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A NEW aquaponics unit built on Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s (NMMU) Missionvale Campus is an excellent example of institutional collaboration and partnerships that benefit others.

FUTURE FARMERS … Primary school learners will benefit from aquaponics unit launched at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Missionvale Campus.

The new unit, alongside the medicinal garden, will see ongoing interaction between Agriculture, Game Ranch Management, Human Movement Science, Dietetics and Nursing Sciences students involved in implementing an innovative and cost effective food production hub and support services.

Working with partners INMED South Africa and Mondelez South Africa, the aquaponics unit forms part of a broader Health in Action programme launched in 2015 to promote healthy lifestyles, address obesity and alleviate hunger among primary school children. As many as 70 primary schools are set to benefit from the project.

The unit was launched last week with all the key role players, including NMMU’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Engagement Prof Andrew Leitch.

Using a holistic and integrated approach, the projects has seen NMMU’s Human Movement Science students assist with training unemployed and out-of-school youth to become school-based break-time buddies.

The dietetics students are involved with studies on the salt and sugar intake of primary school children and its effect on health, while Nursing Sciences students take the blood pressure of these youngsters. All these projects are run in collaboration with the NGO, INMED South Africa. 

An MTech student, Mpendulo Ngcakani, is managing the aquaponics system as part of his postgraduate research, which is based on examining factors affecting the viability of aquaponics in the Nelson Mandela Bay region.

Aquaponics is an innovative, intensive and inexpensive food production technique that brings together aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (soilless crop production) in a closed system that dramatically conserves water (using 90% less water than traditional planting methods), and yields abundant and marketable fresh produce and fish.

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Ms Zandile Mbabela
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Tel: 0415042777