The waterwise and environmentally-friendly aquaponics farming method used at FinLeaf Farm maximizes productivity on a small two-hectare piece of land and could be the answer to achieving food security and sustainable agriculture. Integrated Aquaculture Group, which specializes in operating and building environmentally-conscious aquaponics solutions, has come up with innovative ways to achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture while sharing skills with aspirant farmers who see this way of farming as the future.
Occupying only two hectares of land in Hekpoort, at the border of Gauteng and the North West provinces, the FinLeaf Farm uses a technically advanced method of farming that combines the cultivation of green plants in nutrient-rich water where fish species are bred. Harvesting over 20 000 units of organically cultivated greens, such as baby leaf spinach, spring onions, Batavia frilly lettuce, chives, mint, and watercress per week, the farm sells its produce to local packhouses, retail stores, and online outlets.
The founder and owner of the farm, Lance Quiding, is a first-generation farmer who started farming in 2010. He spoke about his journey into aquaponics. According to Quiding, the other benefit is that farm employed all types of people, from the young to the elderly, as it does not require heavy equipment. The technology used on the farm also makes it possible to attract the talents of young people who are both qualified and tech-savvy.
Gugulethu Mahlangu is an aquaponics horticulturist at the farm and said that after having been a leaseholder of a conventional farm in Boksburg, working at a farm that uses technology was an exciting opportunity for her.
“This was a wonderful opportunity for me because this is one of the biggest commercial farms in Southern Africa, so I grabbed this opportunity with both hands. Because it’s smart farming, it’s not something that I’m used to, so it’s a perfect opportunity for a young woman like myself to learn about technology in farming,” said Mahlangu.
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