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Agriculture in South Africa: The need for sustainable farming practices

Research Paper by SABC Education Digital Media

Agriculture in South Africa: When you have a healthy agricultural industry in a country then you have a country in which citizens have enough to eat, more people are employed as farmer workers, farm workers are well paid and there is a surplus of food to be exported, adding to the country's gross domestic product.

This is what those in the agriculture and government sector strive for but we have still a fair way to go.

If we are to find the balance in the agricultural sector we need to hone our farming practices. Sustainable farming is about using our resources, especially the non-renewable resources, in a way that is effective in growing fresh and quality foods and bettering the lives of farm workers whilst generating a profit for the farmers.

Agriculture in South Africa needs to be adapted more and more to sustainable farming methods if we are to resolve our issues of food production, food prices and job creation.

Here are a few sustainable farming practices that could be better utilized to achieve the agricultural objectives in South Africa:

  • Crop Rotation: In order to have healthy and fertile soil crops need to be rotated. How crop rotation works is that you first plant the plants that will be nutritionally beneficial to the next type of plant. So if growing one vegetable results in soil which is rich in a particular nutrient that another vegetable will need in order to thrive you will order the planting so that the crops benefit each other.
  • Using beneficial insects and animals for pest control: Certain insects such as ladybirds feed on harmful pests that damage crops. By using these insects and animals farmers can cut down on the need for toxic pesticides.
  • Management of water: Farmers must cut down on water wastage and make sure that their irrigation systems are working.
  • Grow local, sell local: By selling to a local market farmers cut down on transportation costs and packaging as well as wastage.
  • Green Energy: Solar power, wind power and other types of natural energy generating techniques

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