Twenty years after her Chevening Scholarship, alumna Jerusa Ali now works as Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Jerusa shares her Chevening journey and her advice for new Chevening Alumni.
Chevening Alumna Laura Bafaletse revolutionises food production
Laura is a Chevening Alumna from Botswana, who is using innovative farming techniques to reduce food poverty.
As the UK hosted the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in 2021, we asked Chevening Scholars and Alumni from around the world to share their ideas for taking action to protect our planet.
This is Laura’s story.
Changes in climate are warming the world’s oceans, melting the polar ice caps, and having far-reaching consequences for people everywhere.
One very real consequence is the increasing threat of food poverty.
Botswana is a land-locked country that is highly dependent on imports for adequate food supplies. Any disruption to imports can be catastrophic.
As the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, wreaking havoc on food supply chains, this reality became stark.
Laura set out to use the knowledge and skills she learned whilst studying in the UK on a Chevening Scholarship to find a sustainable solution.
“My company, LauraB Organics, will produce fish, fruit and vegetables organically through aquaponics. This will play a pivotal role in meeting food demand as global challenges continue to impact food security around the world.”
Aquaponics is an innovative alternative to traditional agricultural farming. A key difference between aquaponics and traditional farming is that it doesn’t rely on the use of soil.
Instead, bacteria from fish waste found in fish tanks is broken down and absorbed by plants along with other nutrients to help them grow. In turn, the water is filtered and cleaned by the plants in the system, then recirculated back into the fish tank for the cycle to begin again.
Some of the benefits of aquaponics include:
- It uses 90% less water than traditional farming so food can still be grown in droughts.
- It yields approximately six times more food per square foot than traditional farming.
- No artificial fertilisers or insecticides are used.
- Land can be used to address other challenges (such as for housing or reducing bio-diversity loss).
Laura is turning this idea into a reality.
First, she acquired land rights to set-up a large-scale aquaponics system in Botswana.
Next, she sourced a borehole to use for water.
Harnessing the power of aquaponics, Laura is implementing an idea to create an eco-friendly, sustainable food source that will increase food security for locals in Gaborone, Botswana.