SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa’s IT firm Matsei Technologies and Consulting has partnered IFS corporate in the launch of digital aquaponics farming solution aimed at addressing malnutrition in the country.

The ‘smart agriculture’ initiative uses technology such as the Internet of Things, Enterprise Operational Intelligence and analytics to automate and monitor fish aquaponics operations in real-time.

The companies said that the initiative is a platform to ensure sufficiency in nutritional high protein foods to communities while enabling small holder farmers and entrepreneurs access the market and create sustainable employment

The initiative will facilitate small holder farmers achieve self-sustainability through fish and vegetables farming.

“The vision is to build a South Africa of sustainable communities through this digital farming program, changing the outlook on farming and growing the program to accommodate new businesses, growing supply chains spanning food production, logistics, retail and other support services.

Leon van Deventer, an agricultural engineer and director at Matsei Technologies and Consulting, highlighted that African food production projected to decline by 28% in the coming years due to climate change.

Furthermore, Van Deventer said the African continent would house 50% of global undernourished people by 2080 and therefore called for early interventions towards the situation.

“We need to prove to investors that projects are under control and are sustainable.

We intend to establish regional operation control centres to address challenges,” he said.

According to Van Deventer, Africa requires to boost its food production by 70% in order to meet the requirements of the continent’s estimated population of over 1.2 billion.

Mohamed Cassoojee, MD and country manager for IFS in South Africa, added that the programme integrates technology as a catalyst and a key enabler to unlocking the potential required in achieving proper nutrition and self-sufficiency.

Bertus van Niekerk, chief operating officer at Matsei Technologies said that the “localized African turnkey solution” promotes nutrition and also provides a sustainable community aquaponics solution for the future of Africa.

The two companies expressed their commitment to transfer digital farming skills to communities, especially to the youth, saying they had an obligation to give back to the communities in which they operated.

According to a survey conducted in 2018, a third of children in the South African provinces of Gauteng and Free State were underdeveloped as a result of chronic malnutrition.

IFS is an international firm that develops tailor made enterprise software for manufacturers and distributors, as well as firms which manage service-focused operations.