A NEW farming technique has been introduced in schools in Nelson Mandela Bay.

On Thursday the Mondelez International Foundation launched the aquaponics gardening system at the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality’s office in Missionvale, Port Elizabeth.

Aquaponics is a gardening technique that uses waste produced by farmed fish to supply plants with the nutrients they need to grow.

The method is expected to save water and yield more vegetables for schools’ feeding schemes.

Joost Vlaanderen, managing director of Mondelez South Africa, said: “We discovered the daily consumption of fresh produce is key to a well-balanced diet.

“For many children from poor backgrounds, however, healthy food choices are at times not available. The aquaponics facilities will help to address this challenge.

“The pupils will also be taught how aquaponic farming uses up to 90% less water than traditional farming.”

Vlaanderen said the new farming technique used enriched water, a by-product of fish farming, combined with soil.

Mondelez has formed a partnership with Inmed’s Health in Action programme to launch the new gardening method.

Inmed programme director Unathi Sihlahla said: “About 100 000 Eastern Cape and Gauteng primary school pupils aged between six and 12 will benefit from the programme.

“The gardens will provide pupils with fresh vegetables to supplement the government’s school nutrition programme.

“Pupils will also benefit from the gardening tools and sports equipment that are supplied to them by the programme.”