The Perseverance Primary School will be the first school in Seychelles to grow vegetables using a system that includes fishes and aquariums.
The method, known as aquaponics, is a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by fish or other aquatic creatures supplies the nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify water.
The equipment for this demonstration project was handed over to the school on Wednesday by the Australian High Commissioner to Seychelles, Jenny Dee. Australian Aid is funding the project through a grant of approximately $29,300.
It is the Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles in collaboration with the University of Seychelles which are implementing the aquaponics project.
For the moment, lettuce, Chinese cabbage and fennel are being grown through the project but other vegetables such as tomatoes and eggplants can also be produced, but more fish are needed to produce adequate nutrients.
Terence Vel, chairperson of the clubs said that the project is aimed at increasing food security and water availability in Seychelles through the development of climate-smart agriculture technologies
“This project will enable the scaling up of this innovation to the wider agriculture community in Seychelles to produce nutritious food to the local community that ameliorates food security and health issues and meets of the growing population,” said Vel.
In addition, this type of aquaculture will also have positive benefits on the environment. “These include a substantial reduction in water, fertiliser and pesticide consumption which in turn increases the community’s adaptive capacity to climate change impacts” added Vel.
Through the grant, the club has built a demonstration aquaponics system at the Anse Royale community nursery with the assistance from the University of Seychelles. The project also entails ongoing workshops with farmers and schools.
Vel said that the project will enable the scaling up of this innovation to the wider agriculture community in Seychelles to produce nutritious food to the local community. (Elke Talma) Photo License: CC-BY
“We are also in the process of developing a schools programme, some sort of a manual. This will give information about how to set up the system, what types of material to use and we will be using data collected for this demonstration project to produce the manual,” said Vel.
“As a result, schools will be able to build and run their own aquaponics systems,” explained Vel, adding that this will further enhance the adoption and educational potential of this technology, and its transition into broader agricultural practice.
Christelle Jacques, leader of the Wildlife Club at the Perseverance school, said that is a great way to get students excited about the sciences and other subjects in the curriculum. “It is a great learning tool. With aquaponics, we can make direct links to fish biology, water chemistry, ecology, as well as mathematics. I know the kids will love this project.”
Jean Yves Souris is one student who is excited about having an aquarium at the school. “I am so happy and I cannot wait to start feeding the fishes,” said the primary four student.
The Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles hopes that different community groups, including farmers, can learn more innovative farming techniques. Dee has commanded the club for this project, “I will definitely be coming back to Perseverance School to see the development of this project.”
Seychelles News Agency