Aquaponics system launched

Schoolchildren to grow their own climate-resistant food

31 March 2021 | Agriculture

Windhoek • Claudia Reiter

The Hanns Seidel Foundation and the Finnish embassy yesterday launched the first aquaponics system at the Aris Primary School as part of a project aimed at contributing to food security in Namibia.
Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture (fish production) and hydroponics (plant production in water without soil).
The project aims to promote knowledge and understanding in the field of climate-resilient aquaponics. The aim is to strengthen food security and create new opportunities for secure livelihoods in rural communities.
Finnish embassy program coordinator, Hannele Hupanen, said it was important that the community take full responsibility for the project. “It is great to see this system as the first of many and it can act as a showcase for visitors and people interested in the potential of the aquaponics system.”
According to Hupanen, this project has the benefit of bringing children and young people together to learn more about aquaponics by observing the system and being trained in its use. “Taking a hands-on approach is a great way to discover how ecosystems work and how food can be grown.”
The aquaponics project coordinator from the Hanns Seidel Foundation, Burton Julius, said that he would now teach the sixth graders at the school to look after and maintain the system. They should then impart their knowledge to the classes below them.
The fish feed is provided by the Ministry of Fisheries, which must be ordered three months in advance.

Going local
Construction of the aquaponics facility began shortly after the Covid-19 state of emergency was lifted in September last year. Eco Smart Water Technologies Namibia CC was commissioned to build and install the test facilities. The five-person team built a modern, efficient and effective aquaponics system from local products.
During the daily construction process, the project documented and developed a series of instructional videos that are to be used for education and awareness campaigns of TH!NK Namibia in the social media as well as for training.
According to the project, over 60% of Namibians are directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture as the main source of livelihood, income or some other form of material support. The majority of rural communities also struggle with high unemployment and live on meagre incomes, which increases their dependence on agriculture.
In a bid to provide a climate-friendly agricultural solution to these problems, the aquaponics project was established as an alternative of enforcing food self-sufficiency.

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