PROJECT REPORT FOR FRUITFUL VINES COLLEGE, IBADAN, OYO STATE
Fruitful Vines College Team is made up of ten students (five boys and five girls), one coordinating teacher and two supporting teachers.Fruitful Vines College, a school where positive change agents are raised is located in Elewuro, off AkoboOjuirin – Olorunda road, Akobo, Ibadan, Oyo state. The students were selected based on their individual abilities that are relevant to the core missions of ISNAD. Three students have natural problem-solving skills, two are talented in designs and drawings, one student has strong speaking skill, one of the student is good with numbers, while others have passion for agriculture (among other skills).
Motivation for this project:
This work was driven by the following:
Insufficient, erratic and even total lack of rainfall which is experienced in the drier months of the year makes it impossible for farmer to cultivate crops and that makes the farmer unemployed at that moment, at the same time food becomes unavailable to the masses.
Also, scientific reports makes it clear that the world is experiencing climate change, this has affected the pattern of rainfall, farmers can no longer totally rely on weather forecasts of rainfall anymore, use of irrigation facilities can prevent the shock of absence of rainfall on the crops.
Furthermore, we choose to build a storage system because we have observed that there are wastages of agricultural crops during harvest season of agricultural produce, this is caused by glut of those crops. Lack of storage facility is a common problem among West Africa farmers.
Marked increase in the price, or total absence of some agricultural produce during dry season is another major reason why we selected this project, in Ibadan, Nigeria, we experience up to 50% increase in the price of green amaranth and other vegetables like spinach and jute. Some crops like maize is totally unavailable during drier months. These can be prevented if a cheap and effective irrigation system can be made available to farmers.
Most soft drinks and table water companies package their products in PET bottles due to its ease of purchase; however, consumers see no use for the bottles once the content is consumed, which makes them to drop these “wastes” anywhere, and everywhere. Unknown to them, they have increased the pollutants in our environment. PET bottles are made from inorganic materials, hence, cannot be broken down into harmless waste. To eradicate this menace, PET bottles have to be used for productively.
Advisors’ Impact on Project Implementation:
Engagements with the advisor, Ms Maureen, have been really helpful. She is always ready to help and boost the team’s morale. She encouraged the team to have and stick to already made schedule, while also giving the team ideas on how to make the barn suitable for storage of agricultural produce, as well as aesthetics in nature. She gave the team advice and suggestions to solve the challenges faced while on the first half of project execution. The attention she gives and her desire to see the project moving progressively is worth of appreciation
Since the proposed project is a relatively new idea with limited research carried out on it, Fruitful Vines College Team started picking bottles immediately the proposal earlier made was accepted. Other students outside the team were encouraged to participate in the environmental cleanup by telling them to bring PET bottles from their households. The team was excited about the project as well having a cleaner environment
The sites for constructing thebarn (storage system) and vegetable bed for planting vegetables was marked. Since the project is about are making a prototype that can be replicated on bigger plots of land, the team measured out an area of land of 4m x 3m for vegetable and 2.42m x 1.21m for the storage system
Models of the irrigation and storage systems were made using carton and other materials, as these give the team idea of what is to be replicated on the field.
The type of irrigation used (overhead) is selected due to
Its ease of construction
It saves more water compared to surface irrigation
Easy of detection of faults and repairs
After getting sizeable number of PET bottles, they were sand – filled, because, sand-filled bottles are needed to build the storage system. Filling the bottles with sand increases its stability and strength. The team also tried to determine the type of bottles to use in constructing the irrigation systemconcurrently.
After determining the type of bottle that could be used for constructing the irrigation system, the team focused on cutting and fitting those bottles.
The vegetable beds were made and green amaranth seeds were planted. Green amaranth is a crop that needs a good amount of water for its survival and that why it was selected to test the efficiency of the irrigation system.
Fruitful Vines College Team was able clean the environment by picking PET bottles in the environment, sand-fill bottles, make vegetable beds, plant green amaranth on the vegetables bed and test the PET bottle irrigation system using the vegetable beds although the irrigation network were well set, some challenges were experienced, which are:
Leakage in between some of the plastic bottles at the point linkage
Problem with the flow of water due to the slope of the land . After discovering these challenges, the team consulted with her Advisor (Ms Maureen) and resolved to make some amendments.
Amendment of the irrigation system and construction of the storage system will start afterwards;
Since bottles are already filled with sand, the team will only need to
Excavate the site,
Lay the foundation,
Erect the walls with sand–filled PET bottles,
Roof the storage system with raffia and fix the doors and windows.
Publicize the new technique of construction of irrigation and storage using both online and offline platforms.
Activities on storage building
We excavated the site for the storage building to a depth of 20cm. The size of the storage building was 4.5m X 4.0m. Having done that, we made concrete to blind the foundation footing and started arranging sand – filled bottles upon each other using mortar as the binding material. Over 2000 sand – filled PET bottles were used to construct the walls of the storage building with the height of 1.5m. The height of the building was raised to 2.5 metres using bamboo. Bamboo was used due to its cheap cost and ease of purchase. The roof of the building was made with thatch leaves.
Sand – filled PET bottles – made buildings have been confirmed to have lower temperature and humidity when compared with buildings made with conventional sandcrete – bricks (this is because the PET bottles have high insulating capacity, hence, they transfer less heat). This give the PET bottle building more advantage as the cost of lowering the temperature inside the sand-filled PET bottles buildings is lower; this makes the building suitable for storing tuber crops for a long time and perishable agricultural produce for a short time.
Ventilation, low temperature and humidity are conditionsnecessary to elongate the lifespan of tuberous crops; all these were ensured in the construction of the storage building.
Education of the public and our colleagues
We invited and educated some members of our community to our project site, we talked to them about the impact of pollutants in our environment and how we can make better use of these ‘wastes’. Our project was cited as an example of benefits that can be derived from wastes. We also educated our colleagues on the need to become healthy–environmental enthusiasts and also know that nothing is indeed a ‘waste’ until we call it so. We encouraged them to practice proper and safe waste disposal.
Fruitful vines College Team appreciates ISNAD – Africa for the priviledge to participate in an environmental protection program. The team is also sincerely grateful to North America Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) and Wells Fargo both in the United States for financing this project.