Air Products South Africa has once again demonstrated its ongoing support of young agriculture students with the sponsorship of Inmed’s aquaponics unit at Carel de Wet High School in Vanderbijlpark, close to the company’s flagship production facility.

Inmed, a global children’s organisation, launched the unit in August 2013 in partnership with Air Products South Africa, in order to introduce students to aquaponics, an agricultural technique which combines aquaculture and soilless crop growing. The aquaponics project has generated much interest overall among students taking agriculture as a school subject.

The first group of students, Grade 10 and 11 learners at the school, who are studying agriculture as a subject, were recently honoured at an awards ceremony. Of the sixteen students who took part, twelve received graduation certificates while the remainder received participation certificates. Grade 10 pupil, Matshepo Maduna, got top honours with her impressive 95% mark.

“It has been an honour to be involved in this exciting initiative, which teaches young people an innovative and environmentally-friendly method of farming to help combat hunger among communities in our country,” says Josua le Roux, General Manager, Central Support at Air Products South Africa.

The aquaponics training programme includes a combination of ‘hands-on’, practical experience at the school’s farming facility, plus a theoretical component. Air Products South Africa’s sponsorship has paid for the training and the development of course material. In addition, Air Products donated a gift voucher for each student who achieved a pass mark of 80% and above; and a prize for the top student.

“As a company, we feel strongly that the key to a healthy and sustainable future lies in developing our youth, thereby allowing them to become resourceful and self-reliant,” le Roux concludes.