Nicaragua: La Bastilla celebrates Agronomist Day

On the 15th of May, La Bastilla School celebrated Agronomy Day.  Despite the fact that in the UK we have cards for every occasion, I had never heard of Agronomy Day until I arrived here in Nicaragua.  In fact, until I came to Latin America for the first time, I had never even heard of Agronomy.  However, in Nicaragua, where almost a third of the economically active population is employed in Agriculture, the subject of Agronomy is held in high esteem. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, Agronomy is the scientific study of producing and using plants for food, fuel and fiber.  Agronomists all over the world are constantly working on new ways to produce healthier food, to produce crops that can withstand climate change and to use plants to produce energy.





The students here will graduate from La Bastilla School with a technical qualification in agriculture, livestock and tourism.  Whilst here, they all take turns in working in the school gardens; growing vegetables that will either be used to feed everyone in the school canteen or that will be sold in the local town, thereby bringing in an income which can be reinvested into their ongoing education.  The students here are particularly fortunate as not only does the school have land where they can develop practical skills, but they also benefit from a modern laboratory where they can study soil samples and conduct experiments on a variety of plant materials.  



Before coming to La Bastilla, I had never fully understood the level of technical detail that is involved in the study of this particularly subject.  However, after listening to the students explain the damage caused to tomato plants by leaf miners (an insect that inhabits and consumes leaf tissue), and witnessing them research the characteristics of protozoas, (a single-celled organism which lives in one of the four stomachs of cows, helping food digestion), I soon realize that fully-trained agronomists possess a highly-specialised knowledge and skill-set.  More importantly, it is as a result of this knowledge, that I am able to have a plate of food in front of me, at every meal, of every day.


I can now appreciate why agronomists play an important role in our society, however, I wanted to know more about how the La Bastilla students, our future agronomists, saw themselves?  Here is what they had to say:


Ubaldo: “To me being an agronomist means being here, studying and learning something new everyday. This knowledge enriches us and allows us to teach others”.



Rosaura: “In order to be an agronomist, you also have to be a business person - you have to understand what the market needs and where you need to invest”.


Yulissa: “We are at the head of our Mother Earth – we ensure that what the earth produces is put to best use.

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