We are moving into an era where nature’s abilities are enhanced by new scientific approaches, believes Dr Naudé Malan, lecturer and founder of iZindaba Zokudla, a Soweto-based farmers’ lab. He joins us this week on the Farmer’s Inside Track farmer podcast to talk about the tension between organic and conventional agriculture.
Malan believes that ultimately it is important to farm with nature as agriculture disrupts ecological processes which endangers life on earth.
“Conventional agriculture, and the chemicals used in that approach often clashes with the biology of the soil,” says Malan. “Organic agriculture depends on soil health for its productivity, whereas conventional agriculture depends on the application of chemicals.”
These two approaches can be compatible in some cases, but it depends on the skill of the farmer. The farmer needs to understand how the chemicals affect the soil biome and how they can use the chemicals in a way that doesn’t negatively affect the life in the soil.
The main difference of these two approaches lies in the basics of their business models.
“Using chemicals implies a linear business model, with fixed inputs and fixed outputs,” explains Malan. “Whereas organic farming pushes circular business models, where inputs are used to create life in the soil which then creates the outputs of farming.”
These processes guide different approaches and attitudes in farmers, as well as different products, so it is important for farmers to make an informed decision when choosing their method.
The interview with Malan covers more topics, such as agroecology, technology integrated with agriculture and how this can lead to high productivity.
Read Malan’s article Farm in harmony with nature to ensure food democracy on Food For Mzansi, and listen to his interview on the Mzansi’s favourite farmer podcast by following the links at the end of the page.
Other podcast highlights:
Besides the podcast interview with iZindaba Zokudla’s Dr Naudé Malan, this week’s Farmer’s Inside Track also has other highlights for the agricultural sector:
- Dreaming about owning a farm means zilch with limited finance or a start-up funds. Journalist Dona van Eeden has put together ten funding opportunities for Mzansi farmers!
- John Dumelo, a Ghanaian actor and farmer, explains how you can grow agriculture in the next century in African to feed the world.
- Book of the week: Farmers choose For the Love of the Land co-authored by award winning journalists Ivor Price and Kobus Louwrens. The book introduces South Africans to the heroes of agriculture. Set against the backdrop of the heated land reform debate this book proves that farming is often a labour of love.
- App of the week: This week’s app, AgriCloud, is an online, weather-based agricultural advisory system that supports farmers and agribusinesses in their day-to-day work to make weather-optimised decisions.
- Farmer’s tip of the week: What happens when you find a four-metre python snake wrapped around your goat’s head? Any ideas on how to respond? Snake rescuer Nick Evans shares a few tips about dealing with snakes on your farm.
- Mzansi Flavour: Instagram foodie Chanel Hamiel shares her recipe for mouth-watering home cooked Durban Curry.
- The HEALTH SQUARED Agri Update: This week Marcia le Roux, sales executive at Agility Agri wraps up our 13-week campaign emphasising that “healthcare benefits for workers have become critical” for any future focused farmer.
How to listen to Farmer’s Inside Track
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