The Sunday Independent - - METRO - | AMANDA MALIBA @Aman­daMal­iba

AN INI­TIA­TIVE to pro­mote com­mu­nity in­volve­ment in food se­cu­rity has been launched in Or­lando, Soweto. The new aquaponic fa­cil­ity aims to im­part agri­cul­tural skills to com­mu­ni­ties that need them the most.

The joint ven­ture be­tween Mon­delez In­ter­na­tional, InMed Part­ner­ships for Chil­dren, and the City of Johannesburg’s Health and So­cial De­vel­op­ment Depart­ment weaves into the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany’s health in ac­tion pro­gramme to build a health­ier fu­ture in town­ships. MMC for Health and So­cial De­vel­op­ment Mpho Pha­latse said this type of ini­tia­tive will help de­bunk stereo­types that agri­cul­ture is only prac­ticed by peo­ple in ru­ral ar­eas.

“This myth has caused great dis­in­ter­est for peo­ple in ur­ban com­mu­ni­ties be­cause it has al­ways been viewed as sub­sis­tence farm­ing for peo­ple in the vil­lages be­cause they don’t have any other op­tion or ac­cess to food.

“But in re­cent years we have seen that there is a need be­cause there is still food inse­cu­rity in ur­ban com­mu­ni­ties and in Johannesburg. There are still peo­ple who go to bed hun­gry,” said Pha­latse.

The fa­cil­ity is meant to help the peo­ple around Elias Mot­soaledi Clinic in Or­lando, 46 schools around the City of Joburg, and the area right next to the for­mer dump­ing site.

Pha­latse noted that ur­ban agri­cul­ture con­tin­ues to be a chal­lenge for the city due to lim­ited ac­cess to land… But with newage in­ter­ven­tions such as rooftop farm­ing and aquapon­ics, agri­cul­ture is set to be an eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity that can be re­in­stated in ur­ban ar­eas.

“Chil­dren are def­i­nitely more re­cep­tive to new ideas. That is why we of­ten tar­get schools with in­ter­ven­tions that we need to get to their par­ents or care­givers,” added Pha­latse.

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