Climate Smart Food Security
Aquaponics for water-scarce communities
Rikalize Reinecke’s childhood dream to become a marine biologist took an unexpected turn: Using her knowledge of fish, food and the climate, the South African high schooler instead founded La Pieus Aqua Ltd. The company designs and implements aquaponic systems that combine fish farming (aquaculture) with plant cultivation (hydroponics), creating symbiotic environments where bacteria and excretions from fish serve as nutrients for the plants.
Social need meets sustainable business
When the Sol Plaatjie Municipality began using the government’s ‘Cooperative Grant Fund’, which helps small groups of low-income earners run their own business, they found that Rikalize’s aquaponics units were the perfect business fit. The solar-powered units require little fresh water (important, given local water shortages) and provide around eight fish and 150 plants per month, enough to feed 4-6 people and even have some left over to sell.
Circular and circulated
La Pieus Aqua and the Sol Plaatjie Municipality’s collaboration is known as the Climate Smart Food Security project and provides free access to aquaponics units to empower people who fall outside of regular education and job markets. But the units are not only given to communities in need — they are often strategically placed next to schools and clinics to educate the community about healthy nutrition and “climate-smart food security”.