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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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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Breeding resilience amongst all odds

I have decided that the degradation that took place will not determine my future. The sun is setting on a degraded past and rising to a restorative future. We are the generation that must act; I acted on my farm. This is was able to do with the help of a large number of people, including the Subtropical Thicket Restoration Programme, the restoration unit of Rhodes University, Living Lands, and the Government of South Africa.

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Cranburn Farm – Regenerative Sugar Farming

After more than 100 years of tillage, the sugarcane fields of Cranburn Farm’s soil organic carbon is at healthy levels. Ever since the ground was first turned the soil carbon levels of KwaZulu-Natal’s sugar cane fields have plummeted. Despite the fact that sugarcane is a perennial crop and the fields don’t have to be ploughed every year, the extensive tilling work done every ten or so years when then crop is replanted results in considerable carbon oxidation into the atmosphere. Other management practices that contribute to further carbon oxidation from the soils include burning of the trash (dead leaves) before a field is cut and the application of synthetic fertilisers.

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