Sustainable agriculture seeks to minimise the long term impact of human activities on the environment, enabling future generations to prosper on our planet. Of course, this is a noble reason to implement sustainable farming practices, but what many farmers don’t realise is that transitioning to sustainable agriculture also benefits the bottom line. In this article, we discuss some of the economic benefits of farming more sustainably.
The ability to meet long-term demands
The world’s population continues to rise, along with the demand for increased food supply. Farmers who can continue to keep their land and crops flourishing – i.e. sustainable – play an important (and profitable) role in meeting this demand.
Soil quality is the key to sustainability
Traditional, industrialised agriculture is intensive in nature and relies largely on ‘sticking plasters’ to promote profitable yields. What we mean by this is that traditional farming treats the symptoms of poor yields, rather than the causes. For example, a poor quality soil lacking in nutrients is plied with chemical fertilisers, and chemical pesticides are used to prevent insects from attacking plants that have little healthy resilience of their own.
The chemical fertilisers used extensively in traditional agriculture contain salts and compounds that cannot be absorbed by the plants and can, therefore, build up in the soil. This causes long-term ecological imbalances, which are traditionally addressed through – you guessed it – more chemicals. These chemical compounds also leach from the soil and contaminate groundwater and streams.
Rather than depleting the quality of the soil over time (and relying on manual inputs to address these deficiencies), sustainable agricultural practices work hard to enrich the soil with each successive season, increasing the farm’s chances of long-term yield and productivity.
Fewer inputs = money saved
Sustainable farming solutions utilise a mix of organic and inorganic inputs to produce biological soil conditioners and foliar feeds that work hand-in-hand with tried and trusted methods such as effective composting, worm farming and green manuring.
By following sustainable practices such as these, farmers can reduce their reliance on chemical inputs – all of which cost money. This reduction in overheads leads to increased profitability.
More efficient systems lead to less wastage
Sustainable agriculture practices provide ample opportunities to optimise the production of food and minimise wasted resources, time and money. One example is farming ‘smarter’ by using technological and scientific advances to develop interconnected systems for soil, seed drills, spreaders, crop irrigation, creating more efficient farm-to-fork methods and processes.
Using integrated technology and sustainable methods to promote soil health and protect scarce resources will help ensure long-term profitability for farmers.
Zylem promotes sustainable agriculture (and thus sustainable incomes) by focusing on improving soil health. Get in touch to find out more about how a healthy soil leads to a healthy bottom line: https://www.zylemsa.co.za/contact-us/.