Sterling-based INMED Partnerships for Children and INMED South Africa launched a new commercial aquaponics facility at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.
In partnership with the Mondelēz International Foundation and Mondelēz South Africa, the project will provide children from primary schools in low-income communities in Port Elizabeth with access to fresh produce and fish. A second aquaponic system will serve primary schools in the Soweto area, with construction scheduled to commence later this year.
INMED has been working in South Africa for more than 10 years and pioneered aquaponics production to promote better nutrition and income generation.
“In South Africa, Health in Action reaches more than 100,000 primary school children annually in 116 schools in 13 at-risk communities in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape,” Unathi Sihlahla, program Director of INMED South Africa, stated.
Aquaponics combines aquaculture (fish farming) with hydroponics (soilless crop production with the cultivation of plants in water). In an aquaponic system, water from the fish tanks is enriched with nitrates from fish excretions. The water is then fed into the grow beds, where the nitrates are absorbed by the plants as nutrient-rich food without the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This action filters and circulates clean water back into the fish tanks. As a result, aquaponics utilizes about 90 percent less water and yields up to 10 times more crops than traditional farming methods.