Restoring an important natural resource with our food and organic waste

Resource scarcity and shortages are not a new theme for us here in South Africa. While water and energy shortages have rocked our normality and forced us to adjust to challenging circumstances, there is one resource shortage that is less talked about but needs to be bought to the absolutely fore in the public’s attention. This is our soil.

Only 12% of South Africa’s landscape is considered fertile land suitable for rain-fed crops. Even with this small portion of fertile land, our agricultural sector is a major contributor to the national GDP. To maintain the health of our agricultural sector, we need to implement sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices that look at the sustainable use of natural resources, like water, and restoring soil systems that support crop growth and health.

If we can farm sustainably and conserve our soil, we will maintain our agricultural sector as one of our main GDP contributors.

Speaking of soil restoration, the key focal point should be on restoring the top layer, commonly known as topsoil. The quality of topsoil can be improved by increasing the carbon content, encouraging biological and microbial diversity, ensuring that it is sufficiently saturated, and reducing the use of chemical fertilizer.

Our best means and the most sustainable and available solution lies in our food and organic waste, which contains all the essential components to restore the soil. Through composting units like BiobiN, our food and organic waste can be processed into high-grade compost. When composting units are used at a food production level (agricultural and food processing), organic waste can be converted and used on nearby farms, closing the loop on organic waste entirely. This is a model that needs to be implemented, so that we can harness this waste stream as a resource and sustainably use our soils to grow our food.


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