Kirinyaga: School owner converts playground into vegetable farm to survive harsh COVID-19 times

Kung'u's financial status was deteriorating as he relied mostly on school fees to pay his employees.

July 15, 2020, 07:54 AM for
James Kung'u

James Kung'u, owner of Roka School in Kirinyaga county decided to transform the school's play area to a vegetable farm, in a bid to survive the harsh COVID-19 economic times.

According to a report by NTV, Kung'u's financial status was deteriorating as he relied mostly on school fees to pay his employees.

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"I started thinking of what I would do to help the teachers because I would no longer manage to pay them and the cases kept rising," said Kung'u.

He then approached staff who had remained in school and told them the idea of vegetable farming, and they agreed to come onboard.

They prepared a farm where they planted varieties of vegetables and also reared chicken.

"We have now been farming with the school headteacher Moses Wandera who comes from Western Kenya and did not go home because we wanted him to remain and continue with e-learning.

"Whenever he is not busy in the office, he joins us in the farm," said Kung'u.

The staff were then assigned different duties with the head teacher tasked with planting, irrigating and spraying the vegetables, while school secretary Nancy Wambui was assigned to oversee marketing the products.

Wambui was also tasked with receiving orders to deliver eggs, chickens and the vegetables.

Kung'u said the venture has been paying off enabling the staff to sustain their livelihoods and meet their basic needs they await reopening of schools in January 2021.

Most of their clients are parents who enrolled their children at the school.

James Kung'u attending to vegetables at his school's farm Photo:Courtesy

President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the closure of all learning institutions in March this year, in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The re-opening of schools was slated for September, 2020 but Education CS George Magoha announced that all primary and secondary schools will remain closed until January 2021.

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The CS also announced that KCPE and KCSE meant for this year have been suspended and candidates shall sit for exams later in 2021.

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