Ikuu Boys High School, located about 3km from Chuka Town in Tharaka Nithi, sits on 23 acres, five of which are used for farming.
On the farm, one can spot huge banana plants, trees, cows, pigs, sheep and rabbits, among other crops and animals that make the institution that was elevated to a national school stand out among its peers.
“We have pigs, cows, goats, sheep, chicken, bananas, tea, sweet potatoes and sukuma wiki (collard green). The farm is doing well because we hardly run out of supplies,” says Principal Joseph Mbae, noting there are three goats, pigs 59 pigs, 15 rabbits and 15 sheep.
Through their three cows, the school that has about 800 students is able to meet nearly half of its milk requirements.
The cows produce 20 litres of milk per day each, but the school needs about 200 litres.“We also rear rabbits for biology lessons only and not for consumption,” Mbae says, noting students consume 120kg of pork per meal while beef is 115kg. Four pigs and two bulls are slaughtered weekly.
The farm, which is as old as the school, has been transformed over the years to supply the students with most of their food needs.
“We started with coffee farming, which was not doing very well. Tea farming was later introduced in the 90s replacing coffee,” recounts Mbae, adding that students who take agriculture as a subject use the farm for their practical lessons too.
RUN INDEPENDENTLY AS ABUSINESS ENTERPRISE
From tea, animal farming that include dairy, pigs, sheep and goats was introduced and expanded in 2008.
Bananas, among other horticultural crops, and trees further help the school to cut costs.
The farm, according to Mbae, is run independently as a business enterprise, returning a profit of Sh150,000 in a good month.
“We have a farm manager and two employees who earn a monthly salary. We also hire four to 10 workers depending on the season, like when we are harvesting tea that sell the tea to Kenya Tea Development Agency,” he says, noting the farm sustains itself and generate incomes which is channelled to an independent account.
The school also has its own small abattoir where they slaughter their own animals for meat.
“We also run our own posho mill from where we mill our maize every week.”
From their fishpond, they harvest about 1,000 mature fish every season, which they consume all.