The Plant Tissue Laboratory

A plant tissue laboratory set up for Mhani Gingi with the assistance of Dr Earl Starr, a doctoral researcher from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, will not only provide a platform for plant propagation to support the network’s vegetable gardens and nutrition projects.  The laboratory will also provide training in scientific procedures for township learners, so helping them to make the transition to further qualification at tertiary institutions and also to jobs in the private sector.

The sciences, and particularly those requiring laboratory exploration and experimentation, still remain ‘television dreams’ to many learners in township schools until they are overwhelmed by these realities at tertiary institutions and the workplace.

This is according to Dr Earl Starr, a doctoral researcher in laboratory techniques, who is helping Mhani Gingi to set up a plant tissue laboratory on the Mupine office park site.

It is the Mhani Gingi vision that the proposed plant tissue laboratory will provide support in three aspects:

1.  Support the transition of learners to tertiary institutions and company laboratories by allowing exposure to how a lab works, and more specifically, provide training and coaching on laboratory techniques and practices towards further qualification.

2.  Play a technical support role to the vegetable seedling gardens at the Mupine site and future locations.

3.  More importantly, provide a propagation platform for selected species of plant that could generate revenue to purchase the seedling stock for the vegetable gardens and support the operational costs of the laboratory.

“Notwithstanding a more permanent location for the laboratory in the next year, a quick-out-of-the-blocks start involves laboratory infrastructure that avoids major building work that would delay the project and increase the overall start-up cost.  In line with the overall organic-growing approach to the seedling gardens, specific emphasis will be placed on ensuring the laboratory is constructed from environmentally friendly materials and that it blends in with the natural aesthetics of the Mupine site,” said Earl.

Collaboration is underway with local tertiary institutions to ensure that the laboratory remains relevant to the industry and also to harness support for existing community support projects from these institutions.

“Basic funding is available.  However, further support is currently being sourced from various possible funders.  It is hoped that the initiative will be up and running by the end of next year,” said Earl.