The City of Johannesburg Department of Health and Social Development launched a new aquaponics facility near the Elias Motsoaledi Clinic in Orlando West. The land was provided by the City of Johannesburg and will give school food gardens a hi-tech twist.
MMC for Health and Social Development, Councillor Mpho Phalatse, unveiled the facility which is the second to be established in South Africa.
This innovative service delivery came as a result of a four-year programme funded by the Mondelēz International Foundation and delivered by INMED Partnerships for Children (INMED) at a cost of R37-million.
The commercial-sized, 225m² facility aims to produce up to two tons of various greens and about 1.9 tons of freshwater fish annually to supplement the nutritional needs of Soweto primary school learners who are at nutritionally at-risk.
The aquaponics growing method harnesses hi-tech cultivation techniques to produce up to 10 times the quantity of fish and fresh produce but uses between 80 and 90 percent less water than traditionally cultivated plots.
Speaking at the launch, MMC Phalatse said: “what better way to celebrate this week than to give this precious gift of nutrition that will be sustainable, consistent, guaranteed and will benefit this community. It will feed not only this community but the next generation if they look after it,” she said.
The vegetables produced at the aquaponics facility will be used to feed the community, feed surrounding schools, orphanages and patients who visit the Elias Motsoaledi Clinic (situated next to the aquaponic facility). Phalaste said she hopes that the aquaponics facility in Mzimhlophe will also create employment for the community.
“Mzimhlophe has an employment rate of 37% and faces the triple burden of poverty, inequality and high unemployment. The facility will go a long way in curbing malnutrition, improve food security and create a source of income for the community,” said MMC Phalatse.
The aquaponics facility forms part of a broader strategy of the City of Joburg’s Food Security unit to promote and enhance urban agriculture, reduce the high levels of food insecurity and create economic opportunity across the City.