Posted by Henri Pereira on 8th Jun 2024


As the founder of MyAquaponics, witnessing the successful realization of ambitious aquaponic projects fills me with immense pride and joy. Today, I find myself beaming with excitement as I reflect on the remarkable journey undertaken by one such visionary – Melanie, a participant in one of our Aquaponics/Sandponics training courses, whose unwavering determination coupled with the efforts of the Ngodwana Skills Centre team, has brought to life a grand aquaponics venture, funded by the esteemed Sappi.

It was a mere couple of years ago when the seeds of this endeavour were planted, a spark ignited within Melanie's mind, long before her attendance at our comprehensive aquaponics training program. From that moment on, her vision took root, flourishing into a meticulously designed and expertly executed aquaponics system that now stands as a testament to the power of perseverance and sustainable innovation.

The culmination of Sappi's Team efforts is nothing short of awe-inspiring – a sprawling aquaponics haven comprising two vast greenhouses, each measuring an impressive 42 meters by 8 meters. At the heart of this sustainable ecosystem lie a total of 11 fish tanks, 5 x 10,500-liter tanks, 4 x 4,700-liter tanks and 2 x 18,00-liter tanks. This intricate network of aquatic habitats has been thoughtfully stocked with 5,400 Tilapia Rendalli, a species renowned for its hardiness and adaptability to aquaponics environments.

But the true brilliance of this system lies in its seamless integration of cutting-edge technology and time-honoured aquaponics principles. A sophisticated solids separation system, employing drum filters and secondary mechanical filters, ensures optimal water quality before directing the nutrient-rich effluent to a meticulously designed biofilter. This intricate filtration process not only safeguards the well-being of the fish by removing toxic ammonia, but also provides the perfect nutrient-dense solution for the lush array of plants flourishing within the greenhouses.

Speaking of plant life, each greenhouse boasts an impressive 190 square meters of dedicated grow beds, ingeniously combining deep water culture (DWC) and media bed systems. 

Currently, the focus is on cultivating a diverse array of plants, including fragrant sweet basil, crisp lettuce, and fiery chillies. The produce, brimming with flavour and vitality, is proudly sold on the open market by the dedicated beneficiaries involved in operating this ground-breaking project.

Yet, this is merely the beginning. The future holds even more exciting prospects, with plans already in motion to introduce a diverse selection of fruit-bearing plants to the media beds, further expanding the system's bountiful offerings and reinforcing its position as a true oasis of sustainable abundance.

As I reflect on the remarkable progress achieved by Ngodwana Skills Centre team thus far, I cannot help but feel an overwhelming sense of joy in witnessing an organization's commitment to empowering individuals and communities with the knowledge and tools to embrace sustainable aquaponics practices. Ngodwana Skills Centre team's story is a shining example of what can be accomplished when passion, determination, and expert guidance converge.

The success of this Sappi-funded aquaponics venture is a resounding affirmation that where there is a will, there is indeed a way. It stands as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path towards a more sustainable future, where innovative solutions harmoniously coexist with the natural world, fostering abundance and prosperity for generations to come.

As we look ahead, MyAquaponics remains steadfast in our mission to support and celebrate such inspiring initiatives, sharing the knowledge and expertise that have proven instrumental in turning dreams into reality. We eagerly anticipate witnessing the continued growth and evolution of this remarkable aquaponics system, and we stand ready to extend our guidance and support to those who wish to embark on their own sustainable aquaponics journeys.

In a world where environmental consciousness and responsible resource management are paramount, initiatives like this serve as shining examples of what can be achieved through collaboration, dedication, and a shared vision of a greener, more sustainable future. Let us celebrate this remarkable achievement and allow it to inspire us all to embrace the boundless potential of aquaponics, one step at a time, towards a world where abundance and harmony coexist in perfect equilibrium.

We truly hope that other companies follow in Sappi’s footpath, empowering communities to feed themselves and others.

Herewith a link to Sappi’s official article on their project