Regenerative Agriculture

Regenerative Agriculture is a recognition that the current Agriculture has been and is still degrading. The degradation begins by destroying the soil organic matter stock by over cultivation/tillage agriculture without adequate restitution mechanisms. The soil organic matter stock destruction is followed by declining soil organism activity. It is known that soil organisms (marcro and micro) are engineers of soils: they play key role in building physical, chemical and biological soil properties. It is also known that soil organic matter is the food and habitant of soil organisms. Destroying soil organic matter implies the destruction of the soil engineers and therefore the acceleration of soil degradation.

For us Regenerative Agriculture is not synonymous of organic Agriculture although it can encourage it in the limit of what is reasonable. It is not opposed to the use of mineral fertilisers although it may encourage the reduction of its use. It is based on clear understanding of soils and soil properties that orients soil fertility management practices including efficient use of fertilizer if needed.

The Regenerative Agriculture we are promoting here is fist and foremost the supply of organic matter to the soil.

In small holder farmers there are three potential sources of organic matter (1) farmyard manure (2) crop residues (3) tree, shrubs and cover crops biomass.

The problem is that in small holder farmer agriculture the three sources of organic matter are in shortage supply. The number of livestock has declined as a result of reduced household land holding and therefore the capacity to produce enough manure for the farm. Crop residues are used preferably as fuel wood as there is shortage of cooking energy. They are also used as fodder as there is shortage of fodder due the land scarcity. Tree and shrubs biomass is also in shortage because there are not sufficient tree and shrubs in the farm landscape due to lack of land.

In these conditions it is clear that it is difficult to promote a Regenerative Agriculture. What do we do then?