The green state of agriculture

South Africa is regarded as one of the most interesting and diverse regions for farming around the world. This is due to its unique climate and the existence of unique environments not seen anywhere else in the world.

As SouthAfricaInfo points out: “Covering 1.2-million square kilometres of land, South Africa is one-eighth the size of the United States and has seven climatic regions, from Mediterranean to subtropical to semi-desert.”

This means all kinds of crops and vegetation can grow and thrive, providing plenty of opportunity for growth and delivery of produce – meaning a thriving and booming agriculture industry.

A new report by the WWF, Farming Facts and Future, expresses some updated concerns and hope for South Africa’s agricultural future. As the summary page indicates:

“According to the Farming Facts and Futures report, South Africa’s agriculture sector is at a significant crossroads, facing numerous challenges that all need to be resolved concurrently. Increasing resource limitations include depleted soils and over-extracted and polluted water reserves.”

The agriculture sector is most directly the target of increasing vulnerability because of climate change. “Changing weather patterns will alter rainfall patterns and water availability, resulting in shifting, unpredictable growing seasons and crop yield variability,” WWF states.

With a national power grid failure – as seen in the new instituting of loadshedding – and oil prices more volatile than ever, more pressure is being felt by this already strained system.

Into this of course falls concerns about a green view of farming. Many might think that attempting to go green or eco friendly would cost more – and yet we already see that agriculture is under enormous strain and concern from other factors.

There is plenty of evidence, however, to show that in various environments and situations, sustainable farming – farming with a focus on being eco friendly and green – is not only workable, but beneficial. It means being conservative and smart about the ways in which you use resources, whether with agriculture finance or methods – this not only benefits farmers individually, but crops, livestock and the planet, too. There’s no reason not to care and every reason to care.

By being green, we can be better – whether we’re farmers or consumers of farm products. And since we’re all reliant on crops to greater and lesser degrees, it matters a great deal to think about how we’re engaging with this resources.