With the scourge of praedial larceny continuing to plague farmers across the land, the students of Vere Technical High School in Clarendon have come up with innovative ways of tackling that particular nuisance.
Students from Vere’s Young Innovators Club that was formed by then grade eight student, Rohan Berry (now a past student), as one of its primary functions, the prevention of praedial larceny on the school’s farm.
From that initiative, the Young Innovators designed a robot system to make work on the farm at Vere easier and more cost-effective.
“At first we had a problem with praedial larceny and so a group of us decided to create a praedial larceny project, where we placed lazer beams around the farm and once an intruder goes through, an alarm would be set-off,” said Berry.
“That was our first project and then we decided to form the club.
“For our latest project, we incorporated three that we did in the past. This includes a greenhouse we created at the school last year, a dehumidifier, which takes the humidity in the air and turns it into water, and a solar generator.
“We decided to incorporate those three projects and came up with the Remote Irrigation Vehicle (RIV). This machine is used to make life easier on the farm. It waters the plants in the greenhouse and so we don’t have to,” he said.
“The solar generator from the previous project makes electricity, which powers the humidifier, which then makes water and then the RIV distributes the water to the plants in the greenhouse.
“We can stay at home, in bed and send the RIV to water the plants using our cellphones.
“The RIV is something we actually decided to create about a month ago and so far, it has been a successful venture,” he said.
According to Perry, the club is also working on another project that will make the work done in agriculture at Vere easier.
“We are building another greenhouse here and it will be the first of its kind within Clarendon. It will have its own water generator,” Berry said.
“We will capture moisture from the atmosphere, cool it, after which it forms water droplets on a medium within the generator. The water will then be collected in a tank, a machine will collect the water from the tank and use it for irrigation purposes,” he said.
At Vere, everyone plays a role, and the students who cannot make machines ensure that the crops and animals are well cared for.
“We have a crop production and animal production unit here at Vere and I am responsible for crop production,” said crop production teacher, Carl Golding.
“The students are in charge of caring for the plants and animals as it is a part of their grade,” he said.
“We supply the canteen and where we have additional ground produce, it is sold to the staff and persons within the community.
“If there is a case where we come up short, we will purchase from outsiders, but in general we are quite self-sufficient,” Golding said.
“Lunch here at Vere is reduced to a cost of $250 because of this, and the PATH students and athletes do not have to worry about paying for food at all.
“We use the flowers from the propagator for different events, and we also sell to people from the community. Propagation, and care and maintenance of the plants, is also a requirement for the students’ Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ),” Golding informed.
When asked if the present drought condition has been posing a challenge to the school’s agriculture programme, Golding shared that Vere even supplies its own water.
“We have a well and so we have a constant supply of water. We are never out,” he said.
He also indicated that the school is so self-sufficient that they do not even have to purchase pesticides for the plants.
“Marigold is a natural repellent for pests, and we use it instead of using chemicals. We plant the marigold around the bed of the plants, and it keeps the pests away,” said Golding.