Ntobeko Mchunu has been appointed Programme Manager: Adaptive Agriculture, for INMED South Africa, a registered non-profit organization that is actively involved in food security across South Africa.
Mchunu holds a Bachelor of Agriculture, Postgraduate Diploma in Food Security, Master of Science in Agriculture and Doctor of Philosophy in Bioresources Systems/Engineering from the University of KwaZulu Natal. His insights and experience will be a huge asset to the local INMED team, particularly in their efforts to upscale INMED AquaponicsÒ in vulnerable communities.
He joins INMED South Africa from the University of KwaZulu Natal Research Department, where he is supervising four Masters students in adaptive agriculture. Mchunu’s work and research on aquaponics has been widely published in a number of leading journals within South Africa and Africa.
With in-depth expertise in bioresources, crop and soil sciences, food security as well as livestock production and project design and research, Mchunu sees adaptive agriculture as a solution for many challenges South Africans face. “Many communities continue to be plagued by poverty and unemployment,” he says. “The current pandemic has exacerbated this problem, placing severe pressure on ordinary South Africans already struggling to meet their basic household needs.”
“Food availability, food accessibility, food utilisation and food stability remains a critical hurdle for most households more especially in the midst of climate change,” says Sihlahla, INMED South Africa’s Programmes Director. “Food accessibility is one of the dimensions that we, as INMED SA, find to be a major challenge for households in low-resource disadvantaged communities. This significantly impacts on the ability of these households to obtain and consume a nutritious diet, with enough variety and an adequate supply of nutrient-dense foods.”
According to STATS SA, 2019, 53.4% of households were involved in planting fruit and vegetables in order to increase their access to food. The report also states that 16% of households had inadequate access to food, with 6% experiencing severe inadequacy, and that, as the number of children increases per household, the level of inadequacy also increases, where 29.6% of households with 3+ children experience inadequate access to food, and 7.6% experience severe food inadequacy.
“We would like to extend a very warm welcome to Mchunu and believe he will be a huge asset, mentoring and developing many of our cooperative members and young people across South Africa,” concludes Sihlahla.