents and listeners all throughout our country Solomon Islands and welcome to the Radio program for Senior Secondary for the subject of Agriculture Science, which comprises of forms 4, 5 and 6. With me here today is Lenior Taro from the Ministry of Agriculture and I am Cathy Izod from King George VI School; together we are here representing the Ministry of Education.

So on that note we would therefore like to thank the Ministry of Education for giving us this opportunity to come into the studios to relay to you learners throughout this lovely country on this important subject which is one that gears senior learners who at some point should be implementing their knowledge on Agriculture attained whilst in school. So again thank you very much and happy listening.

I am pretty certain that because of the fact that we belong to land from the various societies we live in; Agriculture which is done on land and which is the practice of raising animals and planting crops that are useful to us; it is therefore no stranger to most of us because we learn it in schools and when we go back to our various homes we would definitely be engaged with our land engaging in some form of AGRICULTURE.

For you senior learners, parents and guardians our emphasis on this presentation is to clearly state that by now you all should have engaged or be engaging in Agriculture from the knowledge and skills learnt all along whether you have gone through some formal education or just by observing and engaging with families back in the villages so from these presentations it is our believe that you will be listening learning whilst at the same time grasping some important concepts to help you continue with have you have learnt or done in the field of AGRICULTURE.

Furthermore, and with the COVID 19 issue that surrounds us and surely has or later will affect us more; the practice of Agriculture somehow has to be done. For instance, for the fact that COVID 19 discourages gathering in public places and emphasizes social distances it will not allow us to be in markets and in stores as often as we use to do.

That is why is it important that agriculture will now be an important activity; maybe making supsup gardens and raising a few livestock like pigs and chickens at the back of your homes. Hence a successful production of Animals and plants are of paramount importance; whether it be for commercial means or just for the subsistence use of the family the emphasis after all is to sustain life as we all know that we depend on food to live.

HOWEVER; for one to have successful productions in whatever type of farming one chooses, whether it be subsistence or commercial; farming both crops and animals have similar and specific activities done to ensure a successful or profitable gain.

For these two sessions that we will be with you; you will be learning about the importance of two (2) chosen farm entities and that is Cocoa for crops and Cattle for animals and the activities of Establishment, Implementation (emphasizing the management aspects), harvesting and processing and marketing.

Examples will be given for this two types of production but it must be taken note here that in any farming activity specific attention is given to the type of crop from the time it is planted to the time it is harvested. These aspects are considered so as to have good products after harvest.

SO BASICALLY WE ALL WIL BE ASKING THESE FAMILIAR QUESTIONS WHEN WE ARE PLANNING TO DO FARMING…SUCH AS;

  • “Where best will my crop or animal be grown or raised?” This will be an Establishment issue
  • “What basically am I farming for…to feed my family and some left for sale or will I entirely produce to sale?” will be an initial thought of the farmer and
  • “Who will be my customers when I do harvest to sale?” – of course this outlines the marketing aspect of the produce

These and many more makes us consider the aspects in farming oh so very important.

SO YOU CAN NOW SEE THE IMPORTANCE OF CONSIDERING THESE ASPECTS FROM ESTABLISHMENT TO HARVESTING AND IF FOR COMMERCIAL FARMING WHICH, COCOA, COCONUT AND CATTLE ARE EXAMPLES OF…WE HAVE TO THEN CONSIDER PROCESSING AND MARKETING

Okay…

For this first session, our presentation will begin with the topic CROP PRODUCTION mainly on Cocoa and later in the second session will cover CATTLE as an example for animal production; we chose these farming examples because these topics have been taught in the senior forms together with all other management aspects; including processing and marketing.

Cocoa we understand can be grown together with coconut or other crops, used also in the practice of Agroforestry. The cocoa crop as such has been an important crop as it is grown and marketed here in the Solomon Islands. This plant as such has its specific aspects regarding its growth from establishment to marketing.

I will talk on the issues relating to the cocoa plant during its early growth while Ms Lenior will complete the session on the crop towards its mature stage.

FIRST PART OF SESSION

During the initial stage of establishment and before planting in the field these aspects have to be considered and these are:

  1. Seed Selection for instance – having good seeds for the nursery
  • Large and are covered with mucilage
  • From big pods
  • Have no or less disease or pest problems
  • Germinates quickly
  • Is a high yielding variety
  • Come from early bearing trees
  1. Site selection/ soil preparation
  • prepared soil to a depth of 1.2m to 1.5,
  • well drained with medium texture i.e. clay loam or loam (a good soil high in organic content)
  • and a pH of 6 to 7.5
  1. Altitude (H.A.S.L)
  • 300m to 600m; colder would not be good for growth
  1. Slope
  • 8 ̊ (degrees) or almost flat
  1. Annual Rainfall
  • Annual rainfall of less than 3,500mm as higher rainfall might encourage black pod disease
  1. Temperature
  • Minimum 21 degrees Celsius to a maximum of 31 degrees Celsius

 

After seeds have been raised in the nursery and area has been chosen then other factors have to be considered and this is;

  • Firstly SHADE HAS TO BE REMOVED FROM THE SEEDLING in the nursery stage mainly for the seedling to get use to the outside environment or to avoid ‘transplant shock’ this is referred to as ‘hardening off’
  • Considering shade trees – so permanent shade such as growing under an already established coconut plantation or plantation Glyricidia trees will now be considered

Then we know have to think of planting directly in the field; so now a checklist have to be consulted for;

PLANTING OUT SEEDLINGS IN THE FIELD – CHECK IF;

  • The seedling is 3 – 4 months old and has developed well; checking that it has not overgrown and having bent tap root as it will be transplant shock
  • There is adequate shade in the farm to protect the young seedling after it has been planted out
  • There has been good recent rainfall; a cooler period is best with a good soil moisture
  • Seedling is in good condition and is free of diseases and pests
  • Seedling placed in a shady sheltered area while they are waiting to be planted
  • Water the seedlings before planting out; plant within a few hours of watering and water after planting
  • If seedlings are to be transported by vehicle, then they should be protected

NOW THAT THE COCOA SEEDLINGS HAVE BEEN PLANTED THEN MANGEMENT OF THE EARLY GROWING PLANT HAVE TO BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION – SOME OF THE FOLLOWING ARE

 

Applying Fertilizer An essential part of growth especially to put back nutrients in the soil so that it can be used up by the new cocoa
Mulching Applying some organic materials or compost on the newly planted tree in the field
Weeding Essentially done mainly for the competition of nutrients. Ring weeding is preferable around young seedlings
Infilling This is to replant the gaps within the planted seedlings from the dead or damaged seedlings

 

SO THAT IS ABOUT SOME OF THE ASPECTS CONSIDERED IN THE EARLY GROWTH OF THE PLANT

Thank you very much we will now listen to what Lenior has to present

 

SECOND PART OF SESSION

Thank you Madam Cathy,

When growing crops such as cocoa, the following are also important practices:

MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

  1. Record keeping- record keeping is an important practice important because it help a farmer to make informed decisions about their farm.
  • Physical records e.g. time of application of fertilizer, time/date of transplanting.
  • Financial records –e.g. records of expenses and incomes. Help farmers to know if their farm business is making a profit or loss. In any farm, be it cocoa or coconut it is of utmost importance that proper records are kept.
  1. Weed control- Weed control is important to remove weeds that compete for water and nutrients.
  • Ring weeding can be applied every 6-12 weeks depending on the weather.
  1. Pruning-Pruning is the removal of parts of woody plants.
  • Pruning is important:
    • to control the shape of the trees so there is much leaf area to trap sunlight
    • trees do not grow too high or too low
    • remove dead, weak damaged, diseased and infected branches
    • to promote enough air circulation through trees
  • Some of the tools used for pruning are: pruning knife, bow saw, secateurs, pole prunner and lopper.
  • Also important to note; Temporary shades such as bananas or other crops need to be removed before pruning.
  1. Pest and Disease control
  • It is important to control pest and diseases to avoid losses in your farm. Pests or diseases can affect yield of crop therefore lowers the output or harvest.
  • Proper management practices such as plantation sanitation, and pruning can help to reduce pest and disease occurrence.
  Examples Control
Pest Pantorhytes, Amplyphelta Biological control-oecophella ant
Disease Black pod, canker, root rot Black pod caused by fungal disease. Controlled by using fungicide such as Copper Sandoz

 

These are some of the general management practices carried out in a cocoa or coconut plantation.

 

Harvesting 

  • For cocoa harvesting takes place every week during peak production or every 2-3 weeks depending on number of ripe pods
  • During harvest
    • Damaged or diseased pods are discarded
    • proper way of harvesting cocoa is cut pods or hook with sharp knife, it is important to avoid pulling or twisting as it will damage flower cushion and allow canker disease to enter the tree
  • Pods are broken immediately after harvest or kept no longer than a week
  • Fermentation is an important process after harvesting to allow beans to develop a good chocolate flavour.
  • Wooden boxes are used for fermentation. Fermentation takes 6-7 days

Processing

  • Drying the fermented beans is the next step after fermentation. Drying is done using Kukum dryer or the Solar dryer.

Grading

  • Grading comes after drying.
  • Allows farmer to identify damaged or foreign objected in the bens or copra. This is to ensure only the best is bagged.

Bagging & storage

  • Dried copra or beans must be left to cool down before bagging in a new bag. You must stencil your bags so buyers, exporters know where the cocoa comes from.
  • Bags should be stored in a well-drained dry location. Store bags on pallets under a waterproof roof and in a secured shed free of pest and secure against theft.

Marketing

  • The cocoa or coconut is sold to an exporter who finds a market for the coco or coconut overseas. Quality cocoa or copra will fetch a good price on the market.

 

REVIEW QUESTIONS

Ending of session .…I have some questions I will ask and wait a few seconds for you to respond then Ms Lenior will then clarify the answers

Question: We know now that there are different activities from the time of establishment to processing for cocoa plant. What are any two (2) things to consider before establishing any cocoa plantation?

Answer: Any of the following things

  • Seed Selection for instance – having good seeds for the nursery
  • Large and are covered with mucilage
  • From big pods
  • Have no or less disease or pest problems
  • Germinates quickly
  • Is a high yielding variety
  • Come from early bearing trees
  • Site selection/ soil preparation
    • prepared soil to a depth of 1.2m to 1.5,
    • well drained with medium texture i.e. clay loam or loam (a good soil high in organic content)
    • and a pH of 6 to 7.5
  • Altitude (H.A.S.L) – 300m to 600m; colder would not be good for growth
  • Slope – 8 ̊ (degrees) or almost flat
  • Annual Rainfall – less than 3,500mm as higher rainfall might encourage black pod disease
  • Temperature – minimum 21 degrees Celsius to a maximum of 31 degrees Celsius

 

Notice that diseases also attack plants. List the four common diseases

 

Thank you very much from the both of us its …me Madam Cathy and….Lenior Taro

Thank you all for listening…we hope to be with you for our next session which will be on Animal production…which will be Cattle farming

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    • Thank you for your comment. A MEHRD officer will be in contact with you via email to help you with your specific questions.

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