All activities undertaken in Botlhale Village are intended to improve the lives of community members in this region. According to Professor Kris Willems, the Executive Director of Botlhale Village,“Research at this innovation and incubation hub will always be conducted with the purpose of serving the needs of citizens in terms of learning and teaching. We believe in social development as a premise to ensure that our society grows and that opportunities are created for everyone in our communities.”
One such project is our partnership with South African teenager and founder of La Pieus Aqua, Rikalize Reinecke. Recently, she became a trailblazer in the area of aquaponics, a system which combines fish farming with plant cultivation. Through her company, La Pieus Aqua, Rikalize developed a model that successfully purifies aquaculture waste water in a decoupled aquaponic system. This is then reused in an Aquaculture RAS, to reduce excessive water spillage/wastage. Her system has a limited carbon footprint and conserves water in a country that is battling drought.
There is a growing interest in aquaponics as a form of aquaculture that can be used to produce fish and vegetables closer to urban centres and solve the impending food scarcity crisis that is imminent. Professor Willems maintains that the value of technology cannot be underestimated in the agriculture sector. Technology‘s capacity is still untapped for farmers, investors, and entrepreneurs to improve food production and consumption in Africa. “When we combine a green system with technology, there are major economic, social, and environmental benefits that will follow.”
“The power of computers and data has grown exponentially,” he continues. “We now all have smart phones with the power of a supercomputer of a few decades ago. This has seen the capacity to gather and analyse data increase tenfold; ushering in the era of Big Data.”
“The key is what we do with this information available to us, and how we use it to make the world a better place. After all, data has little value until it can be turned into knowledge,” he explains.