The HILA (Heritage International Leadership Academy) in Liberia launched the first functional aquaponics project in the country on Wednesday, December 15th. HILA selected tilapia, a fish enjoyed by millions around the world and conventional nutritious vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, and pepper for the aquaponics project.
Mr. Divine Anderson, a fish farmer and winner of the Liberia Development 2021 Farmer of the Year collaborated with the school to design and train the students and administrators on managing the system. He explained that the tilapia should be market ready within 6 months and the vegetables in 30 days to 3 months.
Principal, Mrs. Andrea Morris is the lead and champion of the aquaponics projects. Her focus is to continuously identify alternative approaches to learning so children are more receptive to different subjects. She says “The aquaponics system will not only teach them a new technology but strengthen and improve their understanding of math and biology, and provide more in depth knowledge of agriculture science.” She said, “Our students are excited and we hope the project will impart skills they can use in their careers to combat the serious malnutrition and hunger issues many children face daily in Liberia.
The esteemed Minister of Agriculture, Honorable Jeanine M. Cooper was present to lend her support to the children at HILA and the staff. She commented on the project and the enthusiasm of the students, “Aquaponics is not a difficult system but some of us old farmers can’t adapt so it is good the children are learning to do it at an early age and spreading the word. This is how innovation starts.”
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