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Economics of restoration project - ASSET Research

Regenerative agriculture case studies and the story of Laureano

In order to better understand the impact of what has been happening among the more than 15 million smallholder farmers using “regenerative agriculture” (RA) across the developing world, let’s first look at the impact it has had on a single, more or less average farmer, among them. In the photo above, Laureano is showing us the nature and results of his switch to RA. Why did Laureano begin practicing RA? Frankly, it’s because of the impressive list of benefits. One of the many beauties of RA is that by the very act of benefiting the individual farmer in multitudinous ways, it also benefits all of humankind in multitudinous ways. Contrary to what so often happens in human life, there is no contradiction in RA between the individual welfare of the producer and the general welfare of humankind.

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Meijer’s Rust Restoration

In 2010, Barry Meijer returned from the United States where he had lived for the last 35 years. He’d had great memories of his time in the army at Oudtshoorn so he decided to buy a farm there. Barry had grown up on a farm near Eshowe and, while running his garden services business in California, he had done some sideline farming of oats and barley, so he knew a little about farming. When he started farming at Meijer’s Rust in Meiringspoort near the town of De Rust he continued what had been done there before and if he needed any advice, he asked the neighbours.

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Mahlathini Development Foundation – transforming through collaboration

The MDF started working with smallholder farmers in a village outside Bergville in 2013. Today 350 farmers from 18 villages in the area and 30 from the Bergville Youth Group take part in the programme. In southern KwaZulu-Natal – Highflats, Ixopo, Creighton and Umzimkhulu – 150 farmers have joined the movement, whereas 180 farmers from the region stretching from Greytown to Wartburg and Tongaat participate.

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Sustainability in the South African Dairy Industry – a project by MilkSA

South Africa is a country with a rich endowment of natural resources, which include its biodiversity and ecosystems. The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) is responsible to fulfil the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). With the adoption of the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, the NBSAP has outlined a path to ensure that the management of biodiversity assets and ecological infrastructure continue to support South Africa’s development path and play an important role in underpinning the economy. As the demand for agricultural products has increased, driven by the nutritional needs of a growing population, the importance of developing a biodiversity-based agricultural system to ensure future sustainability should be regarded as a key driver for the Industry. Dairy farms across South Africa have widely undertaken (although still not always to a formal extent, especially among smaller-scale farmers) to integrate biodiversity- conscious approaches in their businesses. The vast costs involved in repairing damaged soils are understood and therefore the benefits in monitoring soil health, structure, nutrients and biological activity are recognised. In general, therefore, the dairy industry supports the vision and strategies of the NBSAP.

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The economics of restoration in South Africa – ASSET Research project

ASSET Research, in partnership with SAEON and with the support of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), is developing and populating South Africa’s first database on the economics of restoration (https://assetresearch.org.za/media-resources/). This will equip policy- and decision-makers as well as restoration practitioners to take informed, science-based decisions with respect to restoration. It will also advance the science, business and practice of restoration in general. The database will be used to develop an open access and user-friendly online system dynamics modelling tool that will enable users to simulate the benefits and costs of their own restoration projects.

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Using goats to control the spread of invasive alien plants

Using goats to control invasive alien plants could provide an economic opportunity for small livestock farmers in South Africa. Goat farmers can become entrepreneurs that run alien plant clearing goat herds and so become indispensable in the fight to control and eradicate invasive plants. There is also the great advantage of the goats being a lucrative source of meat and skins with a ready market. We have invasive alien plants in almost every part of South Africa and if properly managed, goats for aliens could become economically important in smaller rural communities.

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